The wait is over. With 2016 MLS action coming to an end on Saturday, the entirety of the league has shifted its focus to 2017. Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United FC will join the party as the newest expansion teams, and will undoubtedly be looking to not only make some serious waves this off-season but bolster their talent pool in the process.
Both clubs have already made high-profile signings such as Miguel Almiron and Adrian Heath. The next step in the process for the two sides is tomorrow’s MLS Expansion Draft in which they can add five players to their 2017 roster.
Pre-existing clubs had the ability to protect 11 players outside of those automatically protected by their Generation Adidas or Homegrown status. Philadelphia announced that it will protect the following 11 players from selection:
- Roland Alberg
- Eric Ayuk
- Alejandro Bedoya
- Andre Blake
- Warren Creavalle
- Richie Marquez
- Chris Pontius
- Keegan Rosenberry
- CJ Sapong
Aside from those names, the players protected as Generation Adidas or Homegrown players are as follows:
- Fabian Herbers
- Joshua Yaro
- Auston Trusty
- Derrick Jones
You can probably fill in the blanks on the players left unprotected, but for good measure, here are the players eligible for selection by Minnesota or Atlanta via the Expansion Draft:
*Players that did not have their contract options picked up will be eligible for selection.
Most notably, Edu was left unprotected by the Union. Edu failed to make an apearance for the blue-and-gold in 2016, but proved his worth both in the midfield and by filling in on the back line when needed since his arrival in 2014.
Barnetta was left unprotected due to his decision to return to Switzerland to wrap up the latter stages of his career while Charlie Davies and Leo Fernandes have been in talks to renegotiate a contract for the upcoming season.