Earlier this week Major League Soccer published its rules for the upcoming expansion draft that will help to populate the rosters of New York City F.C. and Orlando City S.C., who will join the league in 2015. I need to distract myself from my nervousness about Sunday’s Eastern Conference Semifinal match against NYRB, so I thought I’d have a little fun and try to determine which players the New England Revolution will protect! Here is the New England roster:
|2||Defender||Andrew Farrell (GA)||United States|
|4||Forward||Steve Neumann||United States|
|5||Defender||A. J. Soares||United States|
|6||Midfielder||Scott Caldwell (HGP)||United States|
|7||Forward||Patrick Mullins||United States|
|8||Defender||Chris Tierney||United States|
|9||Forward||Charlie Davies||United States|
|10||Forward||Teal Bunbury||United States|
|11||Midfielder||Kelyn Rowe (GA)||United States|
|13||Midfielder||Jermaine Jones (DP)||United States|
|14||Midfielder||Diego Fagúndez (HGP)||Uruguay|
|15||Defender||Stephen McCarthy||United States|
|17||Forward||Andre Akpan||United States|
|18||Goalkeeper||Brad Knighton||United States|
|19||Midfielder||Alec Sundly||United States|
|22||Goalkeeper||Bobby Shuttleworth||United States|
|23||Defender||José Gonçalves (Captain)||Portugal|
|24||Midfielder||Lee Nguyen||United States|
|25||Defender||Darrius Barnes||United States|
|30||Defender||Kevin Alston||United States|
|31||Goalkeeper||Luis Soffner||United States|
|33||Midfielder||Donnie Smith||United States|
|40||Goalkeeper||Larry Jackson||United States|
|44||Defender||Jossimar Sanchez||United States|
|99||Forward||Tony Taylor||United States|
There are a few other rules in addition to the ones I’m going to discuss, but they are mostly related to contracts and the like, so not relevant to this exercise.
The Revolution currently have 29 players on their roster and are only allowed to protect 11 of them from the draft- they can also only lose 2 players total to New York City F.C. and Orlando City S.C..
Homegrown Players Are Exempt From The Draft
That takes care of Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell.
Generation Adidas Players Are Exempt From The Draft
That takes care of Andrew Farrell and Kelyn Rowe.
Clubs may make available a number of International Players equal to their total number of International Players minus three, provided that if a club has three or fewer International Players it may make available not more than one.
Okay, if my math is correct, the total number of international players on the roster is six (Fagundez, Dorman, Kobayashi, Castillion, Joseph, and Goncalves), but Fagundez is already protected, dropping the number to five, minus three, equals two international players who cannot be protected. Goncalves is the captain, Kobayashi is a starter, Fagundez doesn’t have to be exposed, and Dorman is a starter when healthy. So, it’s Castillion and Joseph that will be exposed.
With those exemptions in mind, here’s the remaining roster:
The players in red (plus a few others, see below) are the ones I think the club will expose to the expansion draft. McCarthy has been hurt and has also seen his playing time diminish dramatically (he only played 90 minutes this year after playing over 2300 two years ago) with the arrival of, frankly, a better class of player in the midfield and back line over the past two seasons. If healthy he’s a nice player to bring off the bench, but that’s about it at this point.
Knighton, Soffner, and Jackson are all back-up goalkeepers and between them in 2014 played in two matches for the Revolution (both by Knighton). The fact that Bobby Shuttleworth has emerged as a legitimate “number one” goalkeeper for the club and is only 27 means that he’s going to be around for a while and losing one or two from this group will be an easy hole to fill if necessary.
Andre Akpan and Tony Taylor were two mystifying pick-ups made by the Revolution during the season and I don’t think we’ll be seeing either one of them back in Foxboro next season, so they’ll be exposed to the draft. Akpan came to the club because they wanted to dump Saer Sene’s contract on NYRB- fair enough- and they took a flier on Taylor, hoping he might fulfill some of the promise he showed earlier in his career in Portugal- fair enough. In the end, however, the emergence of Nguyen, Davies, and Bunbury and he addition of Jermaine Jones meant that Akpan never played a minute and Taylor only ten minutes.
Alec Sundly and Donnie Smith are two young players the club would probably like to hold on to but won’t cry over if they leave. Injuries have limited Smith to one appearance with the club in each of the last two seasons (and seven while with affiliate club Rochester Rhinos) while Sundly has yet to make a senior appearance, but did start 21 of 27 matches while with Rochester, scoring twice. Unfortunately for both players, the glut of talent in the New England midfield means they’ll both be moving on eventually.
And then there is Jossimar Sanchez, a defender who appears to only exist on paper. I think it is more likely that the club will attempt to reacquire Luis “El Lobo” Fangoso than it is that they will protect Sanchez. Perhaps they can both sit next to Dutchman Geoffrey Castillion who I only believe exists because I happened to witness the 14 minutes he played this season.
Now, about those “others,” players who aren’t on the lists above… Jerry Bengston is currently on loan with Belgrano in the Argentine top tier where he has a whopping one goal in nine appearances and the Revolution would LOVE for one of the new clubs to select him and get them out of their hair- ain’t gonna happen. Neither N.Y. nor Orlando need a relatively-expensive “forward” who can’t score. Can you imagine the look on David Villa’s face when he plays a perfect through ball to Bengston only to see Jerry shank it so badly that it goes out for a throw-in?
Dimitry Imbongo is apparently still on the club’s books as well. Who wants a player who played only twice this season and last season- his best- had as many red cards as goals, three? Nobody.
So, in sum, I think that there’s a pretty good chance that the Revolution come through the expansion draft unscathed and, if they’re lucky (or one of the expansion teams loses their collective mind) they may even rid themselves of a problem or two!