After a 160 minute delay, Major League Soccer has done us the favor of announcing the list of players that each team will protect from the 2010 expansion draft.
You know the rules. Each team can protect 11 players, the draft is on Wednesday, yadda, yadda, yadda. Let's get to the juice. Here is DC United's protected list:
Defenders: Julius James, Dejan Jakovic, Jed Zayner, Marc Burch, Rodney Wallace
Midfielders: Branko Boskovic, Santino Quaranta, Clyde Simms, Stephen King, Junior Carreiro
So those 11 players are safe, as are Andy Najar, Bill Hamid, and Conor Shanosky, who are exempt from selection due to their status as "Homegrown players" that were signed via the Academy system.
If you think that sounds like 100% of the decent players on United's 2010 roster, you're pretty close. But there are a few players who United is risking losing by leaving them exposed.
The unprotected players, in order of likeliness to depart, are as follows.
Troy Perkins had his worst season as a professional in 2010, losing his starting job to a 19-year old rookie early in the year, and had the fourth worst goals against average out of all starting goalkeepers in the league. Perkins is making $200,000 this season, which is an awful lot for a backup. Still, United is taking a huge risk leaving Perkins available. If he departs, the team would begin the 2011 preseason with its most experienced goalkeeper having played just eight games.
Devon McTavish has now been left exposed in two straight expansion drafts. McTavish is sort of like that old piece of furniture that your mom gave you for your apartment, but that you couldn't fit in your new house so you put it out on the curb. It's still serviceable, but it's been through a couple rain storms now, and it's starting to smell a little.
Pablo Hernandez has scored no goals and just one assist in 14 MLS matches. I'm proud to say that I have just one statistical point less than a starting D.C. United forward in my own personal MLS career. Hernandez's salary is listed as $240,000 this season, making him the second highest paid player on the team.
As we debated in the comments section last week, Kurt Morsink is actually a decent candidate for selection, if not only for his desire and work ethic. There's nothing he wouldn't do to win. That includes yelling at the refs, fouling opponents, yelling at the refs some more, and hiring Jonathan Ames to read the opposing coach's game plan, except that he leaves it in a therapist's office after making love to his daughter, and then can't recover it despite making repeated appointments with the therapist. Oh wait, that was the script from an episode of Bored To Death.
Jordan Graye and Barry Rice are progressing, young, cheap, and probably the type of players that a general manager of an expansion team would be looking for, if they didn't play on a team with a -26 goal differential.
It's time now to formally admit that I once uttered the following phrase: "I hope we don't lose Dyachenko." I got my wish. We didn't. We lost Brian Carroll instead that year. This year, Adam Cristman is my Rod Dyachenko. I hope we don't lose him, but I also think it's fairly likely that he will do very little for us in the future and wind up in the USL.
Rumors have linked Carlos Varela and a possible return to Switzerland where the Spanish winger spent the majority of his career. The Whitecaps and Timbers are no more likely to select Varela than they are Mario Gori.
Brandon Barklage has played in only seven games over the past two seasons. If not for injuries, Barklage could be a quality addition as a two-way midfielder, but he would be an incredibly risky pick for any team at this point.
That's the list. A few surprises, eh? Who from the exposed list would you have protected?