On Monday, each MLS team submitted their lists of 11 players who would be protected from selection in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft. Today, the Montreal Impact will sift through the remains of exposed players and choose 10 to join their squad for the 2012 season.
Fortunately for the Impact, there are actually some good players on the discard heap this time around. They could actually assemble a pretty decent roster out of this opportunity.
Reading through these lists usually generates more questions than answers: Is Player A exposed because he’s likely going to Europe? Is Player B exposed because his contract is too high? Is Player C exposed because he has lingering injuries? We don’t know the answers to those questions, and neither does Jesse Marsch in most cases. But that just makes it even more fun.
And so just for the fun of it, I’m going through the list of available players to identify which 10 players I would select if I was to receive a phone call within the next few minutes with an offer to act as the General Manager for the Impact. Feel free to play along and jot down your own list in the comments.
Zarek Valentin – Defender, Chivas USA – Was he left exposed because Robin Frasier couldn’t figure out how to spell his name? Or did Chivas not understand the Generation Adidas graduation process? Either way, this 20-year old rookie U.S. U-23 defender has the potential to be a star and any team would be wise to snatch him up.
Caleb Folan – Forward, Colorado Rapids – Most folks seem to have the Impact grabbing Kosuke Kimura from the Rapids, but I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab proven target forward Folan. The Brit scored six goals this season and filled in well for Conor Casey when receiving the opportunity.
Santino Quaranta – Midfielder, D.C. United – This could be a sentimental pick for me, but I see Quaranta as a strong locker room presence in addition to being a capable starter. At 28, he’s the leader of United’s midfield, and he could be the leader of Montreal’s.
Hunter Freeman – Defender, Houston Dynamo – He was a starter for the MLS Cup runners up after playing in Norway the previous two seasons. If I’m the Impact, I’m loading up on good defenders.
Kyle Nakazawa – Midfielder, Philadelphia Union – The Union have one of the deeper teams in the league, so they were bound to leave some good players exposed. Nakazawa is the kind of high-energy player that young teams need.
Collen Warner – Midfielder, Real Salt Lake – Similar to the Union, RSL is guaranteed to lose a good player today that could start for almost any team in the league. Warner is another wide midfielder with potential to be great, and had five assists this season.
Brad Ring – Midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes – Here’s a young and cheap player who could lock down the defensive midfield spot for the Impact.
Patrick Ianni – Defender, Seattle Sounders - If I’m the Impact, I’m loading up on good defenders.
Seth Sinovic – Defender, Sporting Kansas City - If I’m the Impact, I’m loading up on good defenders.
Joe Cannon – Goalkeeper, Vancouver Whitecaps – For the second year in a row, Cannon will be changing teams via the expansion draft. I guess that’s what you get when you’re a slightly above average goalkeeper.