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D.C. United announces protected player list for Austin FC MLS Expansion Draft

We don’t know if the Black-and-Red will lose anyone tomorrow, but we do know who’s not getting nabbed by the new guys

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United has announced its protected player list for tomorrow’s MLS Expansion Draft, during which Austin FC will raid the rosters of five of the league’s existing teams to stock up on players. The Expansion Draft will take place tomorrow at 6pm, and can be followed on MLS’s Youtube or Twitter pages, the league site, or other options.

United, who currently have 18 players under contract and are in contract talks with five more that could potentially return in 2021, were allowed to protect up to 12 players. Their protected list is as follows:

  1. Paul Arriola
  2. Yamil Asad
  3. Steven Birnbaum
  4. Russell Canouse
  5. Edison Flores
  6. Julian Gressel
  7. Bill Hamid
  8. Ola Kamara
  9. Joseph Mora
  10. Junior Moreno
  11. Chris Odoi-Atsem
  12. Erik Sorga

Of that group, eleven are under contract for 2021. Odoi-Atsem, who established himself as first-choice at right back over the final third of the season, has been given a bona fide offer by United, which makes this choice to protect him a strong indicator that he will eventually sign a new deal.

Importantly, United does not have to protect any Homegrown players who retain their Generation Adidas status. While this rubric was used years ago to declare that Bill Hamid had “graduated” out of the GA program (which in turn means they have to choose to protect him), it also means that Jacob Greene, Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes, Donovan Pines, and Griffin Yow cannot be selected by Austin.

That leaves the following list of United players from 2020 as eligible for selection by Austin:

  • Frederic Brillant
  • Earl Edwards Jr.
  • Oniel Fisher
  • Felipe Martins
  • Yordy Reyna
  • Gelmin Rivas
  • Chris Seitz
  • Axel Sjöberg

In the cases of Fisher and Sjöberg, though both players have had their options declined, United still technically holds their MLS rights until the Re-Entry Draft, which will take place in two rounds on December 17 and 22.

Due to the glut of recent expansion teams, MLS has made some alterations to the rules in recent years. The ten teams that lost players to either Nashville SC or Inter Miami last year are exempt from this year’s Expansion Draft, leaving 16 remaining clubs on the hook tomorrow. Teams can only lose one player to Austin, and any team that has a player selected will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

Along with United, that leaves the Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps on the list of teams Austin can select players from.