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D.C. United announce protected list ahead of 2021 MLS Expansion Draft

Charlotte FC will unfortunately have the option of selecting from 15 DCU players

Caitlin Buckley / Black and Red United

D.C. United has announced its list of protected players for the upcoming MLS expansion draft, which will see newcomers Charlotte FC further stock their roster. The expansion draft is on Thursday, December 14, at 7:00pm Eastern and will be broadcast on and on the MLS app.

This year’s expansion draft rules allow a 12-player protected list for each team, plus an exemption for all players currently on homegrown contracts. Charlotte has five selections, and can pick one player per team. The five teams that lost players to Austin FC in this same process last year — LA Galaxy, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City, and San Jose Earthquakes — are exempt. Teams that lose a player via the expansion draft will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

For United, that means 18 players cannot be picked:

2021 D.C. United protected list

Protected list Exempt (homegrown players)
Protected list Exempt (homegrown players)
Tony Alfaro Jeremy Garay
Paul Arriola Jacob Greene
Steven Birnbaum Moses Nyeman
Russell Canouse Kevin Paredes
Edison Flores Donovan Pines
Julian Gressel Griffin Yow
Bill Hamid
Brendan Hines-Ike
Ola Kamara
Andy Najar
Adrien Perez
Nigel Robertha
Jason Anderson / Black and Red United

That leaves the rest of United’s roster, including players that the club has already said will not be back for 2022, available for Charlotte. That list is as follows:

2021 D.C. United unprotected list

Unprotected Note
Unprotected Note
Ramón Ábila Loan to MLS ended
Yamil Asad contract expired, won't be back
Jovanny Bolívar Loan to MLS ended
Frédéric Brillant out of contract
Michael DeShields contract expired, won't be back
Jon Kempin DCU in talks over new contract
Felipe Martins DCU in talks over new contract
Joseph Mora contract expired, won't be back
Junior Moreno DCU has made bona fide contract offer
Chris Odoi-Atsem
Yordy Reyna contract expired, won't be back
Chris Seitz contract expired, won't be back
Drew Skundrich
Kimarni Smith
Erik Sorga On loan with VVV Venlo
Jason Anderson / Black and Red United

The list contains few surprises, with United opting to protect a group largely made up of projected starters. The fact that United has left Moreno and Felipe both unprotected is somewhat curious; Moreno finished 2021 as second on the team in minutes played, while Felipe’s 27 appearances were the fourth-highest total on the team. However, both are out of contract at the moment, which — along with the presence of Moses Nyeman and Jeremy Garay — likely influenced United’s choice.

Versatile midfielder Drew Skundrich (20 appearances) also seemed like a prospect to be protected, with competition for the last two spots likely ending up between him, Moreno, Felipe, Tony Alfaro, and Adrien Perez. United could also end up losing Chris Odoi-Atsem after five seasons with the club, or 2021 first round pick Kimarni Smith.

The expansion draft will be followed in rapid order by a series of MLS player movement mechanisms:

  • Wednesday, December 15, 1:00pm Eastern: Waiver draft
  • Wednesday, December 15, as soon as the waiver draft concludes: Free agency opens
  • Friday, December 17, 1:00pm Eastern: Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft
  • Thursday, December 23: Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft