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D.C. United’s protected player list for the 2017 MLS expansion draft

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The Black-and-Red are trying to keep LAFC from snatching any of their players away

Ahead of LAFC’s expansion draft, D.C. United has released their list of protected players. As per MLS rules, all MLS clubs are allowed to protect eleven players, and LAFC may only select one player from a given team. Teams who lose a player via the expansion draft are given $50,000 in general allocation money (GAM) by the league.

United’s list of eleven is as follows:

  1. Luciano Acosta (international)
  2. Paul Arriola
  3. Steve Birnbaum
  4. Frederic Brillant (international)
  5. Russell Canouse
  6. Nick DeLeon
  7. Taylor Kemp
  8. Darren Mattocks
  9. Patrick Mullins
  10. Kofi Opare
  11. Zoltan Stieber (international)

The major news item here is that United is not protecting Bill Hamid. For MLS’s purposes, Hamid is still a United player until his contract actually ends at the end of 2017, and theoretically LAFC could pick him, which would give them his future MLS rights (which United currently hold, as they made a bona fide offer before he opted to sign a pre-contract deal with FC Midtjylland).

United’s two newest players, Brillant and Mattocks, both made the list just hours after being acquired. Given their projected status as a likely starter (Brillant) and, at worst, and oft-used attacking sub (Mattocks), this is not really a surprise. United cut their squad down to the bone by not exercising several contract options, and there’s not much of an argument to protect players who the club feels it can afford to move on from.

On top of their list of eleven, United will also be sure that Chris Durkin, Ian Harkes, and Jalen Robinson will go unselected, as MLS exempts homegrown players from the expansion draft process.

International spots are always an issue, as MLS has some complicated language surrounding how many foreign players a team can leave unprotected. For United’s purposes, there are currently six internationals to be concerned about: Acosta, Brillant, Stieber, Deshorn Brown (yes, he still counts despite having his option declined and with no apparent interest in bringing him back), Julian Buescher (who told a German outlet that he has “graduated” from the Generation Adidas program, which if true makes him eligible for selection by LAFC), and Bruno Miranda.

International roster spots do not apply to this process at all, so don’t get hung up on them. Rosters do not need to be in compliance from that angle until late February. Instead, United is obliged to protect a minimum of three international players (there’s a chart breaking down how teams must deal with international players in the expansion draft).

Fortunately, they aren’t really having to think too hard about this one. Brown and Buescher have already been told they’re not coming back, and the odds that Bob Bradley has his eye on Miranda are very low. Acosta, Brillant, and Stieber are straightforward choices. This contrasts with last year, where United had to move Kennedy Igboananike and Miguel Aguilar in trades to avoid having to protect less valued international players over domestic starters.

United’s list of unprotected players is as follows (players who are out of contract or who had their option declined are in italics):

GK: Steve Clark, Travis Worra, Eric Klenofsky
DF: Sean Franklin, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Chris Korb
MF: Julian Buescher, Jared Jeffrey, Patrick Nyarko, Lloyd Sam, Marcelo Sarvas, Rob Vincent
FW: Deshorn Brown, Bruno Miranda, Chris Rolfe