As expected for a team that finished at the bottom of MLS’s Eastern Conference this past season, D.C. United had no players selected by LAFC in today’s 2017 Expansion Draft. Instead, the latest expansion team selected Tyler Miller (Seattle Sounders), Latif Blessing (Sporting Kansas City), Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes), Jukka Raitala (Columbus Crew SC), and Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC).
Miller, a 24 year old goalkeeper, played once during Seattle’s playoff run, but that is one of his three MLS appearances up to this point in his career. Blessing scored 3 goals in his first MLS season with KC, and added 3 more goals to help the Sporks to a US Open Cup title. Ureña, in his prime at 27, is a regular starter for Costa Rica’s national team and posted 5 goals and 3 assists with the Quakes in his first MLS season. 29 year old Finnish international Raitala was a journeyman in Europe, and if LAFC actually keeps him he’ll be appearing for his eleventh club in a pro career dating back to 2006. Finally, Edwards posted 1 goal and 6 assists as a left wingback in 1,060 minutes with TFC (his hometown club) this year, a good haul for a 22 year old.
There was little expectation that United would lose anyone from their unprotected players list, with the MLS rights to Bill Hamid and current starting goalkeeper Steve Clark the most plausible options if Bob Bradley and former United midfielder John Thorrington (now LAFC’s general manager) opted to grab someone from the Black-and-Red.
As of now, no LAFC pick has been linked with the sort of “pick-and-trade” deals we’ve seen in recent expansion drafts. However, the distinct possibility remains that the new guys are taking calls and working the trade market to get the most value for the players they took today. Blessing, who has a green card, and Edwards both seem likely to draw major interest from around MLS.
With the conclusion of the expansion draft, MLS’s version of free agency will open at 3:00pm today. Teams may sign a maximum of two free agents (the full list of available players is here) during this offseason. Tomorrow, the league will hold a waiver draft at 3:30pm. On Thursday at 7:00pm, the league will release the names available for the Re-Entry Draft, and teams will participate in stage one of that mechanism 3:00pm on Friday (all times Eastern). It is a decent possibility that United will be adding someone via one of the many methods available in the coming days.