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Projecting the MLS Expansion Draft

Dax McCarty (

Trying to predict expansion drafts is never easy, trying to do so for two teams is downright impossible.

That doesn't mean we can't try though, and with Vancouver and Portland set to make their expansion draft selections on Wednesday afternoon, there is plenty of speculation about which directions each team will go.

I projected how Wednesday's Expansion Draft will go in my Mock Expansion Draft for Fox Soccer. There aren't any major surprises, but certainly some big names being grabbed by both teams. 

Give the mock expansion draft a read and feel free to share your own thoughts and predictions, as well as what you think of my predictions, in the comments section below.


  1. Interesting observation. I did not know Conrad was out of contract. If that’s the case, and Portland will be high up on the re-entry draft order, they may not select him and wait to pick him up via the re-entry draft, if your theory is correct.

  2. As Ives said, its almost impossible to know who would be available given that 2 teams are picking and that a team can pull back players after 1 is picked. That said, if Portland could pick up the following players (my guess in the order that they may be picked and which I think is possible) they would have the start of a very good nucleus and mix of players:

    McCarty (M)

    Davies (CD)

    Wallace (D)

    Warner (M)

    Padillo (F)

    Ashe (M)

    Conrad (D)

    Knighton (GK)

    Ward (D)

    If Davies is not available I’d take Schuler or the Columbus young Center Back to team with Conrad.

    The one that will be interesting is if someone picks up Ned Grabavoy instead of Warner early on. Ned has played very well for RSL, holds the ball well, and is still pretty young (27) with a good 6 years probably left in him. It would be a hard decision between Warner and him. Warner has looked good but has played only sparingly.

    The only disagreement I have with Ives picks is I don’t think that Onstad is picked by Vancouver. With only one more year of playing probably, I think they’d work out a deal with Houston on the side. Also, I don’t think that Schelloto or JPA get picked up. Both are too old. But hey, it’s anyones guess how this things going to turn out. Should be fun…

  3. What I do find interesting is this really shows who the guys in the know think have the deeper teams.

    Seattle who has won back to back US Open Cups and probably deserved to have a better CCL, all the while crushing it in the 2nd half of MLS, you would expect to be done after the 10th pick.

    Dallas of course. Houston a bit of a shock and has been discussed above.

    But if you are an LA fan, should you be nervous that no one is projected as being taken…and your team seems prone to injuries…and it’s getting older ?

    I also found it interesting that after 1 year, last years expansion team is already being cherry picked. Enforces the Fox article opening paragraph.

  4. BTW, there’s one other (potentially BIG) wrinkle in all this. Later this year, we have the “re-entry draft” in which guys like Schelotto, Conrad, and Angel will be exposed (b/c they’re out of contract).

    Ives–if expansion teams draft a player out of contract (like an Angel) do they have to get them under contract by the “re-entry draft” or then re-expose those players? I can’t see why the expansion teams would be exempt–after all, this a union-negotiated deal and to allow two teams to circumvent the agreement would be a major stick in the eye for the players. If so, that’s a MAJOR dis-encentive from picking players out of contract who you’re not sure you can sign to a cap number you find attractive.

  5. I am all covered in shame. Fischy, you are correct. This season was so painful it has scrambled my brain, I’m confusing my ex-coaches.

  6. I agree that McTavish might be attractive to Vancouver. Under Soehn, McTavish played 6-7 different positions and even scored some goals. He’s only 27 and relatively cheap. That said, he’s the only one of the players that Soehn would know. He wouldn’t know Graye (who was in college by the time Soehn became head coach), Morsink and Rice arrived AFTER Soehn left. I think he’d pass on Rice if he’s wise–was on IR at the end of the season due to concussion syndrome. I think there are far better options than Morsink as a d-mid (like, uh…McCarty!).

  7. In addition to SBI’s comments, Onstad has a history with Lenarduzzi; playing with (86ers) and for (Cdn nat team). And they have to pick 10 players…

  8. I highly doubt Vancouver takes a 41-year-old Onstad. They’re putting together an aggressive front office and there are better Canadian options overseas who would be attracted by MLS.

  9. RSL will definitely lose Warner, and I don’t get it. He is a very promising player, one of the young guys I was really excited about.

    Ives- you didn’t mention Alex Nimo- he reportedly said he would retire if not released by RSL and/or traded to Portland. Any idea there? Maybe the teams have an agreement in place…

  10. Honestly I can’t imagine Andy Williams not getting drafted. Also Onstad goes to Vancouver but not that high up on the table. That’s ridiculous.

    (SBI-You might want to consider all the permutations before you go labeling things “ridiculous”. If Vancouver waits too long for Onstad then Portland can grab multiple Houston players, which would shut out Vancouver from taking Onstad. Multiple Houston players is certainly a possibility considering Spencer coached there. That clear enough?)

  11. Also, McTavish isn’t all that young, at 26, He’s versatile, but he isn’t really good enough to hold down any one position either. Soehn’s familiarity with McTavish might work against him here. He saw McTavish blow a big game for him a few years ago with weak defending in Toronto.

  12. JPA’s rights could probably be traded for a draft pick…could be smart move for a team like Chivas USA. The JPA-Braun combo could be very good. Plus Vancouver or Portland could get an extra first rounder.

  13. Why would Vancouver want 41 year old Onstad for 1 year when they could grab 35 year old Joe Cannon for multiple years?

    (SBI-Because Onstad is from Vancouver, still a good goalkeeper, one of the best locker room guys in the league and someone who could groom a replacement and be a player/coach for a head coach new to MLS. If they don’t take Onstad, then Cannon could certainly be a possibility.)

  14. Presumably. I noted that same error and wondered if it would affect the mock draft. Since Ives doesn’t have anyone taking Thompson, it’s logical to assume that’s what he meant.

  15. Why would Soehn know a lot about these guys? Think he follows his old team that closely? Why would he know anything about Barry Rice? was run out of town a year ago. Rice was brought in as trialist this past Spring. As for Jordan Graye, I’m also a little confused. I suppose DCU had some scouting reports on Graye, since he played in the DCU Academy, but that was before Soehn even came to DC.

    As for Morsink, he was brought in to DC by Onalfo.

    Come to think of it, you seem to have Soehn totally confused with Onalfo, who succeed

  16. It seeems as though his ACL injury really affected his game. OBW has shown sparks but hasn’t really been the impact player he was projected to be coming out of college.
    I’m sure had he opted out of his final year of college (when he was injured), he would have been a much better player.

    It’s a low chance that Vancouver actually picks him, especially given seems as though the Canadian quota will be reduced. OBW also has a pretty high salary, which may deter Vancouver from selecting him.
    Also, the protection of international players probably played a part in his exclusion.

    I don’t want to say he’s a bust yet, but given his age, he might be running out of time to pick up his game.

  17. Your mock draft says “FC Dallas finished” after Portland selects Wallace from Colorado. The logical assumption is that Rapids will protect Wells Thompson after Wallace is taken. Agree?

  18. I have to wonder if, in search of cheap, young defenders with upside, T Sohen will pass on both Jordan Grey and Barry Rice from DCU, guys he should know pretty well. Or a veteran role-player Devon McTavish or Kurt Morsink, who Sohen brought in from KC. All 4 saw significant minutes this season, and while DCU’s goals against doesn’t speak well of their defending, Grey and Rice could both still develop into good MLS defenders. And none of them come with a huge salary cap hit.

  19. I’m unhappy Colorado chose to expose Wallace. The kid’s a 21-year old natural leftie, who’s finally playing in the right position for him, and played all 120 minutes in the MLS Cup. He’s still a little raw, but he’s young, and good enough to start for CO now? Come on.

    How many national sides would love to have a lefty for their left back, much less a club team?

  20. Unless they are taking him to use his rights as trade bait, I don’t see either team taking JPA. The guy is not going to play on turf. It just isn’t going to happen.

  21. Can someone explained what happened with O’Brian White? I mean, he had all those accolades in college, then was 4th pick in the draft 2 years ago. And now… left up for expansion. Is he just a bust? If so, then why is Ives projecting him so high here?

  22. I agree that most of the draft could come off as forecast. However, I will be shocked if Angel and GBS get picked up by either team.

  23. A team can lose 2 players max, according to the rules this year. After 1 is taken, the team in question can protect an additional player.

    Ives knows the rules.

  24. They can take up to 2 players from each club, but the club gets to protect one for each one taken (notice the “___ pulls back ___”).

  25. You have the rule a bit mixed up.

    A team can only lose a maximum of 2 players.
    One of Portland/Vancouver can pick twice from a certain team. But then that team is exempt from the rest of the draft.

  26. He also has Vancouver taking 2 Sounders. But I couldn’t find any mention of it not being allowed in the expansion rules MLS put out.

  27. I’ll be curious to see if playing on turf impacts Angel and Schelotto’s willingness to come to terms with either expansion team.

    (SBI-That may be true, but the teams could also trade their rights. I’m sure there is interest in both players from MLS teams.)


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