UPDATED with tasty trade news – Up to the minute information on FC Cincinnati’s Expansion draft being held in New York City on Tuesday December 11th.
The 2018 MLS expansion draft was held in New York City on Tuesday, December 11th at 2 PM Eastern. FC Cincinnati selected five players from the eligible pool. They could only claim a single player from any one club and had three minutes for each selection, with no timeouts or trades during the draft.
The five teams LAFC chose from during the 2017 expansion draft are off-limits for FC Cincinnati. Those included the Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City, Columbus Crew SC, and Toronto FC.
Player profiles (linked in names) and values below are via Tranfermarkt.
Age: 27 Position: Defender/Left back From: Grapevine, Texas Former Team: Atlanta United Value: $900K Deal: Traded in exchange for $200K of General Allocation Money and $250K of Targeted Allocation Money
Age: 30 Position: Center back From: Limón, Costa Rica (domestic – U.S. Permanent Resident) Former Team: Vancouver Whitecaps Value: $1.1M Deal: Traded in exchange for $450K of General Allocation Money, $300K of Targeted Allocation Money and a 2019 international roster spot
In recent years, many of the expansion draft picks have come from (not surprisingly) the top teams in MLS. In 2017, for example, LAFC selected all five of its players from playoff squads. So we reached out to experts in six 2018 playoff markets and captured their reaction to their team’s protected player list. We asked the following question.
“What is your reaction to the players your team protected, and who are the best 1 or 2 players left unprotected?”
The answers can give us some insights into who FC Cincinnati will target on December 11th.
“No major surprises on the Atlanta United unprotected list in my opinion. Jeff Larentowicz is the biggest gamble on Atlanta’s part, but I would expect that Cincinnati would be looking to go younger in this draft. Mikey Ambrose would be a very useful pick and could be a potential starter at LB. He has performed very well when called upon in Atlanta, scrappy defender and is good going forward. Brandon Vasquez and Romario Williams are also strong options. However, I think they are less valuable to Cincinnati due to position. With Fanendo Adi in place, a striker might not be prioritized in this draft.”
Per Orange & Blue Press’ communications with Steve, FC Cincinnati may have the most interest in goalkeeper David Ousted. D.C. United might not mind if FCC took Ousted off their books with Bill Hamid back in town as the starter. They also might take a good look at central defenders Federic Brillant,Kofi Opare, or outside midfielder Nick DeLeon.
“There were no surprises at all. I think defender Steven Beitashour is LAFC’s best option for selection, but I don’t know if FC Cincinnati will do that with Justin Hoyte being signed. They serve similar roles on the field and in the squad.”
Outside of Beitashour, Alicia Rodriguez believes the best available options from LAFC are young defender/fullback Tristan Blackmon and winger Josh Pérez.
“There are not many surprises from the Red Bulls unprotected players. They mostly range from players not returning for 2019 (Collin, Escobar, Kutler, Redding, Rivas, Rzatkowski), or young cheap depth players (Bezecourt, Duncan, Valot, Abang, White). Rounding out the list, Andreas Ivan has yet to make an impact in NY.
The biggest surprise for me, and the best player available is Florian Valot. Valot locked down a starting role before suffering a major injury setback. He is dynamic at a number of positions in the midfield and a proven goal scorer. His first goal for NYRBII came against FCC.”
“We both think the best pick for FC Cincinnati from NYCFC would be goalkeeper Brad Stuver. Tommy McNamara is also an intriguing choice because he can be a special player, but he struggled in the NYCFC system. He was drafted under a different coach. Winger / forward Rodney Wallace is a recent World Cup veteran. But ultimately I do think that Stuver is a quality keeper that could be a number one for a club.”
NOTE: Speculation exists that there is an agreement that FC Cincinnati will not select from Portland as part of the terms of the Fanendo Adi transfer completed in July.
Information for the Portland Timbers is provided by Jeff Bull, author of Portland Timbers blog Conifers and Citrus, and new Orange & Blue Press writer, based in Portland.
“The Portland Timbers’ list of protected players includes household names (e.g., goalkeeper Jeff Attinella and left back Jorge Villafana), or, in some cases, household gods (e.g., Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, and Diego Chara, all of them midfielders).
With allowance for personal confusion/disinterest (e.g., read the arcane rules on protecting “international” players), Portland’s biggest risk came with leaving, like, a lot of its defense exposed – e.g., Julio Cascante, Liam Ridgewell, Lawrence Olum, and Alvas Powell. Those players contributed, some of them a lot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean FC Cincinnati should trip over themselves to pick one of them up.
Of all the defenders exposed, I’d consider the one I haven’t yet named: young New Zealand international Bill Tuiloma, not least because, when Larrys Mabiala went down in the playoffs, that’s who the team called up to serve (and he served serviceably). If FC Cincy really wanted to take a flier, they could pick up Tomas Conechny, a very young (20) Argentine midfielder who arrived with a fair amount of hype (only to have it fizzle, honestly; the guy rarely made the field all season and didn’t do much when he did).”
Bonus: New England Revolution
Orange & Blue Press writer Geoff Tebbetts is a Massachusetts native and a recovering New England Revolution fan. So, even though they weren’t a playoff team, we’re also including a contribution on the Revolution’s unprotected list from Seth Macomber of the Bent Musket.
“The only major surprise was that Juan Agudelo was protected, since he’s out of contract and has a high salary number. It’s possible that the Revs keep him around with the hope that he’ll produce more than the three goals and four assists he contributed in 2018. Another possibility is that he’s definitely heading outside the league and the Revs made an offer to retain his MLS rights.
FCC might be interested in Jalil Anibaba, an MLS journeyman that performed pretty well as a center back. His experience and low cap number are enough to at least garner some consideration.
The Revs also left two decent goalkeeping options unprotected. Brad Knighton is a proven MLS backup that can step in and do a job. Cody Cropper was once considered a USMNT prospect but didn’t see a single minute under new coach Brad Friedel.”
The five teams LAFC chose from during the 2017 expansion draft are off-limits for FC Cincinnati. Those include the Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City, Columbus Crew SC, and Toronto FC.
Of course, Alan Koch may choose to select from outside of the league’s more successful teams. There are 18 possible teams to choose from, and the goal is to find the best players that complement what FC Cincinnati has on their roster, or can secure from the transfer market.
Be sure to check out our discussion forum and tell us who you want to see FC Cincinnati choose on Tuesday.
Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for our coverage of FC Cincinnati’s Expansion Draft.
FC Cincinnati made another major roster announcement Monday, officially signing center back Forrest Lasso. Props to the club for now cleverly announcing #19 Corben Bone on the 19th of November and #3 Lasso on the 3rd of December. This brings the current Senior Roster to 5 players, one week away from the MLS Expansion Draft.
Five additional roster spots are up for grabs during the Expansion Draft December 11th at 2pm. Assuming no additional roster announcements are made prior, it’s logical to think that one-half (10 of 20) Senior Roster spots will be spoken for by this time next week.
We recently asked via our Discussion Thread series what strategy the team may make during the Expansion Draft. To better understand how best to answer this question, let’s review the following roster graphic.
The above table illustrates a realistic approach to how FCC may fill out their inaugural 2019 MLS Senior Roster over the next few weeks. Green highlights a higher proposed target opportunity, yellow a mid-level and red a lower probability.
Players Signed (5 players)
The first handful of FC Cincinnati MLS signees represent a great foundation of talent, consisting of:
Fanendo Adi, Designated Player – a proven MLS forward with 50 goals in 120 appearances for the Portland Timbers
Emmanuel Ledesma, International – the reigning USL Most Valuable Player
Forrest Lasso – the reigning USL Defender of the Year
Fatai Alashe – a central defensive midfielder with recent MLS experience in San Jose
Corben Bone – a fan favorite and FCC original with MLS credibility
Expansion Draft (5 players)
The club has the unique opportunity given to expansion sides to make a significant impact in shaping their roster next Tuesday. As the list of available players will not be released by the MLS until the day before, it’s nearly impossible to predict the best talent available. Additionally, teams will protect their top 11 players, specifically in high impact positions, such as central defenders, center midfielders and forwards.
Therefore, we’ve taken a theoretical approach to what may be available. We highlight below the higher probability positions and a few players that may just be sitting there for the taking on the 11th.
Although it’s not likely that a first team keeper will be on the board, there will be several former starters and back-ups available, such as:
David Ousted, DC United – the 33-year-old, 6’ 4” Danish keeper has 159 MLS starts (42 shutouts) for DC United (2018) and Vancouver Whitecaps (2013-2017). Yes, Ousted provides the Vancouver connection we’ve witnessed Alan Koch dip into frequently. The return of club legend Bill Hamid to DC United last summer makes Ousted (Oh-sted) expendable and available. Achievable for right around $500k.
Brad Stuver, NYCFC – former Dayton Dutch Lion and Columbus Crew SC, 27-year-old greater Cleveland native. With only 4 MLS starts, Stuver could be a possible back-up if the team feels they have a bona-fide starter in Spencer Richey or Evan Newton.
High quality center backs are in high demand and pivotal for an expansion side. Look for FCC to seek an experienced MLS veteran to shore up a young and MLS inexperienced duo of Lasso and Paddy Barrett (yes, I went there).
Tim Parker, RBNY – my O&B Press colleagues will not be surprised with this one. As a self-professed Tim Parker fan, this would be a gigantic pick-up by FCC. Not only is he another former Whitecaps player (2015-2017), he was also Spencer Richey’s first roommate on the road with the Whitecaps FC 2 USL franchise in 2015. Additionally, the 26-year old Parker, and former 2011 High School Gatorade Player of the Year, has two USMNT caps and 105 MLS appearances in 4 seasons. He is out of contract with the Red Bulls and just might be available in the Expansion Draft.
Kofi Opare, out of contract with DC United – the Ghanaian born, U.S./Canadian duel national played collegiately at University of Michigan. He has over 6,500 MLS minutes between stops with LA Galaxy and DC United. A recent foot injury may be a concern but will also keep his salary demands in budget.
This is a position that is a high target need for the Orange & Blue to fill in the upcoming few weeks.
Ronald Matarrita, NYCFC – the 24-year-old, Costa Rican international Matarrita should be left unprotected next week. He is the current back up to former Crew and Dayton Dutch Lion Ben Sweat in NY. Matarrita has played over 4,000 MLS minutes with NYCFC the last 3 seasons. He has 23 caps for the Ticos and is versatile as a left winger as well. He would likely require TAM to buy down his salary to fit within the individual player max budget charge. Matarrita would be dynamic in Orange & Blue.
Greg Garza, Atlanta United – the 27-year-old former Liga MX player is signed to a multi-year deal for the MLS Cup bound Five Stripes. However, if he is left unprotected by Atlanta, FCC need to jump on the versatile left back/midfielder. He has 10 USMNT caps and would be a great fit for FC Cincinnati.
Jordan Harvey, out of contract with LAFC – the 34-year old, eleven-year MLS journeyman would bring tons of experience at left back for a reasonable price. You guessed it, he’s another player with Vancouver connections having played for the Whitecaps from 2011-2017. Harvey could be a low risk, inexpensive roster filler. He certainly knows what to expect on a new expansion side.
Alan Koch has shown a desire to have a stable of wingers that burn pass opponents on the flank. Having a true #9 like Adi in the line-up will also predicate the need for outside midfielders/wingers to get service into his path.
Juan Agudelo, out of contract with NE Revolution – although I’ve not been a huge Agudelo fan over the years, he has re-invented himself as a winger of late. Only 26-years-old, the upside here is potentially grabbing a savvy player with 175 MLS appearances. For the right price, Aqudelo may be worth a look.
Zoltan Stieber, DC United – the 30-year-old Hungarian has bounced around the top European leagues including stops at Aston Villa, Mainz 05, Hamburger SV and FC Kaiserslautern. He has made 35 appearances for DC United the past two seasons scoring 6 goals. Stieber has UEFA Europa League experience and 22 caps for the Magyars.
Keep in mind, FCC can only take one player from each of the 18 available unprotected team rosters. Toronto FC, Columbus Crew SC, Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders, and the San Jose Earthquakes are all exempt from the Expansion Draft as LAFC chose players from their rosters in the last Expansion Draft.
The positional tactics above appear to align with some of the incoming but unsubstantiated rumors of possible FCC open market transfer targets.
Alfredo Morales, recent media reports state that both FCC and NYCFC are interested in the 28-year-old former USMNT center midfielder. Morales currently plays in the Bundesliga for Fortuna Düsseldorf. His club placed a $1M transfer fee price tag on any potential transfer.
Ozvaldo Alonso, the Seattle Sounders announced two weeks ago that they would not re-sign their 33-year-old veteran defensive midfielder. The storied Cuban national and former Charleston Battery player will be a hot commodity in the MLS free agent market. His age and recent injuries raise a few doubts, but the “Honey Badger’s” experience and clever play could be a much-needed asset for an expansion side.
Matias Campos López, MLS Transfer News reported this week that FCC are targeting the 27-year-old Chilean striker. He has scored 13 goals in 26 appearances this season for Palestino of the Chilean Primera Division.
Who do you see FC Cincinnati targeting, position, and player-wise, in the upcoming Expansion Draft?
Following the completion of the Expansion Draft, FC Cincinnati needs to fill the remaining half of their Senior Roster from a combination of the following: MLS Free Agency, the Waiver Draft, the Re-Entry Draft, the SuperDraft, the international transfer market and from their former USL roster.
Stay tuned to the Orange & Blue Press for your continued off-season coverage and Transfer News.