The Houston Dynamo left nine players unprotected for tomorrow's Expansion Draft and compared to the past couple drafts, it's a fairly unsurprising list from top to bottom. While only Dominic Kinnear and Chris Canetti know all the reasons behind why these players didn't make the protected list, I think I can make some safe assumptions as to why they made the decisions they did.
First a quick disclaimer, these are just my thoughts and opinions and don't represent any kind of inside information or opinions of the team. Also, I'm not trying to disrespect any of the player, I'm just making honest assessments of why I think these guys were left off the protected list.
Samuel Appiah: Sammy was left unprotected because he's listed as a developmental player. Basically, if he was selected in the draft, the selecting team would have to offer him a senior team contract. Generally, developmental players get through these drafts for that very reason since many are not viewed as ready for a regular first team spot and the financial implications that could mean.
Corey Ashe: Contract, plain and simple. Ashe is out on contract for 2011 and he said himself on Glenn Davis' radio show a couple weeks ago than he and his agent were not happy with the initial contract offer from the Dynamo. You can't afford to use a protected spot on a player who might not even sign a new contract.
Ryan Cochrane: While Cochrane provides some depth in the defensive back line, his $100k base salary means that a team selecting him will probably have to utilize him as a starter. Quite frankly, his inconsistent play and high salary make him expendable.
Richard Mulrooney: Most guys who've had the knee issues that Mulrooney has dealt with would have retired years ago, but he continues to battle on. He's versatile, able to cover both a midfield or fullback role and can still unleash some good corner kicks. That said, he's an older player with a history of injury making $120k.
Joseph Ngwenya: Ngwenya is an interesting player in this draft. He played for the Dynamo when John Spencer was on Kinnear's staff, his salary isn't high (72k) and he can play up front or in an attacking mid role. If any Dynamo player is selected, this might be the most likely candidate.
Anthony Obodai: With Obodai's injury late in the season, we still don't know a lot about this player. He showed a lot of positives when he was playing and provides some depth in the midfield. I expect he won't get the attention of Portland or Vancouver and he'll be back next season.
Dominic Oduro: LIke Ashe, this move is all about the contract. Oduro is out of contract for 2011 and like I said before, you don't use protected spots on guys who might not sign a new deal. I think the Dynamo want Oduro back and that he will sign, but you just can't risk it.
Pat Onstad: He's a Dynamo legend, he's a huge part of the team's two MLS Cups, but there is no way you protect a 42-year old (he'll be 43 as the start of next season) goalkeeper in a draft where both teams involved appear to have little to no interest in goalkeepers. That said, there is always a chance the Vancouver native goes to the Whitecaps. Whether or not Onstad would want to play for another team at this point in his career is up in the air and you'd have to think Vancouver would want some kind of assurance he wouldn't retire. This isn't the first time Onstad has been left unprotected, he understands the expansion draft game so it shouldn't phase him.
Eddie Robinson: E-Rob is an aging defender who had an up and down season with a large salary (132k). Sure he's a Dynamo original and a favorite of many fans but this is the kind of player you have to leave unprotected in these kinds of draft.