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Who Should the Dynamo Protect in the Expansion Draft

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With the Expansion Draft quickly approaching, it's time to consider which 11 players the Houston Dynamo will chose to protect from potential selection by the Portland Timbers or Vancouver Whitecaps. There are of course rules, which I will explain, but short of the final minutes of a key match, there are few more stressful times for MLS supporters than waiting to see if they lose a player in this draft.

After the jump I'll review the rules for the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft, review the Dynamo roster, taking a look at who is exempt from the draft. Then I'll offer up my mock protected list and offer some explanation on my choices.

Obviously this is an inexact science and what makes guessing at this list difficult is the fact that we are missing pieces of important information including contract information, players intention/desire to leave, team philosophy, etc.

Essentially what I'm attempting to determine who I feel are the most important 11 players to the team, while at the same time taking in to consideration things like salary that might allow the Dynamo to get away with leaving a player they want to keep unprotected.

There is an element of Russian roulette to the expansion draft and while Houston was lucky to avoid losing a player last year, the odds are good at least one of the guys left unprotected will be taken. Then again, there is a history of back room handshake deals between teams so anything in possible.

Alright let's get started after the jump.

Draft Date: Wednesday, November 24th

Date Team Protected List Due to League Office: Monday, November 22nd

  • MLS Clubs may protect 11 players between their Senior and their Developmental Roster.
  • Players on a Club's Developmental Roster, other than Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2010 MLS Season or Home Grown Players on a Club's developmental roster, will be part of the expansion draft.
  • Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2010 MLS Season and Home Grown Players on a Club's developmental roster at the end of the 2010 MLS Season are automatically protected.
  • Clubs are restricted in the number of international player(s) that they may make available. Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three, provided that if a Club has three or fewer international players it may make available not more than one.
  • Designated players are NOT automatically protected (i.e., Clubs must choose whether to protect such players and if such player is not protected, he will be available for selection in the Expansion Draft). However, if the Designated Player has a no-trade clause in his contract, then his MLS club must protect him and he will count as one of the 11 players who may be protected.
  • Maximum Player Loss: Once two (2) players have been claimed from a Club's non-protected roster, that Club is eliminated from the expansion draft and may not lose any further players. In addition, once a player has been claimed from a Club's non-protected roster, that Club may move a player from its non-protected roster to its protected roster.

Enough of the rules, now let's take a look at the roster, who is exempt and my mock protected list.

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Automatically Protected Players: Danny Cruz (GA), Tyler Deric (Home Grown), Francisco Navas Cobo (Home Grown)

Senior Roster: Sammy Appiah, Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala, Brian Ching, Colin Clarke, Ryan Cochrane, Brad Davis, Andrew Hainault, Tally Hall, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya, Anthony Obodai, Dominic Oduro, Pat Onstad, Lovel Palmer, Eddie Robinson, Adrian Serioux, Cam Weaver

Players listed in italics are International Players. The Dynamo must protect at least 2 of 5

Here is my current Mock Protected List (10/26/10):

1. Brad Davis - Team's leading assist man, far too talented to let go in an expansion draft
2. Geoff Cameron - Easily the best player on the team
3. Bobby Boswell - Anchor of the central defense, and a big part of the locker room chemistry
4. Lovel Palmer - Strong midfielder that links well with the attack, he's only going to get better
5. Andrew Hainault - Young versatile defender
6. Corey Ashe - Speedy winger who looks to able to cover as a fullback as well.
7. Tally Hall - He should be your starting goalkeeper in 2011
8. Colin Clark - You traded Brian Mullan to get him, I doubt you'd risk losing him right away
9. Brian Ching - Face of the franchise and he can still contribute, you must protect him
10. Sammy Appiah - Talented young player who has shown enough to be worth protecting
11. Mike Chabala - The enigma of the list since we don't know what his plans are, but I think you have to protect him after leaving him exposed in last year's draft. I hate to say it, but I think there is a real chance Chabala might not return to the Dynamo next season.

The Players Not on the List:

Eddie Robinson, Richard Mulrooney, Pat Onstad: All three veterans have high salaries, the possibility of choosing retirement and are not worth using a protected spot on. No disrespect to them, but if Portland or Vancouver want to take on one of these guys and their salary, it wouldn't be a big deal.

Anthony Obodai: It's hard to fully review Obodai's play thanks to the injury that kept him out at the end of the season. I think the Dynamo want to hold on to him, but will risk exposing him because of 100k+ salary.

Dominic Oduro: Easily the toughest guy for me to leave off the list. Yes, I'm fully aware of his troubles putting the ball in the net, but if you really watched the last two months of the season, you saw why Oduro is important. I've seen Oduro since his early days at FC Dallas and the improvements he's made since coming to Houston are clear. He may not be a clinical striker but he's a guy that can drive a defense crazy and help create space for his teammates. That said, I expect him to safely make it through the draft.

Ryan Cochrane, Adrian Serioux, Cam Weaver, Joseph Ngwenya: All role players that you can make a case to keep, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if they were selected.

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So there you have it. Feel free to post your list and comment on my choices. I'm looking forward to hearing what Dynamo fans think about this topic. At this point, we wait until the 22nd of November and see if there is any news or trades (there is a short trade window before the draft) that will make me reevaluate my list.