Tuesday, December 12, 2017

(Expansion) Picks of the Litter

While some in our soccer bubble have been debating over whether a place still remains for the MLS Expansion Draft, I've long been of the mind that it is a woefully under-utilized avenue for team building.

Yeah, I'm aware you can grab trade chips (like Minnesota United did last year) or basically blow off the picks (how's that working out so far, Orlando City?). The last club to treat the Expansion Draft as a means to directly expand their roster foundation was Seattle, and they made it look like a really good idea (17 US Open Cup and one MLS Cup ring in Sounders colors, including some by a club captain now up to 200 appearances, from that group of 10).

Taking a cue from Seattle circa 2008, I'll offer up five deluxe picks for LAFC to bag up and take home today. And because I have no idea what signings LAFC are already closing on, I'll stick mainly to guys that won't take up an international slot.

ROUND 1

What better place to start than with the new MLS champs? They have a few plum picks, but for me, it comes down to either Drew Moor or Raheem Edwards... and Moor is actually free agent, so there's no need to blow a selection on him here. Well, that was easy enough. One cheap, left-side attacker with tons of upside. You're welcome. Next!

ROUND 2

Let's slide over the the Sporting KC stall, where one could pilfer a very solid two-way fullback for either side. I'd certainly lean toward Saad Abdul-Salaam - but Bob Bradley has already signed a right back. That means I'd quite happily grab Seth Sinovic to team up with Edwards on the left.

ROUND 3

Bradley has already said he doesn't want to marry to one tactical look, so he'll need some versatile cogs here. The first one I'll suggest seems like a kind gift. Seattle's Harry Shipp is young enough to have legs, old enough to know a few things, affordable, can play anywhere along playmaking midfield and just showed that he can produce in a playoff pinch. Besides, it seems like this guy deserves a proper chance to start again somewhere, at least on a platoon basis. Grab some sunscreen, Harrison.

ROUND 4

Goalies don't seem to get chosen in the Expansion Draft so often, and I'm really not sure why that is. D.C. United might strangle me for it, but I'd be inclined to snag Steve Clark, who is dependable enough to start and oddly cheap for his caliber ($72K guaranteed in 2017).

ROUND 5

It's the last round, so let's get crazy and choose a winger with the ability to scare defenders. If they think they can work out a transfer deal, go ahead and take Yamil Asad to extraordinarily piss off those manic fans down in the ATL. Short of confidence to close that deal, I'd probably turn to Crew youngster Niko Hansen (or Colorado's Josh Gatt if the mood hit to gamble on speed).








- Greg Seltzer

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