Tsubasa Endoh photo courtesy Toronto FC
There’s obviously some overlap here with both the FB/WB and the general midfield categories, so keep that in mind: you may not consider this comprehensive unless taken in conjunction with those other posts.
It’s worth noting that these positions are going to carry a bit different calculus than those we’ve seen so far: the nature of the position(s) is that higher expense – or less proven ability – is going to be all you find unprotected in the Expansion Draft. Keep that in mind.
That’s a yes for me, dawg
1. Luis Argudo, Columbus Crew
Reserve-minimum eligibility for two more seasons is a nice piece here. He wasn’t hyper-productive in his time, but got a pretty good run (nearly 1200 minutes), and his youth could see him come good in short order.
2. Josh Perez, LAFC
A 21-year old close enough to the senior minimum salary to be bought down with GAM, Perez got about 500 minutes in the loaded LAFC attack last year, and like his teammate Adrien, worth giving him the opportunity to blossom.
3. Uriel Antuna, LA Galaxy
This is probably the most-proven player on this list (at least in recent production), and the price backs that up for the 22-year old: he made $420k from the Galaxy last year.
4. Tsubasa Endoh, Toronto FC
I advocated for NSC to go after Endoh last offseason, but instead he went and earned an MLS contract from TFC. In about 900 minutes, he was reasonably productive. This one’s more about being in a good age range (turning 27 during the Summer) and on a senior minimum contract. He is lower because he takes an international spot, though.
5. Adrien Perez, LAFC
Like many of these are going to be, this is a pretty speculative one. A guy with one more year of reserve minimum eligibility could be worth a swing, especially since there’s a pretty good chance that getting out from behind the LAFC depth chart sees him blossom.
6. Eduardo Sosa, Columbus Crew
Just 23, and was fairly productive in limited time for the Crew (largely in place of starter Federico Higuaín, who was lost during the year). Makes $100k, which isn’t a ton for this position group.
7. Harry Shipp, Seattle Sounders FC
Shipp does not come cheap – $235k – but got 1500 minutes for the MLS champs. He was off-and-on with his production during those minutes, but there’s only so much value available in this group.
8. Dion Pereira, Atlanta United
Reserve minimum for a few more seasons is a nice thing, and he’s a rare ATL UTD player who’s both young and cheap while actually getting onto the field. That’s worth taking a swing.
Good with questions
Favio Alvarez, LA Galaxy
Barely under DP price, but reasonably productive for a CAM. 1300 minutes in a strong Galaxy attack (just don’t ask about the defense) last season, and at 26, entering his prime.
Dairon Asprilla, Portland Timbers
Primary question is lack of overall minutes – just over 600 – while making a pretty good penny at $200k. He’s in his prime at 27, though, and his productivity numbers were pretty good.
Tomas Conechny, Portland Timbers
Close to $400k in compensation, and only got 410 minutes last year. However, he was fairly productive (.576 xG+xA per 96) in his time, and at just 21, there’s either long-term value (or sell-on value) if he comes good.
Emil Cuello, LA Galaxy
Just 233 minutes, but senior-minimum players are rare at this position group. He was also pretty good when he got onto the field, with .352 xG+xA per 96 minutes played.
Carlos Fierro, San Jose Earthquakes
The price tag is the question here. He’s a DP guy whose production numbers were good-not-great. At just 25, and with Mexico YNT experience, there’s future sell-on value.
Ethan Finlay, Minnesota United
On a $400k wage bill at age 29, but played over 2000 minutes. He wasn’t hyper-productive in that time, but clearly he can get out and play (and Minnesota United was solid this year).
Andres Flores, Portland Timbers
Flores is on senior-minimum wages, and while he played under 900 minutes last year, he was reasonably productive in that time. He’s 29, but if you can get two or three years of similar production out of him, that’s fine.
Emmanuel Ledesma, FC Cincinnati
The Only Good FCC Player is 31 and on $250k… but there’s a decent chance he could put up impressive numbers playing in a competent system. Heck, his numbers weren’t half-bad for the position even in Cincinnati (where soccer goes to die – but is watched by like 25,000 people at a time!).
Kekuta Manneh, FC Cincinnati
I just called Ledesma “the only good FCC player,” but Manneh has some potential. He’s on a huge wage bill for a guy who didn’t perform, $375k, but he produced before getting to Cincinnati, and will probably produce again as soon as he leaves.
Cristian Martinez, Chicago Fire
Just 22, he’s close enough to the senior minimum ($80k) to be bought down and slot into the supplemental roster. He only got 71 minutes all year, but they were 71 good minutes, and giving him a longer run (in a less-dysfunctional team) could pay dividends.
Youness Mokhtar, Columbus Crew
At $460k for a 28-year old winger, he may not seem worth the price – and that is certainly a fair take for a guy who only played 472 minutes. However, he did put up pretty good expected goals numbers in what was largely a poor Crew offense, and that comes back to talent.
Amando Moreno, Chicago Fire
This position group is sparse enough that we’re calling 100-minute guys “good, with questions.” However, he was incredibly productive in his time on the pitch – sample size issues apply, of course – and is on a senior minimum.
Alex Roldan, Seattle Sounders FC
A reserve-minimum salaried player who still managed 487 minutes is a pretty good piece to build with. The younger brother of a USMNT player (whether or not you feel Christian is super-deserving of that title) also has a bit of name buzz.
Nicolas Benezet Toronto FC
28-year old on DP money ($600k) is not a value pick. Maybe if he’d been productive.
Corben Bone, FC Cincinnati
Senior minimum, but couldn’t get onto the field for a team that was historically bad.
Gary Mackay-Steven New York City FC
29 years old, barely played last year.
Jesus Medina New York City FC
A DP that got under 10 games of action. Was productive when he played, but not a ton of unrealized value here.
Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake
A DP price tag is just so unlikely for an Expansion Draft pick. Especially for a 27-year old who didn’t play much.
Robinho, Orlando City SC
Big wage bill, did not see field.
Kelyn Rowe, Real Salt Lake
A former fringe MNTer, Rowe’s star has fallen. He’s still making $261k at 27, despite getting fewer than 1000 minutes last year.
Jeisson Vargas, Montreal Impact
$225k, didn’t play in MLS this year (he was loaned to a team in his native Chile). Hard time seeing value here.
Not enough data
Daniel Bedoya, New York City FC
Nazmi Albadawi ,FC Cincinnati
Jon Gallagher, Atlanta United
Amar Sejdic, Montreal Impact – two more years at reserve minimum age
Michee Ngalina, Philadelphia Union – four-plus more years reserve-minimum eligible
Marlon Hairston, Minnesota United
Omar Browne, Montreal Impact
Marco Fabian, Philadelphia Union
30-year old DP.
Nicolas Gaitan, Chicago Fire
31-year old DP.
Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew
35-year old DP who suffered a likely career-ending injury this season.
Sacha Kljestan, Orlando City SC
This make me said because I love Kljestan. But 32-year old DP.
Roland Lamah, FC Cincinnati
31-year old DP. From worst team ever. Had one goal and three assists despite making $750k.
Chris Pontius, LA Galaxy
32-year old who wasn’t productive enough to say “well, usually guys that age are losing a step, but this one…”
Victor Rodriguez, Seattle Sounders FC
30-year old DP.
Rodolfo Zelaya, LAFC
Unproductive 31-year old. In a vacuum, would be more a “meh” than in the “undraftable” category, but he’s like 10th in the pecking order from LAFC, and each team can lose a maximum of one guy.