Protecting key midfielders from draft Crew's priority

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Preserving key components of the midfield was important for the Crew as the club on Monday released its protected list for Wednesday’s expansion draft.

Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers and Danny O'Rourke will not be available to Portland or Vancouver, but midfielders Kevin Burns and Adam Moffat were left exposed.

Also, defensive midfielder Brian Carroll was traded to Philadelphia on Monday for a conditional pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and allocation funds. Columbus made the deal after originally planning to leave Carroll unprotected only to hear that he would be chosen Wednesday.

“It wasn’t an easy choice,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “The guys we protected, you see who they are – they’re in the midfield. Brian is also a high salary. He has two years left plus an option the third year. We didn’t think anybody would take him because of that.”

READ: MLS releases unprotected list for Expansion Draft

[inline_node:306692]In addition to the four forwards, the Crew protected 'keeper William Hesmer (right), defenders Andy Iro, Chad Marshall and Shaun Francis, and forwards Steven Lenhart, Emilio Renteria and Andrés Mendoza.

Also, Generation adidas forward Dilly Duka was automatically protected.

“We had to protect three international players [Rentería, Ekpo and Mendoza] and we had to protect the core – Gaven, Rogers, Ekpo, Steven Lenhart – and the forwards,” Warzycha said.

Six players that the Crew announced last week would not have their options renewed – Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk, Duncan Oughton, Gino Padula, Jason Garey and Leandre Griffit – were joined on the unprotected list by Eric Brunner, Andy Gruenebaum, Joshua Williams, Burns and Moffat.

Warzycha said he did not think the Crew would trade for anymore draft picks, but that the recent moves plus the allocation money from Philadelphia will give the team some bargaining power as they go about replenishing the roster.

He will intensify the search beginning Thursday, when he heads to Argentina for a 10-day scouting trip.

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