MONTREAL — The 18 current MLS clubs released their player lists on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft, and as with similar player lists in the past, there were plenty of enticing names that popped up, including a few Designated Players.
The truth is, though, big names have rarely been selected in previous Expansion Drafts. This is due to the many factors taken into account when a new club’s technical staff makes its decisions.
“Age, experience, contract — and that includes the number that they are getting paid and how many years they have left,” head coach Jesse Marsch explained on Tuesday. “There is the foreigners situation. There are Canadians. There are all these different elements that make up each player and each situation and how it fits with us.”
Still, there are some intriguing big names there for the taking. Here's a quick look at the 11 biggest.
Freddy Adu, Philadelphia Union — As big as it gets for a new club looking to make a splash in year one. He could also be valuable trade material.
Branko Boskovic, D.C. United — Just when the Montenegrin No. 10 found his form midway through the season, a torn ACL ended his season. When healthy, he has the chops to be a difference maker, but he comes with a DP tag.
Omar Bravo, Sporting Kansas City — Recently voted Latino del Año by FutbolMLS.com readers, the chances that he’d leave KC are nada.
Brian Ching, Houston Dynamo — He’s won three MLS Cup titles, but injuries and age limited him to just 20 games in 2011. He also scored only five goals, his lowest output since his rookie season in 2001. Regardless, he said on Tuesday he'll retire rather than leave H-town.
Joe Cannon, Vancouver Whitecaps — Montreal have the reigning NASL’s Golden Glove winner Evan Bush signed, but they could use a good No 2. However, Cannon’s not getting No. 2 money right now.
Bobby Convey, San Jose Earthquakes — All the tools are there: experience, speed, skill, competitiveness. But his falling out with the Quakes technical staff might make anyone wary.
Julian de Guzman, Toronto FC — The Canadian DP has not been the star TFC hoped, but he did find his form down the stretch in 2011. Probably too rich for Montreal’s blood for a holding midfielder.
Daniel Hernandez, FC Dallas — The Dallas captain mans the center of the park with a mix of skill, toughness, and composure. But he’s unlikely to leave his beloved Texas.
Justin Mapp, Philadelphia Union — A crafty, left-footed 27-year-old with eight years pro experience sounds like a dream. Reality comes with his expensive contract.
Andres Mendoza, Columbus Crew — The Peruvian striker notched 13 goals in his first MLS season, and comes with the heavy price tag to match.
Andy Williams, Real Salt Lake — A World Cup veteran from Jamaica, Williams has made more than 330 MLS appearances. His experience and ball skills make him desirable. His age (34) does not.