The Expansion Draft is set for Tuesday afternoon, with Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC having the opportunity to add five players to their rosters for the 2017 season. You can read more about the Expansion Draft here.
On Monday, the list of players who teams protected and unprotected were released and plenty of interesting names are available for the two clubs. Atlanta currently have 14 players on their roster, including many big-time attacking players, while Minnesota have just three defenders so far.
Both of these teams will have to weigh many factors when decided who to select, including age, value, international status, position, potential and MLS experience. Here are some players they should consider based on those factors.
For the sake of continuity, all of these players are currently under contract with an MLS team.
The New York Red Bulls right back has been steady over the past three seasons, appearing in at least 15 games in each season. His 1v1 defensive ability could make him attractive for either club, but considering he is a Georgia native, Atlanta could have a closer eye on him.
Part of this draft is collecting assets and considering Fisher's pedigree as a 2016 first-round pick, his budget number and his ability to play at right back or center back, Fisher is one. He's calm on the ball and helped lead Clemson to the National Championship game in 2015. Only two players picked ahead of him last year (Jordan McCrary, Hadji Barry) were left unprotected, with McCrary seeing his option declined after the season by the New England Revolution.
A frequent contributor for the LA Galaxy over the past three seasons, Husidic is a slick passer in the midfield who could play centrally or out wide. He has racked up nine goals and 11 assists since 2014 and showed some defensive grit down the stretch for LA this season.
The biggest name on this list just finished up a season in which he was the starting goalkeeper for an Eastern Conference Champion. He struggled down the stretch after suffering a quad injury but his body of work should make him more than attractive to Minnesota.
Mallace is coming off a disappointing season with the Montreal Impact, having played less than 1,000 minutes for Mauro Biello's team. In 2015 he showed off some exceptional passing skills, especially on long balls, and has the ability to be a piece in the defensive midfield.
The 26-year-old center back came onto the scene in 2013, when he started two games for the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Since then he moved onto D.C. United and has generally been used as their first center back off the bench. In his 27 starts since 2015, he has shown he has the potential to be a regular starter in MLS.
The former Chicago Fire midfielder is probably not an option for Atlanta, who have Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba and Andrew Carleton on the roster, but he could be a piece to build on for Minnesota. He struggled a bit this season with Montreal, registering just 2 goals and 3 assists in 27 games, but he has shown to be a consistent chance creator in the past.
The MLS veteran can be a piece along the backline for either club, with the 33-year-old's versatility being an important asset. He has played at least 1,500 minutes in each of the last three seasons.
One of the starting center backs on one of the best defenses in MLS history, seeing Watts left unprotected by the Colorado Rapids was a bit of a surprise. His technical ability along the backline should be attractive for both teams.
Williams isn't the most spectacular player, but he has clearly shown the ability to be a starting right back in MLS. The 26-year-old has started at least 23 games in each of the last six seasons.