Ahead of their 2020 inaugural season, MLS expansion teams Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC continued to build their squads with five selections each in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft held on November 19.
After winning the Expansion Draft Priority coin toss, Inter Miami had the first pick among the 222 unprotected players available to both clubs in the Expansion Draft. Per draft rules, no MLS club lost more than one player in the draft.
Five MLS teams — FC Dallas, D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, NY Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC — were exempt after seeing players taken in the 2018 Expansion Draft by FC Cincinnati.
Inter Miami CF
1. Ben Sweat
Left back — Age: 28 — Drafted from NYCFC
Sweat went from cast-off Columbus draft pick to starting left back for one of the best teams in MLS. He first emerged under Patrick Vieira at NYCFC and he continued to be a reliable option for the No. 1 team in the East in 2019. A left back with strong pace and stamina, Sweat earned his first USMNT call-up last October. He can also play at left center back in a pinch.
2. Alvas Powell
Right back — Age: 25 — Drafted from FC Cincinnati
Inter Miami fill out their other fullback spot with the Jamaican national team right back, who didn't enjoy his best season with expansion side FC Cincinnati in 2019. On his best days, opponents struggle to contain Powell's forays into the attacking third, which remains his standout quality.
3. Lee Nguyen
Midfielder — Age: 33 — Drafted from LAFC
A talented playmaker who made a difference off the bench for the Supporters' Shield winners in 2019. He was an MVP candidate with the New England Revolution and he can still be a difference-maker with his dribbling and vision.
4. Luis Argudo
Midfielder — Age: 23 — Drafted from Columbus Crew
Skillful, versatile midfielder who has shown he can play in several positions in his two seasons with the Columbus Crew after being selected No. 67 overall in the 2018 SuperDraft from Wake Forest.
5. Bryan Meredith
Goalkeeper — Age: 30 — Drafted from Seattle Sounders
Meredith has been a reserve goalkeeper since joining the league in 2011 and was a backup for starter Stefan Frei in the Sounders' MLS Cup championship run in 2019.
1. Abu Danladi
Forward — Age: 24 — Drafted from Minnesota United
A dynamic, exciting forward who in three seasons with Minnesota has shown the flashes of talent that made him the No. 1 pick in the 2017 SuperDraft. Due to injury and competition at the forward spot, he made only 24 starts in three seasons for the Loons (11 goals and 6 assists) and the Ghanaian will be looking forward to a fresh start.
2. Zarek Valentin
Right back / left back — Age: 28 — Drafted from Portland Timbers
A versatile fullback who brings speed, grit and experience to the position. He has played at both left back and right back in four seasons with the Timbers.
Nashville traded Valentin to the Houston Dynamo, along with $75k in 2021 Targeted Allocation Money in exchange for veteran goalkeeper Joe Willis.
3. Jalil Anibaba
Center back / right back — Age: 31 — Drafted from New England Revolution
Veteran and versatile defender who has the pace to keep up with the top forwards in MLS. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Anibaba will play valuable minutes and bring experience to the Nashville locker room.
4. Brandon Vazquez
Forward — Age: 21 — Drafted from Atlanta United
A US youth national teamer with a unique combination of speed, size and power, Vazquez was a reserve forward for Atlanta United who found it tough to break through ahead of star striker Josef Martinez.
Nashville traded Vazquez to FC Cincinnati in exchange for allocation money: $150k in 2020 Targeted Allocation Money and $50k in 2021 General Allocation Money.
5. Jimmy Medranda
Left back / midfielder — Age: 25 — Drafted from Sporting Kansas City
Called a Swiss army knife by Nashville GM Mike Jacobs, the talented Colombian has shown with Sporting Kansas City that he can play left back, left midfielder and central midfield. When injury-free and in top form, he has the speed, skill and power to be a starting-caliber player in MLS.