Lee Nguyen - LAFC - Close up

The 2019 Expansion Draft is less than a week away, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to select five players each on Tuesday (5:30 pm ET; live on MLSsoccer.com). The pool of players they will be selecting from is set to be announced on Saturday, but we don't have to wait that long to predict who those players are likely to be.


There are a lot of rules to the process of protecting players, which you can read about here, but basically teams can protect up to 12 players from possible selection and Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the season and Homegrown Players (ages 25 and under – born in or after 1994) on a club’s roster at the end of the season are automatically protected. Checking out the roster pages of every club from the end of the season could also offer some hints on why some players are automatically protected or not.


What makes this exercise even more difficult than usual is that the vast majority of clubs have not yet announced their decisions on which players' 2020 options they will be exercising or declining. That information would go a long way towards knowing which players clubs value.


On-field play, while obviously important, is not the only reason to protect or not protect a player. Age, contract length and salary are all factors that will likely play into these decisions. Remember that Miami and Nashville will also not just be picking for themselves, but other teams across the league could also ask the two teams to make picks for them and execute a trade.


You will notice that there are five teams who are not listed below: D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are exempt from this draft after having players selected in last year's Expansion Draft.


Atlanta United


It was a tough call, but Hector Villalba and Eric Remedi seem to be on the outs and Dion Pereira is a younger, cheaper option for the Five Stripes. Brandon Vazquez is another intriguing option.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Ezequiel Barco
Mo Adams
Mikey Ambrose
Franco Escobar
George Bello
Jon Gallagher
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez
George Campbell
Alec Kann
Julian Gressel
Andrew Carleton
Kevin Kratz
Brad Guzan
Chris Goslin
Brandon Moore
Emerson Hyndman
Lagos Kunga
Luiz Nascimento
Jeff Larentowicz
Miles Robinson
Eric Remedi
Pity Martinez
Brek Shea
Josef Martinez
Brandon Vazquez
Justin Meram
Hector Villalba
Dion Pereira
Florentin Pogba

Chicago Fire


Despite trading $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money for him last year, it wouldn't be surprising if the Fire left Raheem Edwards unprotected. With Chicago making trades with both Expansion teams, I would expect no Fire player to be selected.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Micheal Azira
Jeremiah Gutjahr
Elliot Collier
Jonathan Bornstein
Djordje Mihailovic
Raheem Edwards
Brandt Bronico
Andre Reynolds
Marcelo
Francisco Calvo
Gabriel Slonina
Cristian Martinez
Diego Campos
Amando Moreno
Stefan Cleveland
David Ousted
Przyemyslaw Frankowski
Richard Sanchez
Nicolas Gaitan
Fabian Herbers
Johan Kappelhof
Aleksandar Katai
CJ Sapong

FC Cincinnati


Gerard Nijkamp would love if someone took Fanendo Adi.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Leonardo Bertone
Frankie Amaya
Fanendo Adi
Allan Cruz
Andrew Gutman
Fatai Alashe
Mathieu Deplagne
Nazmi Albadawi
Greg Garza
Logan Gdula
Joseph-Claude Gyau
Jimmy Hague
Nick Hagglund
Justin Hoyte
Emmanuel Ledesma
Roland Lamah
Tommy McCabe
Forrest Lasso
Spencer Richey
Ben Lundt
Przemyslaw Tyton
Kekuta Manneh
Maikel van der Werff
Darren Mattocks
Kendall Waston
Jimmy McLaughlin
Hassan Ndam
Alvas Powell
Caleb Stanko

Colorado Rapids


Not many tough decisions for the Rapids.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Kellyn Acosta
Sebastian Anderson
Johan Blomberg
Clint Irwin
Cole Bassett
Kofi Opare
Niki Jackson
Kortne Ford
Andre Rawls
Kei Kamara
Matt Hundley
Abdul Rwatubyaye
Nicolas Mezquida
Jonathan Lewis
Axel Sjoberg
Sam Nicholson
Dillon Serna
Deklan Wynne
Jack Price
Sam Vines
Keegan Rosenberry
Diego Rubio
Andre Shinyashiki
Tommy Smith
Danny Wilson

Columbus Crew SC


The Crew have some tough decisions to make as players like Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez and Josh Williams could all be valuable to other teams.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Lalas Abubakar
Alex Crognale
Luis Argudo
Harrison Afful
Aboubacar Keita
Ricardo Clark
Artur
Edward Opoku
Waylon Francis
Luis Diaz
JJ Williams
David Guzman
Jonathan Mensah
Jordan Hamilton
Youness Mokhtar
Federico Higuain
Darlington Nagbe
Hector Jimenez
Eloy Room
Jon Kempin
Pedro Santos
Ben Lundgaard
Wil Trapp
Connor Maloney
Milton Valenzuela
Eduardo Sosa
Gyasi Zardes
Josh Williams
Romario Williams

LAFC


Two starters (plus Lee Nguyen!) from the best regular-season team in MLS history could be available.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Eduard Atuesta
Lamar Batista
Tristan Blackmon
Steven Beitashour
Latif Blessing
Mohamed El-Munir
Adama Diomande
Phillip Ejimadu
Mark-Anthony Kaye
Alejandro Guido
Tyler Miller
Jordan Harvey
Diego Palacios
Dejan Jakovic
Brian Rodriguez
Lee Nguyen
Diego Rossi
Adrien Perez
Eddie Segura
Javi Perez
Carlos Vela
Josh Perez
Walker Zimmerman
Danilo Silva
Pablo Sisniega
Peter-Lee Vassell
Rodolfo Zelaya

LA Galaxy


Some interesting depth central-midfield pieces here, and Julian Araujo could take over the starting right back role if Rolf Feltscher is picked.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Romain Alessandrini
Efrain Alvarez
Favio Alvarez
Uriel Antuna
Hugo Arellano
Servando Carrasco
Julian Araujo
Bradford Jamieson IV
Emil Cuello
David Bingham
Diedie Traore
Rolf Feltscher
Joe Corona
Ethan Zubak
Tomas Hilliard-Arce
Jonathan dos Santos
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Giancarlo Gonzalez
Juninho
Sebastian Lletget
Perry Kitchen
Cristian Pavon
Matt Lampson
Diego Polenta
Joao Pedro
Daniel Steres
Jorgen Skjelvik
Diedie Traore
Justin Vom Steeg

Minnesota United FC


Kevin Molino or Angelo Rodriguez is the tough pick here.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Osvaldo Alonso
Abu Danladi
Miguel Ibarra
Michael Boxall
Collin Martin
Romario Ibarra
Thomas Chacon
Dayne St. Clair
Brent Kallman
Hassani Dotson
Mason Toye
Carter Manley
Ethan Finlay
Wilfried Moimbe-Tahrat
Chase Gasper
Kevin Molino
Jan Gregus
Ally Ng'Anzi
Robin Lod
Lawrence Olum
Vito Mannone
Wyatt Omsberg
Romain Metanire
Rasmus Schuller
Ike Opara
Bobby Shuttleworth
Angelo Rodriguez

Montreal Impact


It's anyone's guess who Olivier Renard and Thierry Henry value at this point.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Zachary Brault-Guillard
Clement Bayiha
Victor Cabrera
Evan Bush
Jason Beaulieu
Rudy Camacho
Bojan Krkic
Mathieu Choiniere
Jorge Corrales
Lassi Lappalainen
Daniel Kinumbe
Clement Diop
Daniel Lovitz
Thomas Meilleur-Giguere
Rod Fanni
Orji Okwonkwo
James Pantemis
Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Ignacio Piatti
Shamit Shome
Ken Krolicki
Samuel Piette
Karifa Yao
Amar Sejdic
Jukka Raitala
Ballou Tabla
Bacary Sagna
Saphir Taider
Maxi Urruti

New England Revolution


Scott Caldwell and Jalil Anibaba could be good pieces for any team, while the salaries of Michael Mancienne and Wilfried Zahibo are probably prohibitive for any team thinking about selecting them.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Juan Agudelo
Isaac Angking
Juan Fernando Caicedo
Jalil Anibaba
Tajon Buchanan
Scott Caldwell
Gustavo Bou
Diego Fagundez
Edgar Castillo
Teal Bunbury
Nicolas Firmino
Cody Cropper
Brandon Bye
Zachary Herivaux
Brad Knighton
Luis Caicedo
Justin Rennicks
Michael Mancienne
Antonio Delamea
Brian Wright
Andrew Farrell
Wilfried Zahibo
Carles Gil
DeJuan Jones
Cristian Penilla
Matt Turner

New York City FC


Ben Sweat should be the No. 1 pick if he's left unprotected, given his versatility, quality and salary.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Alexander Callens
Justin Haak
Luis Barraza
Valentin Castellanos
James Sands
Daniel Bedoya
Maxime Chanot
Joe Scally
Jeff Caldwell
Heber
Sebastien Ibeagha
Sean Johnson
Gary Mackay-Steven
Ronald Matarrita
Jesus Medina
Alexandru Mitrita
Eric Miller
Maxi Moralez
Abdi Mohamed
Keaton Parks
Ebenezer Ofori
Alexander Ring
Tony Rocha
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
Brad Stuver
Anton Tinnerholm
Ben Sweat
Juan Pablo Torres

Orlando City SC


Orlando are working on finding the core, but for now, there's only a few players that must be protected.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Tesho Akindele
Cam Lindley
Josue Colman
Carlos Ascues
Benji Michel
Alex De John
Dom Dwyer
Joao Moutinho
Adam Grinwis
Cristian Higuita
Mason Stajduhar
Will Johnson
Robin Jansson
Sacha Kljestan
Sebastian Mendez
Shane O'Neill
Kamal Miller
Santiago Patiño
Chris Mueller
Dillon Powers
Nani
Greg Ranjitsingh
Mauricio Pereyra
Robinho
Ruan
Oriol Rosell
Lamine Sane
Brian Rowe
Kyle Smith

Philadelphia Union


Raymon Gaddis or Olivier Mbaizo (who is young and cheap) is the tough call here.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Alejandro Bedoya
Brenden Aaronson
RJ Allen
Andre Blake
Jack de Vries
Joe Bendik
Jack Elliott
Anthony Fontana
Cory Burke
Ilsinho
Matt Freese
Aurelien Collin
Olivier Mbaizo
Mark McKenzie
Warren Creavalle
Haris Medunjanin
Matthew Real
Marco Fabian
Jamiro Monteiro
Auston Trusty
Fabinho
Fafa Picault
Cole Turner
Raymon Gaddis
Kacper Przybylko
Michee Ngalina
Sergio Santos
Kai Wagner
Andrew Wooten

Portland Timbers


There's some intriguing options here, with Jeff Attinella being a potential starting goalkeeper, Andy Polo being a Peruvian international and the two starting-caliber fullbacks.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Sebastian Blanco
Marco Farfan
Dairon Asprilla
Julio Cascante
Foster Langsdorf
Jeff Attinella
Diego Chara
Eryk Williamson
Claude Dielna
Steve Clark
Andres Flores
Tomas Conechny
Aljaz Ivacic
Jeremy Ebobisse
Modou Jadama
Brian Fernandez
Marvin Loria
Larrys Mabiala
Kendall McIntosh
Jorge Moreira
Andy Polo
Cristhian Paredes
Zarek Valentin
Bill Tuiloma
Jorge Villafaña
Diego Valeri
Renzo Zambrano

Real Salt Lake


Joao Plata has been in and out of favor in recent years. He's probably the toughest call on the board for RSL, even if it's unlikely he gets selected.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Kyle Beckerman
Danilo Acosta
<span style="font-size: 11.7px;">Alex Horwarth</span>
Nick Besler
Luis Arriaga
Luke Mulholland
Sam Johnson
Corey Baird
Justin Portillo
Damir Kreilach
Justen Glad
Andrew Putna
Everton Luiz
Aaron Herrera
Kelyn Rowe
Douglas Martinez
Erik Holt
Pablo Ruiz
Nedum Onuoha
Brooks Lennon
Joao Plata
David Ochoa
Albert Rusnak
Sebastian Saucedo
Jefferson Savarino
Tate Schmitt
Marcelo Silva
Julian Vazquez
Donny Toia

San Jose Earthquakes


The Quakes have some tough decisions to make. Carlos Fierro's salary could be a reason to leave him unprotected.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Eric Calvillo
Jacob Akanyirige
Francois Affolter
Harold Cummings
Gilbert Fuentes
Matt Bersano
Magnus Eriksson
Siad Haji
Luis Felipe
Cristian Espinoza
Nick Lima
Carlos Fierro
Marcos Lopez
JT Marcinkowski
Danny Hoesen
Judson
Emmanuel Ochoa
Paul Marie
Florian Jungwirth
Tommy Thompson
Jimmy Ockford
Guram Kashia
Casey Walls
Kevin Partida
Andres Rios
Jackson Yueill
Shea Salinas
Vako
Andrew Tarbell
Daniel Vega
Chris Wondolowski

Seattle Sounders


The Nouhou show could be heading to a new city.

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Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Xavier Arreaga
Handwalla Bwana
Saad Abdul-Salaam
Emmanuel Cecchini
Danny Leyva
Will Bruin
Stefan Frei
Jordan Morris
Jonathan Campbell
Joevin Jones
Trey Muse
Jordy Delem
Kim Kee-hee
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez
Justin Dhillon
Kelvin Leerdam
Bryan Meredith
Nicolas Lodeiro
Alex Roldan
Victor Rodriguez
Harry Shipp
Cristian Roldan
Luis Silva
Raul Ruidiaz
Nouhou Tolo
Brad Smith
Roman Torres
Gustav Svensson

Sporting Kansas City


There's a number of high-priced veterans that could be left unprotected among this group.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Botond Barath
Gianluca Busio
Eric Dick
Matt Besler
Cam Duke
Benny Feilhaber
Roger Espinoza
Tyler Freeman
Andreu Fontas
Gerso Fernandes
Felipe Hernandez
Nicolas Hasler
Felipe Gutierrez
Wan Kuzain
Erik Hurtado
Luis Martins
Jaylin Lindsey
Jimmy Medranda
Tim Melia
Daniel Salloi
Seth Sinovic
Krisztian Nemeth
Gedion Zelalem
Johnny Russell
Adrian Zendejas
Ilie Sanchez
Graham Smith
Graham Zusi

Toronto FC


Ali Curtis has a few decisions to make among his wing options.

Protected (predicted)
Automatically Protected
Unprotected (predicted)
Jozy Altidore
Ayo Akinola
Jon Bakero
Auro
Aidan Daniels
Nicolas Benezet
Michael Bradley
Marky Delgado
Alex Bono
Nick DeLeon
Griffin Dorsey
Laurent Ciman
Erickson Gallardo
Julian Dunn
Tsubasa Endoh
Omar Gonzalez
Liam Fraser
Drew Moor
Richie Laryea
Noble Okello
Ashtone Morgan
Chris Mavinga
Jacob Shaffelburg
Patrick Mullins
Justin Morrow
Caleb Patterson-Sewell
Jonathan Osorio
Ryan Telfer
Alejandro Pozuelo
Eriq Zavaleta
Quentin Westberg

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