Atlanta United, Minnesota United FC add five players in MLS Expansion Draft

Atlanta United and Minnesota United took hard-working fullbacks with their first picks in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday as left back Donny Toia and right back Chris Duvall went No. 1.

Both clubs then proceeded to deal their respective top picks as Toia was shipped to Orlando City and Duvall traded to Montreal Impact.

Despite the rumors of Brad Guzan potentially arriving from England, Atlanta proceeded to take two goalkeepers -- Toronto FC starter Clint Irwin and Sporting KC backup Alec Kann -- and two more defenders with the remainder of their selections: experienced, athletic center back Zach Loyd, who started his career at right back and 23-year-old Orlando right back Mikey Ambrose.

In addition to trading Tioa, who went to Orlando in exchange for City’s natural first-round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Atlanta also dealt Irwin back to Toronto. In return, the expansion club acquired defender Mark Bloom and general allocation money.

"We feel the balance we've got here is picks that will give us help for the future and give us flexibility in those final roster spots, as well as some key components for Tata as he builds his team," said Atlanta United president Darren Eales.

Minnesota also claimed a goalkeeper, long-time Real Salt Lake backup Jeff Attinella, who many believe to be ready to be a No. 1 in MLS. They also picked two skillful central midfielders in Houston's Collen Warner and Crew SC's Mohammed Saeid. Their last pick was imposing forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who made an impact coming off the bench in a handful of appearances with the New England Revolution in his rookie season in 2016.

Minnesota traded Duvall to the Impact along with general allocation money in exchange for Costa Rican national team attacker Johan Venegas.

"There was probably one surprise that sort of threw us a little bit through the draft, but on the whole I think that we've got five pieces that if all five stay we'd be really comfortable," said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. "One or two players have shown interest to other clubs as well. So we'll have to sit down and see what we decide to do. If we keep all five, we'd be delighted in what we got. We think they can all contribute.

"We've got a lot of pieces to fit in a short period of time," Heath continued. "We're well down the way on three or four deals. Hopefully in the next few days you'll see one or two more players arriving in Minnesota."

Rnd Atlanta United Minnesota United
1 D - Donny Toia (MTL)  [Traded to ORL] D - Chris Duvall (NY)  [Traded to MTL]
2 D - Zach Loyd (DAL) M - Collen Warner (HOU)
3 GK - Clint Irwin (TOR)  [Traded to TOR] M - Mohammed Saeid (CLB)
4 D - Mikey Ambrose (ORL) GK - Jeff Attinella (RSL)
5 GK - Alec Kann (SKC) F - Femi Hollinger-Janzen (NE)

Expansion Draft Notes:

  • Five rounds. Atlanta and Minnesota are permitted three minutes to make each selection. There will be NO timeouts during the Expansion Draft. Expansion Clubs that fail to make their selection in time must wait until their next pick to make a selection.
  • Maximum Player Loss: Once one player has been claimed from a Club’s non-protected roster, that Club is eliminated from the Expansion Draft and may not lose any further players.
  • No trades are permitted during the Expansion Draft.
  • Full Expansion Draft rules and regulations
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