We’ve already talked about who New York City FC should keep protected during Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft; more specifically, from Los Angeles FC. But what about those left exposed? Those wishing to continue their career in the South Bronx will be hoping that their name isn’t called in any of the five rounds.
If you’re Patrick Vieira and company, it’s got to be difficult to leave a player’s fate to chance despite you having been responsible for their development both as a player and a person for an entire season, if not longer. Hell, even writing this article, it isn’t easy to make those choices. But such is life in Major League Soccer, where not everyone can be sheltered from circumstance.
So in preparation of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft, let’s break down some of who will be left out of the protected player safe.
There was a time when Khiry Shelton was being groomed to be a future star for NYCFC. Unfortunately, the former prospect from Oregon State has done little to affirm that belief through his first three seasons with the club. Despite possibly holding some trade value for New York City, he won’t be protected from LAFC.
It sucks that we haven’t seen Andre Rawls cap for the club in any capacity whatsoever since his arrival in 2016. But that is exactly why he will be left out in the open for the expansion draft.
Despite being selected 16th overall by NYCFC in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Kwame Awuah has found himself on the outside looking in more often than not when it comes to the weekly team sheet. Though the Canadian midfielder/defender may still be a part of NYC’s future plans and could still prove to be a difference maker in the future, it would have been difficult for the club to justify protecting him.
Other players being left unprotected include: RJ Allen, Miguel Camargo, Maxime Chanot, Shannon Gomez, Eirik Johansen, Mikey Lopez, Jefferson Mena, Sean Okoli, John Stertzer, Andraz Struna, and Ethan White.
Originally written before the final unprotected list was revealed, these two players were thought to be on the bubble. That being said, they will, in fact, be protected.
While it is hard to envision New York City without Tommy McNamara, it has become apparent that he is not the solution that this team needs right now. As much as I would like to keep the man who was pretty much the team’s first-ever cult hero, T-Mac lacks the leverage to justify draft protection.
It truly hurts me to put Ben Sweat on this list. But you’d be crazy to think that Ronald Matarrita is not still the club’s first-choice left back. Ben had a great 2017 with the Bronx Blues in Mata’s absence, but he is still a backup defender, thus making him expendable.
Also of note: James Sands (Homegrown Player) and Jonathan Lewis (Generation Adidas) are automatically protected.