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Locked Up: NYCFC announce players to be protected in Expansion Draft

The decisions are of little surprise

MLS: New York City FC at D.C. United Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time again where because Don Garber and MLS believe in expanding the league every other year, teams must protect 11 players from being selected while leaving the rest of their roster exposed to plucking from a newly added team — this year, its USL darlings FC Cincinnati.

In past years — especially going into 2018 — the Expansion Draft has been a nerve racking experience for New York City FC. But with so many players out of contract and already out the door (such as David Villa and Yangel Herrera), this year seems to be a bit less stressful compared to last year.

Earlier today, NYCFC released their list of protected players going into the MLS Expansion Draft on December 12. It is as follows:

  1. Alexander Callens
  2. Valentin Castellanos
  3. Maxime Chanot
  4. Sean Johnson
  5. Ronald Matarrita
  6. Jesus Medina
  7. Maxi Moralez
  8. Alex Ring
  9. Ben Sweat
  10. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
  11. Anton Tinnerholm

Additionally, Generation Adidas player Jonathan Lewis, as well as Homegrown Players James Sands and Joe Scally are automatically spared from the draft and do not need explicit protection.

With NYCFC’s protected list solidified, who’s unprotected? Well, everyone else pretty much.

  1. Saad Abdul-Salaam
  2. Eloi Amagat
  3. Kwame Awuah
  4. Daniel Bedoya
  5. Jo Inge Berget
  6. Jeff Caldwell
  7. Yangel Herrera
  8. Cedric Hountondji
  9. Sebastien Ibeagha
  10. Tommy McNamara
  11. Ebenezer Ofori
  12. Andre Rawls
  13. Brad Stuver
  14. David Villa
  15. Rodney Wallace

As already stated, Villa is going to Japan and Herrera is already back in England awaiting his next assignment from Manchester City. Therefore, their names don’t really count for much. Also worth mentioning is that a majority of the players on the unprotected list are among those that recently had their contract options declined by NYCFC and are unlikely to return to the Bronx Blues in 2019 regardless.

Unprotected players with active contracts include Cedric Hountondji, Sebastien Ibeagha, Brad Stuver, Jeff Caldwell, Daniel Bedoya, and Jo Inge Berget. Saad Abdul-Salaam is technically out of contract, but was confirmed by the club to be in talks about returning next season. Of these names, the only ones that I’d be somewhat concerned over are Ibeagha and Abdul-Salaam. I wish I could say Berget, but he has yet to prove he is worth that monster contract he currently has.

Overall, I doubt fans will have any issue with either the protected or unprotected lists that NYCFC have provided this year.

What are your thoughts on NYCFC’s decisions? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!