MLS / Union

Expansion draft targets for the Union

A former 18-goal scorer, a U.S. national team starter and the MLS Cup’s game winner are among the unprotected players available to Philadelphia Union in Wednesday’s expansion draft.  Here’s a list of the most notable, followed by my predicted picks.

Chivas USA: striker Eduardo Lillingston, who led Chivas with eight goals before getting stapled to the bench; injury-plagued center back Jim Curtin, who’s on record wanting to play in Philly.

Chicago:  Brian McBride, Chris Rolfe, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco are all unprotected, but none are likely to be claimed. McBride would retire first. Blanco is Mexico-bound (for now), and Rolfe has signed with a Danish team. Gonzalo Segares missed most of the season with an injury and is eying Europe, but he could be worth a gamble.

Colorado: Moroccan midfielder Medhi Ballouchy, and 23-year-old midfielder Jacob Peterson.

Columbus: Former Hermann Trophy winner Jason Garey, World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk, forward Alejandro Moreno, 6-5 defender Andy Iro, starting defender Gino Padula.

Dallas: Dave van den Bergh, who assisted on so many Jeff Cunningham goals this year, 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder Andre Rocha, rookie defender George John, 24-year-old midfielder Atiba Harris (whose biggest claim to fame so far may be that his cousin is Micah Richards).

D.C. United: veteran midfielder Christian Gomez, rookie midfielder Andrew Jacobson, goalkeeper Josh Wicks.

Houston: U.S. international midfielder Ricardo Clark, who’s been linked to Serie A for months, 25-year-old left back Mike Chabala, striker Luis Landin, 41-year-old goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

Kansas City: defender Aaron Hohlbein, Argentine midfielder Santiago Hirsig, rookie starting center back Matt Besler, goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, and midfielder Herculez Gomez.

Los Angeles: strikers Alan Gordon and Alecko Eskandarian, veterans Eddie Lewis and Chris Klein, starting fullback Todd Dunivant, goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

New England: left winger Wells Thompson, left back Chris Tierney, and defensive midfielder Pat Phelan.

New York: midfielder Jorge Rojas, defender Mike Petke, goalkeeper Danny Cepero.

Real Salt Lake: Andy Williams, Ned Grabavoy, and Robbie Russell, who struck the winning penalty kick in Sunday’s MLS Cup.

San Jose: Philly-area native and former EPLer Bobby Convey, 23-year-old midfielder Shea Salinas.

Seattle: defender James Riley, midfielder Sebastien Le Toux

Toronto: Welsh international Carl Robinson.

What stands out?

Several starting fullbacks in this crop: James Riley of Seattle, Todd Dunivant of Los Angeles, Mike Chabala of Houston, Gino Padula and Frankie Hejduk of Columbus. Look for Riley to go in the expansion draft for a third straight year. (Poor guy. No love for him.)

Kansas City has several attractive targets (surprising for such a bad team), but you can only take one. Do you take a young defender like Besler or Hohlbein or take a shot on Gomez returning to the form that saw him score 18 goals for Los Angeles four years ago? What about goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who holds several MLS goalkeeping records?

Few goal scorers available. Gomez, Chivas striker Eduardo Lillingston and Alan Gordon are the best options. When Alan Gordon is one of your best options, the pickings are slim.

San Jose midfielder Shea Salinas may have more upside, but Convey is a hometown guy with name recognition. Convey’s high contract can be renegotiated. Look for him to be the first name called. It smacks of marketing, but if Convey can return to his pre-injury Reading form, it’s smart marketing.

Robbie Rogers is protected, but Ricardo Clark isn’t. Clark is likely headed for Europe. Rogers could still find his way to Philly as a free agent (as could New England’s Jeff Larentowicz).

My predictions?

Bobby Convey – San Jose

James Riley – Seattle

Eduardo Lillingston – Chivas

Herculez Gomez – Kansas City

Dave van den Bergh – Dallas

Jason Garey – Columbus

Josh Saunders – Los Angeles

Carl Robinson – Toronto

Mehdi Ballouchy – Colorado

Ricardo Clark– Houston. (Or Segares. Or Wells Thompson of New England. Yeah, this is a cheat. If the Union pass on Convey, look for Thompson. If they take Convey, it’s worth grabbing the rights for Clark or Segares.)

That’s six midfielders, two forwards, one defender and one goalie (counting Clark). Not balanced, but you go for the best players you can in a draft like this, regardless of position.

What do you think? Who do you think will get picked? Comment below.

Posted via web from The Philly Soccer Page

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