The Nashville-Miami expansion draft

Photo courtesy Philadelphia Union

Everyone who follows the Philadelphia Union is focused on the end of the regular season and hopes they make a deep playoff run.

While those topics are likely uppermost in the minds of the club’s front office as well, they also will have been thinking about the upcoming expansion draft, just announced for November 19, which will helo Nashville SC and Inter Miami put together their first-year roster.

Below, I speculate about whom the Union might protect or expose, listing the players, my choices, their salaries and ages, and my reason(s) in the following charts – Senior Roster, Supplemental Roster, and Reserve Roster.

Not all the rules for the Nashville-Miami draft have been released. In the past homegrown players have been protected above and beyond the club’s protected list, so we assume the practice will continue. Also, a club may lose only one payer. And those who lost players last time — LAFC — are exempt from this year’s draft.

Senior Roster

The Senior Roster is the Salary Cap Roster. Salaries as of June 1, 2019.
Marco Fabian--2,000,72730Not fast enough, ineffective defensively
Alejandro Bedoya11,200,00032
Sergio Santos2600,00025
Haris Medunjanin3550,00834No one else distributes from deep as he does
Jamiro Monteiro4516,00025
Andre Blake5500,00028
Kai Wagner7318,00022
Jack Elliott8250,00024
Kacper Przybylko9240,00026
Ray Gaddis--190,00029known ceiling
Aurelien Collin--175,00033slow, ceiling declining
Warren Creavalle--162,00029ceiling known
Fafa Picault10160,00028known ceiling, defensive asset, pace
Joe Bendik--144,00030known ceiling
Fabinho--120,00034going into coaching
Olivier Mbaizo--70,87522Poor adaptability
Andrew Wooten11???,???29Needs time

Supplemental Roster

The Supplemental Roster does not count against the salary cap. In past expansion drafts Home Grown Players (HG) have been protected above and beyond a club's normal protected list. Salaries are as of June 1, 2019.
Auston TrustyHG95,00021
Matt FreeseHG70,00021
Brenden AaronsonHG67,50018
R. J. Allen--??,???29in 2019 not previously in MLS. Had been from 2015 thru 2018.

Reserve Roster

The Reserve Roster does not count against the salary cap. In past expansion drafts Home Grown Players (HG) have been protected above and beyond a club's normal protected list. Salaries are as of June 1, 2019.
Mark McKenzieHG72,22520
Anthony FontanaHG70,00019
Matt RealHG57,22520
Michee Ngalina1256,25019Inexpensive potential, would be a bargain
Odds and Ends

If Cory Burke does not have a P1 visa by November 19th, why would either Miami or Nashville risk drafting him? If his situation were resolved beforehand, then decisions would have to be made. At the recent town hall held at the stadium Tanner was emphatic that he wanted Burke back.

The new playoff format making each round single elimination means there is roughly an extra month in between the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Derrick Jones and Bolu Akinyode were a forceful central midfield combination back in 2016 in Bethlehem Steel FC’s first year.  They are currently reunited in Nashville.

The addition of Nashville and Miami should expand each conference by one team, assuming division into two continues. Nashville would more logically fit into the west, even though it is east of the Mississippi.  And the season would likely expand from 34 games to 36, probably with the same number of weeks.


  1. I think you pretty much nailed it.

    • John O'Donnell Jr says:

      They’ve already stated that they probably move the start of the season into mid February with more warm city teams added, so two more weeks added. Also they need the time next year as eight teams will play in Leagues Cup from the teams that don’t qualify for CCL. So next year your Philadelphia Union will probably be one of the teams playing in Leagues Cup.

  2. I thought I read that they upped the number of protected players to 12. Also, Monteiro is only worth protecting if they think they can buy him.

    • And Tim protected 12. You probably missed Michee Ngalina on the Reserve Roster list.
      I agree about Monteiro, to a point. They also have to take into consideration whether Miami could afford the purchase price – and if they’d be willing to do so.

  3. Agree overwhelmingly with this list — and glad somebody has been thinking about this. I think the only questions are Santos and, obviously, Ngalina. Both depend on the Union’s assessment of their potential. I honestly don’t know Ngalina well enough to form an opinion. I would lean toward protecting Santos to give him one more season to see if he can shine. Sometimes these strikers come out of nowhere.

    If either of those two is deemed to have not sufficient potential, the next considerations for protection would be Gaddis or Creavalle. Neither should be starting next year, but both might be very useful reserves. I would be inclined to protect Gaddis, in case we have a new RB who doesn’t work out, but I could see the argument for Creavalle too.

    I did not realize just how many of our players were Homegrowns. We should head into next season with an intact roster (provided we can manage to re-sign Monteiro). In fact, looking at this list, I would predict that we would lose nobody in the draft.

  4. stated this in a previous article about speculation that Derrick Jones deal had an agreement not to poach other players.

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    There was a town hall in the stadium club with Tanner and McDermott a few weeks ago now.
    Tanner did not sound optimistic about signing Monteiro. He indicated the player’s expectations were high.

  6. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I would hate to lose Mbaizo but it also shows our depth. We have at least 18 guys that we would hate to lose. In other words, nearly a complete roster. Just need a proven #10, maybe that will be Aaronson. And an offensive RB, maybe Mbaizo.

  7. My first thought was “Why protect players that far over 30?” But then looking at the list I’d much rather lose one of those not protected under 30’s who aren’t Home Grown then the older guys.

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