Nov 30, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; The Seattle Sounders FC celebrate after Brad Evans (3) scored a goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half during the Western Conference Championship at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The MLS Expansion Draft with New York City FC on December 10 is coming up fast for Orlando City, who will use this as a way to fill out most of their roster for the 2015 season.
To get Orlando fans as ready as possible for the draft, we’ll be counting down to the Expansion Draft with team-by-team previews of all 18 MLS club, featuring writers and bloggers from around the web.
The first feature of the day will look at the Seattle Sounders, who are coming off of a historic season in which they walked away with both the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield, but failed to complete the trifecta after losing to the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Finals. With us today is Sounders Nation Editor Tyler Anderson.
Unlike previous Expansion Drafts, Homegrown and Generation Adidas players on the senior roster must be protected. Who would those players be, and which would be automatically exempt?
I thought the rule just means they are off limits, not that the Sounders have to specifically protect them from selection or have them count against the list. And either way, I really don’t think that rule would impact the Sounders list, as the only players who would potentially qualify are DeAndre Yedlin (who’s off to Spurs in the near future), Aaron Kovar, Damion Lowe, Sean Okoli, and Victor Mansaray. I don’t really see any of those names being selected anyway, as they’re all a little too young to be expansion team starters.
With those guys counting against the protected list, who would be the 11 players you protect?
The list of 11 for me would probably be similar to most supporters list:
1.) Clint Dempsey, 2.) Obafemi Martins, 3.) Osvaldo Alonso, 4.) Chad Marshall, 5.) Marco Pappa, 6.) Lamar Neagle, 7.) Brad Evans, 8.) Andy Rose, 9.) Stefan Frei, 10.) Gonzalo Pineda, 11.) Leo Gonzalez
Essentially the Sounders core, minus Yedlin. I can’t see anyone of that list not being protected after all of them made significant contributions to this season’s squad.
With Orlando City’s current needs — target striker, left winger, defensive midfielder, and veteran center back — which Sounders player, if any, that you think will be exposed could fill one of those needs?
Micheal Azira could be selected as a veteran defensive midfielder. At 27 he has a good career still ahead of him in MLS, and is very sound defensively. However If Orlando is looking to go for youth, Dylan Remick could be selected as well. At 23 years old the left back has a lot of upside and can play central defense as well as fullback. He appeared in 13 games for Seattle this season, so he could be a solid choice by Orlando.
Thoughts on the Seattle roster
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The Sounders won a pair of trophies this season, so obviously they’ll have some talent to offer in the Expansion Draft because they can’t protect everybody.
Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper are a pair of forwards likely to be exposed by Seattle. They’ve been around the league — like, ‘played for every club in MLS’ around the league — and could end up with yet another home in Orlando.
Both Michael Azira and Dylan Remick come off as good fits in Orlando, too. Azira, the defensive midfielder, could slot in next to Darwin Ceren, and the young Remick might not have the back line experience that Adrian Heath is looking for but is a solid defender with a future in this league.