The Expansion Draft Pre-Func

At long last, the list of players exposed for Seattle to steal from has been finalized. There are some surprises, both of players protected and unprotected. And now the two masterminds in the Sounders front office are going to be putting in some serious analyzation, because in under 48 hours they must make their picks. And while nobody can say for sure what their strategy is, I think I'm pretty well qualified to take a stab at it.


Houston left Nate Jaqua (F, 160k) unprotected. So there's one player. A pleasant surprise was New York casting out Jeff Parke (D, 60k), apparently wanting to distance themselves from his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. But Parke said all the right things, and thanks to NYRB's playoff run, has just 4 games left on his suspension. The positives? New York's best, most solid defender, one who can anchor a backline, at just 60 thousand a year. Yes, please.

Too Much Good Stuff

When a team is as stacked as the champions Columbus (congrats, by the way), they're gonna lose a good player. I'm going to change my mind on this one - yesterday I was sold on Brad Evans, but I'm going to have to go with Eddie Gaven (M, 165k). His only downside is his contract size, and he's good enough (and the rest of these players are inexpensive enough) that picking him makes sense. But if you prefer Evans, Pat Noonan or even Adam Moffat, I wouldn't argue.

The Question Marks

- Is Marco Pappa (M, 35k) able and willing to move to Seattle? He's currently on loan to Chicago, and that might the Guatemalan international from being picked. If not, he's the best bargain in the draft.
-Is Ian Joy (D, 120k) on his way to Europe? If not, he's a left-back starter for sure.

The Only Ones From Their Teams That Are Worth It

Johann Smith (M, 48k) of Toronto and Aaron Pitchkolan (D, 33) from Dallas fall into this category. The latter is a solid defender who can slot in anywhere, probably deserves a chance to start and might just get it. The former, Smith, I really believe is poised to have a breakout season. But if not, he'd at least provide a jolt of speed off the bench.

The International Defenders

Most of you will probably disagree with me right here. But allow me to state my case. I'd absolutely love to take Kosuke Kimura (D, 33k) from Colorado. He (mostly) started at right back for them this year and performed admirably on a team that was in various stages of chaos during the season. He was a player I identified early on this year (along with Ryan Johnson of San Jose), and I'm rather shocked he wasn't protected, as are many Colorado fans. Apparently he counts as an international player, but at age 24 he's still worth it. The other one is Gabriel Badilla (D, 120k) of New England which honestly is a bit of a gamble, but if it pays off he's a center-back starter to pair with Parke. He's been capped for Costa Rica, so he's no slouch.

Last And Possibly Least...

Kansas City exposed their starting keeper, Kevin Hartman, for reasons unbeknownst to me. It seems to make a lot of sense for the Sounders to take him, trade him to LA (his old club) in exchange for money/allocation, as the Galaxy have a gaping hole at the goalkeeper position. But if that doesn't happen, then it's probably a toss-up between 2 DC players. Defensive mid Joe Vide is tempting, but I'd prefer Francis Doe (F, 40k). I love his potential, and even if it doesn't develop this year, 40k for a semi-productive reserve forward is a steal.


So in summary here are my picks. I'd take 2 strikers (Doe, Jaqua), 3 midfielders (Pappa, Smith, Evans), and 5 defenders (Parke, Badilla, Kimura, Pitchkolan, Joy). The only 'hole' at this point is in defensive midfield, and that's because Kenji Treschuk of the USL Sounders will probably get a deserved crack at the starting lineup in that spot. These guys are all capable starters, save Doe, who would come off the bench with Pitchkolan and Smith. On talent and potential alone, it'd be hard to beat this group. But the best part? They make a combined $814,000. And with the salary cap around $2.3 millin, there'd be tons of money left for whatever international players we wanted. Hell, we could trade for another DP slot if we wanted! (Which I do not endorse.)

Of course, there's no way that this is how Wednesday's draft will turn out. But if it does, you Sounders fans should be pretty pleased.


Sidereal said...

Looking good.

Jaqua, Kahno, Jarrod Smith, Vagenas, Evans, King, Parke, Riley, Sturgis, Wahl

Anonymous said...

You did realize that Parke is out of contract and that he's going to do some trials in Europe, right?
And, if, he does stay, he's asking for a significant bump (think a low-to-mid six figure deal).