FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Major League Soccer’s 21st season will come to a close on Saturday night when Toronto FC host Seattle Sounders FC in MLS Cup 2016 (8 p.m. ET, FOX and UniMas).
While the league’s title match signals the end of the current campaign, it simultaneously marks the beginning of a new year, and it won’t take long for MLS to begin looking toward 2017.
Just three days after MLS Cup, on Tuesday, December 13, both Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC will have the opportunity to continue building their inaugural MLS rosters through the Expansion Draft. Both clubs are slated to begin their first-ever MLS campaigns in March.
But before the Expansion Draft goes down on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, there are some important changes that should be noted, and some important details to be kept in mind …
How have the rules changed for this year’s Expansion Draft?
In short, Atlanta and Minnesota won’t be selecting as many players as in years past.
Previous Expansion Drafts allowed new clubs to select 10 players from other MLS sides, and teams could lose up to two players. That was the case for the New England Revolution during the most recent Expansion Draft in 2014, when New York City FC selected both Patrick Mullins and Tony Taylor.
The potential damage to non-expansion sides has been mitigated this year, however, as Atlanta and Minnesota will only be allowed to select five players each, and no more than one from any club. That means 10 existing clubs will have a single player selected, and 10 won’t lose anybody.
The change is simply a response to an evolving league, as expansion teams now have more resources and more avenues through which to acquire new players.
Who can the Revolution protect in the Expansion Draft?
Scott Caldwell and Zach Herivaux are automatically protected because of their status as Homegrown Players on the Revolution’s supplemental roster. Diego Fagundez, however, is not automatically protected as a Homegrown Player, because he is now a part of the club’s senior roster.
In addition to Caldwell and Herivaux, the Revs will be allowed to protect 11 other players. Of those 11 players, New England will be required to protect two of the three international players on their current roster (Jose Goncalves, Gershon Koffie and Xavier Kouassi).
NOTE: Although both Goncalves and Koffie are currently out of contract, they are still considered part of New England’s roster through December 31, 2016.
When will we know who the Revolution have protected?
There will be a half-day trade window from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 11. After noon ET, trades will not be permitted until after the conclusion of the Expansion Draft.
Each existing club’s protected list will be made public on Monday, December 12.
What are the chances that the Revolution will lose a player?
Basically, 50-50. As mentioned previously, 10 of the league’s 20 existing teams will lose a single player, while the other 10 teams will walk away unscathed.
Historically, the Revs have had nine players selected in the league’s nine Expansion Drafts: Patrick Mullins (NYCFC – 2014), Tony Taylor (NYCFC – 2014), Brad Knighton (Philadelphia – 2009), Khano Smith (Seattle – 2008), James Riley (San Jose – 2007), Jose Cancela (Toronto – 2006), Brian Kamler (RSL – 2004), Rusty Pierce (RSL – 2004), and Francis Okaroh (Chicago – 1997).
Who are the top Expansion Draft picks in history?
Sam Stejskal put together his list of the top five picks in Expansion Draft history for MLSSoccer.com, and there are some pretty significant names on the docket.
Brad Evans was nabbed from the Columbus Crew in 2008 and has gone on to make more than 200 appearances for Sounders FC in all competitions, while Sebastien Le Toux went from Seattle to Philadelphia one year later and became the club’s all-time leader in goals, assists and games played.
More recently, New York City FC picked up Tommy McNamara in 2014, and the young midfielder has racked up 10 goals and 12 assists in 50 appearances for the club.
Where can I find the full rules and regulations for the Expansion Draft?
That would be right HERE.