FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – By the time a champion is crowned on Saturday night at BMO Field, 282 days will have passed since the 2017 MLS season kicked off back on the first weekend of March.
The league-wide transition to the 2018 campaign will be swift, however, as a four-hour trade window will open on Sunday morning from 9 a.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET, allowing teams to officially sign and trade players for the first time since rosters were frozen in mid-September.
Protected lists for all 22 existing MLS clubs are also slated to go public on Sunday ahead of the Expansion Draft (Tuesday, December 12, 2 p.m. ET), in which new boys Los Angeles FC will have the opportunity to continue building out their roster.
From there the action will come thick and fast as free agency begins at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, followed by the Waiver Draft (Wednesday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m. ET), Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft (Friday, December 15 at 3 p.m. ET) and Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft (Thursday, December 21 at 2 p.m. ET).
With regards to the Expansion Draft, here are the answers to a few important questions …
How many players can LAFC select in this year’s Expansion Draft?
Five, and only a single player from any one club.
While teams were allowed to select up to 10 players in the Expansion Draft through 2014 when New York City FC and Orlando City SC joined the league, last year’s new clubs Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC had that number cut to five, and that change remains in place for this year’s draft.
This greatly minimizes the chance that teams will be affected by the Expansion Draft, as only 23 percent of existing teams (five of 22) will have a player selected on Tuesday.
Who can the Revolution protect in this year’s Expansion Draft?
Scott Caldwell and Zach Herivaux are once again automatically protected because of their status as Homegrown Players on the Revolution’s supplemental or reserve roster. Diego Fagundez, however, is not automatically protected as a Homegrown Player, because he is 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 at least three of the six international players on their current roster (Benjamin Angoua, Antonio Delamea, Claude Dielna, Gershon Koffie, Xavier Kouassi, and Krisztián Németh).
NOTE: Although both Angoua and Koffie have expiring loan deals and Kouassi’s contract option for 2018 was not exercised, they are still considered part of New England’s roster through December 31, 2017.
How many players have the Revolution lost in previous Expansion Drafts?
In total, the Revs have had 10 players selected in the previous 10 Expansion Drafts: Femi Hollinger-Janzen (Minnesota – 2016), 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).
Of course, New England re-acquired Femi prior to the start of the 2017 campaign, sending goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to Minnesota in return for the young forward.
Where can I find the full rules and regulations for the Expansion Draft?