Well later today the Montreal Impact will have a chance to select 10 players from a pool of unprotected players that are currently on MLS rosters to add to the 4 players already on their roster (GK-Evan Bush, D- Hassoun Camara, D- Nelson Rivas, and M- Sinia Ubiparipovic). There were some interesting players left unprotected including a few big names, a couple of Generation Adidas graduates, so the pool is fairly deep. Let's get to the players I would take, in no particular order:
#1 - Midfielder - Danny Cruz - Houston Dynamo - Salary $123,000
At just 21 yrs old Cruz has shown that he can play in MLS and play well, on a team that saw almost all their plays run through Brad Davis, young Danny Cruz used his speed and developing knowledge of the game to get into dangerous positions. He ended the season with 2 goals and 13 assists in 1152 minutes of action, he could be the Jack Jewsbury of this draft.
#2 - Defender - Zarek Valentin - Chivas USA - Salary $132,000
The price tag is a bit high but this 20 year old was one of the brighter spots on the Chivas squad this year, has the potential to be a very good defender for a number of years in this league. Like Cruz he is a player who graduated from Generation Adidas this year.
the rest of my choices after the jump:
#3 Midfielder - Paolo Cardozo - LA Galaxy - Salary $53,250 - International
He will used up a international slot but the 22 yr. old midfielder from Uruguay has shown flashes that he might be something special and on a LA team where they have to protect big names he is the player that I think you could get some real value from and have a potential star of the future.
#4 Forward - Omar Bravo - Kansas City - Salary $170,000 - International
I think it is an outside shot that they would take the 31 year old forward who seems to have fallen out of favor at Sporting KC, but he had 9 goals and 2 assists in 2150 minutes this year. I think he has a couple of good years left in him and he gets in some very dangerous positions.
#5 - Forward - Blake Brettschneider - DC United - Salary $42,000
One of the promising young forwards in the league, at 22 years old and 6'0" he only logged 789 minutes this year but was able to get a goal and 2 assists. I think he has a very bright future in Major League Soccer and could provide a team with a player who can continue to develop.
#6 - Defender - James Riley - Seattle Sounders - Salary $97,962.50
One of the top 5 outside back in MLS in the opinion of many, and no idea how he isn't being protected by the Sounders who are protecting their offense more than their defense. He is good for over 2000 minutes a year and is a guy who is simply solid on both sides of the ball.
#7 - Defender - Boddy Warshaw - FC Dallas - Salary $53,250
Not a guy with a lot of playing time but he is young and in the limited minutes he was given last year, he looked like a very solid prospect. At 23 he provides them with some longer term options on defense without having to spend a lot of money.
#8 - Defender - Kwame Watson-Siriboe - Chicago Fire - Salary $44,000
While his isn't as young as some others Kwame brings great size 6'3" to the table and after a season with the NASL side FC Tampa Bay may be worth the risk, again a younger guy (25 yrs. old) who has huge potential at a very low price tag.
#9 Defender- Ryan Cochrane - New England Revolution - Salary $71,667.67
A 9 year MLS veteran but still only 28 years old, he has lifted MLS Cup before and could step in as a on and off the field leader for the new franchise. A bargain to get a guy with as much experience as he has at such a low price. Could play a huge role in mentoring younger defenders.
#10 Forward - Paulo Jr. - Real Salt Lake - Salary $42,000 - International
Finding young forwards with the potential to be game changers due to speed and talent is tough, so taking a chance on Paulo Jr. who had a rough year of dealing with a nagging hamstring injury might seem like a risk, but the potential upside is a guy who scored 2 goals and had 4 assists in 468 minutes this year in MLS action. The downside is that the 22 yr old from Brazil is still recovering from that hamstring injury and is only on loan to MLS still, but I believe the risk is worth the potential reward.
A couple of veterans, a lot of youth, talent mixed with risk but isn't that what the expansion draft is all about? Or will we see teams willing to wheel and deal with Montreal in order to get players they might want from other teams? That strategy worked last year for both teams in the expansion draft, but we will know shortly.
OFF MY SOAPBOX