As we look toward tomorrow's MLS Expansion Draft, we've been talking a lot about who we've protected and significantly less about who we haven't. Who might we be losing tomorrow? We'll break down some of the options NYCFC and Orlando City will be looking at.
First up: Ned Grabavoy. We haven't protected him, and it's simply hard to at this point. Despite his value to the team, his age and salary makes it difficult to protect over either players with more promise or similar players with salaries significantly lower.
He'd be a very strong opportunity for either New York City or Orlando City to pick up Grabavoy, and it's hard to see why they wouldn't. He's an upper-tier MLS midfielder, a proven quantity, and a consistent player. That makes him an easy choice.
Chris Wingert is next in our list: He's a good full back who can play centrally, and he, too, has shown well in MLS across his many years in the system. His form hasn't been perfect in 2014, but he's still a great option. If either team is need of a full back — and let's face it, they are — Wingert woiuld be a good pick.
And those are the two most likely to be picked. But, of course, as we've seen before, that doesn't always lead to selection: In 2011, with Montreal Impact entering the league for 2012, the Impact selected Collen Warner. Who wasn't a bad player, certainly, but they took an eye toward the long-term (although they really didn't make good use of him) and picked a more promising, developing player.
But Jason Kreis knows Real Salt Lake, and he knows these two players very well. New York City FC won't spring surprises. Orlando City? That might be another story. And of course, Let's explore some other options.
Carlos Salcedo was left unprotected and given his promise, would be a great option for either team. But with his public statement, would that turn him into a potential problem for either team? They might not be interested in such a risk.
Cole Grossman, if he doesn't go to Stabaek, could be a good backup midfielder fighting for starting minutes. He's at a point in his career where he's probably ready to start matches regularly — and he probably would here if not for the dominance of Kyle Beckerman.
John Stertzer, like Cole Grossman, could make a good backup midfielder. There's some risk here — he's still on the road to recovery after suffering a broken leg — but he wouldn't come with a hefty price tag. It's not terribly likely, but he'd be an interesting option for either team.
Sebastian Velasquez has had a mixed time in MLS so far, with minutes hard to come by. But he's a bright attacking midfielder who would be an acceptable backup for either team.
Devon Sandoval isn't a world-beater, but he might, too, be a good backup option as a hold-up striker. Again, he's not the most-likely to be taken, but he could be an option.