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2019 MLS Expansion Draft: Will RSL have a player picked?

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With five picks for FC Cincinnati, it’s not likely.

MLS: FC Cincinnati Signings Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

With Real Salt Lake’s list of protected players in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft having come out today, it’s time now to turn our attention toward the less savory side of things.

Will RSL have a player picked by FC Cincinnati in the draft?

Let’s first go over the list and make a quick pitch for each player. Don’t read this, FC Cincinnati front office, please. Thanks.

  • Alex Horwath — he’s a backup goalkeeper who we’ve never seen play for us after a long-term injury. There’s not much of a pitch to be made here.
  • Andrew Putna — he’s a backup goalkeeper with some apparently good potential and a few great performances under his belt.
  • Nick Besler — he’s a backup defensive midfielder who can also spell at center back, making him a valuable asset for any team.
  • Adam Henley — he’s a right back who might have some amazing potential left, but we’ve yet to see it.
  • Jordan Allen — he’s a right winger who might also have good potential, but he’s never had a chance to show it in this league.

OK, so actually, there are only two players in here that I think there’s any danger of being picked: Andrew Putna and Nick Besler. The other three are coming off no-impact seasons, and with only five Expansion Draft picks, FC Cincinnati would be well-served to sign players that might have more of an impact.

Putna is on my very short list because he has good goalkeeping potential, no true history of injuries, and can be an appealing option that way. Besler is also there because he’s a reliable backup who can play multiple positions, and every MLS team needs a few of those.

Now, it’s certainly possible that Cincinnati would go for a player whose option was declined, simply because it’s a clean mechanism for picking those players up and renegotiating salaries. There is, of course, the Re-Entry Draft for that one, too.

  • Connor Sparrow, option declined
  • Shawn Barry, option declined
  • Tony Beltran, option declined
  • Taylor Peay, option declined
  • Demar Phillips, option declined
  • Luke Mulholland, option declined
  • Sunny, option declined
  • Ricky Lopez-Espin, option declined
  • Luis Silva, option declined

Of those, I’d argue that Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland and Luis Silva provide the only sensible options. Taylor Peay has already signed with Louisville, apparently, and Demar Phillips has announced his departure, as has Sunny. Between Beltran, Mulholland and Sunny, there are three players who might prove interesting options.

The hard part of all this, of course, is that Cincinnati will have other opportunities to sign these players, and the Expansion Draft is simply the first one. Don’t expect them to sign a player they could easily pick up on the free (er, free-ish) market.

So, here we are. Will anyone get picked up? I’m leaning toward no on this one — but what do you think?