CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Did they make the cut? (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
So with the end of the MLS season for Chivas USA, attention turns to roster moves before the 2012 season begins. The first of these will likely be the MLS Expansion Draft, which will be held November 23. MLS newcomers Montreal Impact will get 10 rounds to pick 10 players who are unprotected by their current clubs. As a result, Chivas need to protect 11 players, leaving most of the rest available for possible selection by the Impact.
Here are the extra details: once Montreal takes a player from a club, they may not take any additional players from that club. Keep in mind that with 10 rounds, Chivas may not actually lose any players, since the pool will be 18 clubs. Also protected are two categories of players: homegrown and Generation Adidas. If a player is signed from the academy, he is exempt, so Chris Cortez and Brian de la Fuente cannot be picked (although I doubt they would have been anyway). Players in the Generation Adidas program are also exempt, but there's not a lot of clarity concerning which players are in the program and which will 'graduate' from year to year. This season, Blair Gavin and Zarek Valentin were both GA players, and either one could leave the program, but nobody really knows if they will or not. For now, I am considering both of them still part of the program for next season. If either one graduates, they will almost certainly be protected by the club. The final wrinkle in the expansion draft is that clubs have to protect at least three international players.
Read the list of protected and unprotected players after the jump
Here's my list of who Chivas USA should protect in the Expansion Draft:
David Junior Lopes
Players Exempt from Expansion Draft:
Chris Cortez (homegrown player)
Brian de la Fuente (homegrown player)
Blair Gavin (Generation Adidas)
Zarek Valentin (Generation Adidas)
Chivas USA unprotected list:
Again, this is my list, so expect there to be differences in the official list when it is released. I doubt Montreal will want to pay JPA, and I'm not sure if Chivas want to pay him, so I think he'll be unprotected. I suppose Elliott could be protected, but I think it would be smart to transition to Ben Zemanski as defensive midfielder next season, so if Elliott was obtained by Montreal (not likely) Chivas would lose experience but also open a spot on the field for Zemanski. I think Nagamura and Trujillo are question marks moving into next season, so it makes sense to leave them open, plus I doubt either of them would be selected. I think Flores is iffy, but assuming Chivas want to keep Courtois and move him into a starting role next season, Flores could become superfluous. Finally, I picked Lopes to be protected over both Boyens and Umana. Probably Umana will be protected, although I'm not keen on him, but I think the central defender spots are open to some extent for next season.
What do you think of these lists? Should any players be moved around? Have your say in the comments!