MLS Expansion Mock Draft

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Seattle Sounders FC will move a long way toward shaping the look of their first roster today when announce the names of the 10 players they have selected in the MLS expansion draft.

There is plenty of talent to choose from for the Sounders as general manager Adrian Hanauer and technical director Chris Henderson (and soon-to-be head coach Sigi Schmid) will have the task of selecting 10 players from the large pool of talent left exposed by MLS teams on Monday.

So what should we consider when trying to figure out who the Sounders will look for? Consider the players Seattle already has under contract (Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, Sebastian LeToux and Sanna Nyassi) and you figure Seattle will try to focus on defensive depth and some forward prospects.

Here is SBI's prediction of the 10 players Seattle will be taking in today's expansion draft (set for 1pm ET):

NATE JAQUA (Houston Dynamo)

League sources have told SBI that this one is a done deal and Jaqua will be going to Seattle. A good target striker who could benefit from playing alongside Ljungberg and LeToux, Jaqua also has ties to the Pacific Northwest as an Oregon native.

BRAD EVANS (Columbus Crew)

If Schmid is providing input into this selection then look for Evans to get the nod. Evans was a real revelation for the Crew this past season and his modest salary makes him even more appealing to a Seattle team already carrying Freddie Ljungberg's designated player slot. Eddie Gaven seems like an enticing pick as well, but Evans makes a fraction of Gaven's salary and there are other wing options for Seattle.

BRANDON PRIDEAUX (Chicago Fire)

You can never have too many solid veteran defenders and Prideaux proved to be that for the Fire in 2008. Yes, he is 32, but he can step right in and start at right back. It also doesn't hurt that he's a Washingto native. Seattle could also look toward central defender C.J. Brown or forward Calen Carr, especially if it chooses to grab another right back like Lawson Vaughn or Chris Leitch.

MICHAEL RANDOLPH (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Seattle wants players who have shown an ability to start in MLS, but who make modest wages. Randolph qualifies and could give Seattle a quality young left back prospect. He also has past ties to the Pacific Northwest, having played for the Portland Timbers.

JOHANN SMITH (Toronto FC)

You can't teach speed and Seattle could very well turn to arguably the fastest player in MLS by grabbing Smith, a left winger with plenty of promise. Even if Seattle wouldn't plan on keeping Smith, there is certainly interest in the former U.S. Under-20 player from other teams in MLS.

JORGE FLORES (Chivas USA)

With Sanna Nyassi and Johann Smith on board, it wouldn't seem to make much sense to pick-up Flores, despite the great promise he showed last season, but this would be a pick for a trade. If the Sounders weren't looking to deal Flores, then it could turn to veteran striker Ante Razov, who played collegiately for Schmid, though his price tag might be an issue.

KEVIN HARTMAN (Kansas City)

With Kasey Keller signed, and USL standout Chris Eylander set to become his understudy, the last thing Seattle needs is goalkeeping. Right? Well, this is true, but goalkeeper is fast becoming a thin position in MLS and Seattle will find no shortage of takers for Hartman, one of the league's best veteran goalkeepers. In fact, if you package Flores and Hartman, Seattle just might have the makings of a package to acquire Cuban striker Maykel Galindo from Chivas USA. Galindo played for the USL Sounders before moving to MLS. Now, if Seattle decides against trying to grab Hartman for a trade, the Sounders could certainly look to young defender Tyson Wahl, who impressed this year.

PAT PHELAN (New England)

Young, talented, versatile and cheap. Those are four qualities Seattle wants to find in at least some of its expansion draft picks and Phelan fits all of those categories. Capable of playing in central defense or as a defensive midfielder, Phelan could certainly challenge for a starting role in 2009.

MIKE PETKE (Colorado Rapids)

Finding a veteran centerback to lead the back-line is always important for an expansion team and Petke fits that bill. He turns 33 in January but has been the picture of reliability throughout his career. Before last season, when he was sidelined due to foot surgery, Petke had played in at least 24 games for 10 straight seasons. A smart and physical player who is also capable of heading home the occasional goal, Petke is also out of contract and might be able to be had for a reasonable price.

NATHAN STURGIS (Real Salt Lake)

Before injuries derailed his young career, Sturgis was regarded as a future star. The former U.S. Under-23 player has struggled for two years to stay healthy but just might be a gamble worth taking for Seattle. If the Sounders he isn't worth the risk, don't be surprised to see Seattle grab young and inexpensive midfielder Joe Vide (D.C. United), who impressed as a defensive midfielder late in 2008.

So what might the Seattle lineup look like after these picks? Here is one potential lineup:

——————Jaqua—————————————–

——————————–LeToux————————–

J. Smith——————Evans——————–Ljungberg

—————————Sturgis——————————–

Randolph———Petke———Phelan————–Prideaux

—————————-Keller——————————–

What do you think of these picks? How about that lineup? Which players do you think Seattle will take? There are any number of plausible combinations of 10 players Seattle will take, but I think this group has a very good chance of being the group selected. At the very least I think the first four players listed are close to locks to be chosen.

Share your thoughts and your own mock draft selections below.

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50 Responses to MLS Expansion Mock Draft

  1. Matt Mathai says:

    Seattle is going to have a pretty decent team when they start play.

  2. Chad says:

    Doesn’t look like a terrible starting 11 to me.

  3. Hincha Tim says:

    I hope they don’t take Sturgis. I don’t think they will. He has had a lot of injuries and didn’t really play at all this year. The fact that they play on turf would not help his prospects. I think they will take Ian Joy from RSL.

  4. cbr says:

    i bet ljungberg plays a central attacking position

  5. Jeff says:

    IVES: How about Badilla? I was suprised to see the Revs leave him exposed, and would definitely take him over Phelan. Price tag too high?

  6. EDB says:

    I can see them grabbing king from chicago.. cheap salary and a nice holding mid..

  7. Chrös says:

    I’d love to see Ian Joy on the Sounders as well.

  8. landy says:

    Nyassi would be quite a player to have off the bench. To me, they need to pick up Jaqua, a solid midfielder, and build from the back, whether from trade or picking up Waibel, etc.

  9. bubblehouse says:

    in honor of seatle’s impending draft maybe we could get the best of the Ljunberg you write the caption.

  10. landy says:

    btw, where can we watch the draft live on tv or online?

  11. kco says:

    Youth, speed, and inexperience on the left. Aged, slow, veterans on the right. Interesting.

    If Seattle takes Hartman they will immediately become my least favorite club in MLS. Maybe not hate but extreme dislike is in order.

  12. Nuvinho says:

    I don’t think its live, they just submit a list of 10 players to the league I think.

  13. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    cbr, I think Seattle has made some noise about playing ljungberg in the middle. However, LA said the same about Beckham and we know how well that worked out.

  14. wes says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aaron Pitchkolan taken.

  15. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Pretty sad to see JoSmith go, especially before he got to blossom. Mo better have something up his sleeve

  16. Aljarov says:

    I like most of these picks….I’m not sure about Randolph or Flores, and I might be tempted to go a different route than Hartman.

    Burciaga (instead of Petke) is worth consideration, and I’d strongly consider Ray Burse. He is young, cheap and definitely has the upside to be a starter in MLS and take over from Keller in a couple of years. On a side note, I’m amazed at the number of pro-Ian Joy people here. He was absolutely wretched this season and looked well below MLS standard. I wouldn’t touch him.

    I’d also be tempted to pick up Badilla….he may not have stood out in 2008 but he’s very highly rated, and Nicol is a good judge on that. He thinks he’s his Parkhurst replacement….so I’d take him ahead of Phalen.

    I also though Jiminez looked good. I’d probably take him over Randoplh as he can play DL and DC.

  17. LJ says:

    I don’t ever see Johann Smith developing enough good touch to even be a top player in MLS.

  18. LJ says:

    cbr, I think Seattle has made some noise about playing ljungberg in the middle. However, LA said the same about Beckham and we know how well that worked out.

    Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey

    SDM, you keep saying this, but that doesn’t change the fact they are still thinking that way right? Not saying you are wrong, just saying what you point out might not matter how they approach this draft.

  19. John says:

    Ives, I completely agree with the picks of Jaqua, Prideaux, Evans. I think the other key is if the Seattle braintrust chooses wisely, they’ll look for collegians who haven’t produced yet are young (Phelan) or fast outside defenders who can get down the field–something Schmid always seems to go with. So Riley or Randolph look like options there. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle asks RBNY what they’d give to acquire Petke and/or Mormol.

    EVERY expansion draft, we have people talking about how great that team is going to be, about how competitive they’re going to be, about how they’re gunning for a playoff spot from year one. EVERY draft–without exception.

    Chicago did it–but they hit the motherlode both in terms of expansion picks, especially trades and probably assembled the best one-time class of international players in the league history of MLS. They got Nowak and Kubik (both probably all-time MLS XI players–Chivas, TFC, RSL, have probably not had an all-time MLS XI player domestic or foreign to-date, let alone in year one). They drafted a rookie forward (Wolff) who have them 8 goals in half a season (when is the last American rookie striker who’s done that?).

    The last team that tried to build primarily off of the expansion draft and domestic players (and de-emphasized the draft and foreign allocations for immediate-year one help) was….RSL. I still remember how Jeff Bradley wrote about how a lineup with Clint Mathis, Eddie Pope, Jason Kreis, DJ Countess, was going to be competitive from Day One. Not.

    Even San Jose–lucked out with a stupid LAG deal (Cannon) and Huckerby was clearly the best foreign acquisition and maybe the most impactful player in MLS once he arrived. No Huckerby and they’d likely been worse offensively (he accounted for 1/3rd of their goals and they scored only once or were shut out 18 times this season–just dreadful offensively until Huck arrived).

    Seattle might be good but it won’t be through expansion picks. Or even their USL signings (which will mostly be about adding depth). If Keller, Ljundberg and their other foreign signings work out–and they pull off a couple of good trades and their draft is good, then they’ll be a playoff team in a weak West.

  20. Patrick says:

    Ives:

    I see you talk about Sigi having input in this draft. Is he technically still under contract. If so when is it up and how could he legally be giving input without it be a serious indication of tampering by Seattle?

  21. CD says:

    Seattle already has a Flores type player on their roster:

    link to soundersfc.com

    They are planning a trip to South America with their USL side to evaluate their current roster and look for additional talent. I think they have a chance of being very competitive going into the season with a quality keeper and quality strikers already in place. I think their biggest need in the off season after the expansion draft will be to get some fast young defenders other that that they will have a good team.

  22. CD says:

    If they get a keeper to deal I think they would go for Crayton from DC. I could see LA getting him to help their back line, after his pickup DC was a different team. I am sure they will take some players to trade. The last expansion draft was full of wheeling and dealing.

  23. HAMUrobbïe says:

    So is Sigi in Seattle or what?

    Christ,not another team that plays on turf. That was the real reason NYRB and RSL had semi-sucessful runs this season. The home and away records prove it. What about Toronto you ask? Well i think we can all agree they just suck.

    Seattle definitely came into the league at the right time considering the depth in the expansion draft. With the roster reductions looming, future expansion teams will not be as fortunate.

    Also, as a Crew fan who is about to lose the greatest coach this league has ever seen, I just want to say Suck Feattle!

  24. dos-a-cero says:

    I could see Seattle going a bunch of different ways. I know defense is the way to go but there are some good attacking options available. I really think you have to take Jorge Flores, he is going to be legit, especially with somebody like Ljunberg tutoring him.

  25. HardHatMike says:

    Well, if nothing else Ives certainly nailed Sigi’s preferred formation and positioning.

  26. Allez RSL says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Ian Joy goes back to Europe to be near his daughter. SSFC had better have done their homework on where he’s at mentally if they’re thinking of drafting him.

  27. scott47a says:

    I think you are on to something here Ives.

    My guesses might be a little different — Jimenez and Riley instead of Flores and Petke.

    But I think your basic notions — build an entire back line, get young and cheap players so they still have money to go international — is right on.

    And if they can’t work out a deal for Hartman before the list is official, I expect they will look at Morsink or Wahl.

  28. Steve says:

    Maybe Ray Burse from Dallas? Still stuck behind Sala, who they re-signed, but pretty effective, athletic and young. Also, he played some at Portland this year to stay in shape. I really like him, and would hate to see him go, but he may benefit from a change.

  29. JesseMT says:

    I guess we’ll know soon enough, but I expect that Sounders FC won’t be as concerned with finding bargains as most people seem to think. After all, once they make these ten picks, they’ll have only ten more roster spots to fill, and many of those will come from the USL side. Also, Keller’s salary was probably mostly paid for by allocation money.

    That’s not to say they won’t be picking up some bargains. I just think they are likely to pick up at least one of the high-priced vets in the draft like Eddie Gaven, Terry Cooke, or Ante Razov. I’d also like to see them take Gabriel Badilla.

  30. ravenrooney says:

    Ok, so here’s my mock draft. Or at least who I would take. I didn’t consider salary into my decisions, unfortunately.

    Chivas – Jorge Flores

    Chicago – Brandon Prideaux

    Colorado – Terry Cooke

    Columbus – Brad Evans

    DC – Joe Vide

    Houston – Nate Jaqua

    New England – Gabriel Badilla

    New York – Jeff Parke

    Salt Lake – Ian Joy

    San Jose – Eric Denton

    Pass: TFC, LAG, FCD

    That brings in a lineup of….

    —————Keller———–

    -Denton-Prideaux-Parke-Joy-

    —————-Vide————

    –Evans—————–Cooke-

    —————Freddy———-

    –LeToux————–Jaqua—

    Bench: Nyassi, Flores, Badilla

  31. STX81 says:

    What if the Sounders pick a Houston Player? Can they play in tonight’s Champions League match?

  32. brooklyn_crew says:

    How much of a bump can a player get when he renegotiates his contract? Evans doesn’t make much, but due to being a contributor on a Cup-winning side has to mean something at the table, right?

  33. STX81 says:

    I think the Jaqua pick would be a waste because his contract ends once this season officially ends for Houston. I thought the rumors already had him wanting to sign with Seattle. So why would they waste a pick on a free agent who wants to sign with them already (or risk a pick on someone whose might not sign with them at all).

  34. Sterlinho says:

    Ljungberg is playing as an attacking midfielder. That has been stated time and time again. Ruud Gullit is not coaching this team, so the LA comparison doesn’t fit SonicDeathMonkey.

  35. Eric K says:

    With that lineup – why not, they’d probably be better than Toronto right off the bat.

  36. A.S. says:

    OK, it’s after 1:00 – who’d they pick?

  37. Matt says:

    I can’t believe Johann Smith was left available.

    Young, cheap, athletic, naturally left-footed American wingers don’t grow on trees.

  38. Sean Monaghan says:

    That line up seriously looks better that ours (the galaxy)

  39. Liverislife says:

    I think the Sounders will be approaching this draft a bit differently. I don’t think the management group is just looking to fill in empty spots in their first 11. Remember, they still have the ability to sign “discovery” players, and cash doesn’t seem to be a major factor, so look for additional internationals to be added at some key spots (center back). Also, they will be mining the USL Sounders roster for additional talent, and many of those guys are at least the equals of guys on the unprotected lists. Look for Chris Eyelander, Taylor Graham, Josh Gardner to be signed.

    And, for whatever reason, this (Seattle) soccer community LOVES players with local connections, so players like Jaqua, Waibel and Prideaux are definitely in the mix, but so perhaps could be younger players like Nik Besagno and Ely Allen.

    Regardless, I think this group has done just about everything right so far, so they’re getting a huge “benefit of the doubt” form me on this draft

  40. kebzach says:

    I don’t know why you bothered putting the expansion picks into a lineup…half of them won’t even be starters or with the club anyway.

  41. Simon B says:

    It’s after 1:30. So how do we find out who they picked?

  42. Tony in Quakeland says:

    “I don’t know why you bothered putting the expansion picks into a lineup…half of them won’t even be starters or with the club anyway.”

    Wow, then you really wasted your time reading it and responding, didn’t you?

  43. AlexS says:

    @STX81

    If picked, the Houston player could play in the game tonight. Probably because of the game being after the draft, registrations do not tranfer to Seattle (well, we’ll skip the whole FIFA-registration versus MLS-registration thing) until Friday.

    Also, regarding Jaqua, since MLS is the owner as far as FIFA is concerned with player registration (which lets a player play for more than 2 teams in a calander year, among other things) MLS gets to define rules for free agency. One of these rules is that so long a a team makes a contract offer to a player out of contract, no other team in MLS can approach about a new contract. In other words, so long as Houston makes Jaqua an offer (and they will if Seattle doesn’t take him), Seattle would have to trade for his player rights from Houston. This system keeps players from causing MLS teams to get into a bidding war over a free agent from inside MLS. I expect this rule to change a bit in the next collective bargining agreement, but I don’t expect it to go away until sometime after expansion ends.

  44. I’ve been told now that the list won’t be out until 2:30pm.

  45. GD says:

    soundersfc.com says that it will show the list of players at 12noon (pacific). but if Ives gets it beforehand, all the better…

  46. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    some rumors suggest they took RUiz from TFC which makes sense (having that Sigi connection).

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BE TRUE

  47. carl says:

    i guarantee ljungberg doesn’t play on the wing ives. from all the interviews and the info coming out of the move, he is going to be playing in the center

  48. Jason says:

    If Sounders took Ruiz, then they deserve what they get.

    And I’m glad Sigi was never able to bring him to the Crew.

    Ale! Ale Moreno!

  49. Justin says:

    Jacqua (Houston) F

    Flores (Chivas USA) F

    Parke (NYRB) CB

    Kirk (DC United) F

    Evans (Columbus) M

    Sturgis (Real Salt Lake) CB

    Smith (Toronto FC) CM

    Kimura (Colorado) RB

    Randolph (Los Anglees) LB

    Wahl (Kansas City) CB

    ———–Jacqua————

    ——–Smith—————-

    Ljundberg*—-Evans—-Kirk—

    ———Sturgis————-

    -Randolph-Parke-Wahl–Kimura

    ———-Keller————

    Bench:

    Syassi M

    Flores M/F

    LaToux* M

    Rodriguez* D

    Merl D+

    Tracey F

    Eylander GK

    * = Senior International

    + = Draft

  50. soccer fan says:

    Is this draft like drafts in years past where each time a player is selected by Seattle, then, all the other MLS teams get to protect an additional player? So, for example, if Seattle picks Jacqua in the first round, then, can Columbus protect Gaven, etc.? Thank you.