As you all know, the expansion draft is tomorrow (maybe today)! Thus, I have compiled a list of players we might see donning purple or light blue come next March. These are the guys that can make an impact on an MLS team in 2015. Some of them are old, but hey, 7 of the 14 players who saw minutes for the Galaxy in the past weekend’s MLS Cup were over 30. This is about the players’ ability right now.
Understood? Good. Here goes:
On Reddit (/r/MLS, to be specific), we had a mock expansion draft, and Eric Gehrig was selected first. Most of the choices on that draft were…puzzling, but they have a point on Gehrig: the 26-year-old stepped into the Crew’s defense quite well, being a more-than-adequate replacement for Costa Rican Giancarlo Gonzalez, who was sold to Italy after a stellar World Cup. Is Gehrig #1? No, but he can definitely slot into either NYCFC or Orlando’s defenses.
The man just won an MLS Cup! Was he the weakest link in the Galaxy’s starting eleven? Maybe, unless you count Leonardo as a starter. But that’s like saying that someone is the dumbest NASA scientist. The Galaxy were about the closest thing you can get to a perfect team while being in a not-really-top-10 league with a salary cap. At the top of their game, they were a well-oiled quality-machine, and that’s certainly including Gargan. Critics can say that maybe he only did good because of some ol’-fashioned Bruce Arena magic, but I still think he would make a fine addition to either expansion team.
This is where we go back to the part about being over 30. His hair may be getting gray, but that doesn’t mean is play is receding. Yep, intentional hair pun. I’ll wait while you guffaw. Anyway, he’s still a quality central midfielder, and one with vast MLS experience. Is he the best C-mid in this draft? Nope. But this is for players that can start for a team, and he has that box checked.
This is a risky pick given his ACL injury and the fact that he played for Chivas last year, but he was good. Everyone forgets this, but he was right up there with Harry Ship for Rookie of the Year (this was back when Tesho Akindele was as relevant as me–roughly). McNamara is as versatile as a Swiss army spork keychain, and his mullet is worthy of a time machine so that we can find other mullets for his mullet to be friends with. I would be surprised if either expansion teams don’t become his friend on Wednesday.
Yeah, he looks 60, but he’s actually younger than England’s Prince Harry. In his last healthy season, Thomas was one of the better defensive midfielders in the league. I’m actually surprised that FC Dallas (my team) protected the older Je-Vaughn Watson and the less proven Ryan Hollingshead over him. I’d rather both GMs pass on the Honduran (52 caps, by the way), but if I was in their position, the ex-Wigan man would be a delight for my roster.
I think it was silly for the Dynamo to bench Ashe in order to play Beasley at his new position of left-back (either find a way for them to co-exist or just not sign him), but it’s what happened, and it may lead the 28-year-old to a new location. Only a year ago he was on the US squad for the Gold Cup, and now he’s unprotected in the expansion draft!
He’s 34, but Dunivant has been a solid left-back in this league for a while now. His position at starter was usurped by Robbie Rogers in the wake of injury, but if he stays healthy he will be able to contribute to a team next year, not only in play but experience.
Okay, okay, so everyone’s picturing his ridiculous mistake against Chicago, and the fact that his mid-season signing was partially responsible for their meltdown at the end of the year (although I think it was more a lack of damage control after their US Open Cup loss), but bear with me. M’Bolhi leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths, however, this guy is still the starter for Algeria, and he’s done good in each of the last two World Cups. With an off-season and pre-season to rest and get accustomed to the league, I think he’ll be able to be a good goalkeeper in this league.
Before you talk about all his errors, I want to point out that he’s only 23. He’s almost a year younger than recently-anointed Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid, who was also error-prone at MacMath’s age. The goalkeeper from St. Petersburg, Florida (virtually Orlando–just a couple less casual Mickey Mouse sightings) has gotten better and better. He’s became a top 10 goalkeeper in this league! Zac MacMath can make the US National Team in the future! Zac MacMath can easily start for either expansion team! Am I the only one seeing this?!? HE’S REALLY GOOD, EVERYONE!!!!
~~Signed, Daniel Holt, de facto President of the Zac MacMath is Good Club.
He didn’t move mountains, but he scored 7 goals, or 0.4 for every 90 minutes played. 0.4 G/90 is pretty good, at least relative to the expansion draft. He was a somewhat important player in the third-best attack in the league (yep, Portland scored more goals than 8 of the 10 playoff teams). Oh, and he did all this in what was his first year in the league. He may not be a star in either of these teams, but he could certainly be a valuable player.
The 31-year-old has (along with Luke Mulholland) kept future USMNT playmaker (well, maybe) Luis Gil on the bench. Grabavoy is good enough to start on any team. Well, there are maybe a few he wouldn’t start on, but hey, this is the expansion draft. You won’t sign Beckerman in the expansion draft. Whether you’re putting him alongside Frank Lampard or behind Kaka, he’s one of the best you can get in this draft. And if anyone knows that, it’s former RSL coach Jason Kreis, who now coaches NYC. I predict that Grabavoy will go in the first round (i.e. first two picks).
The left-back has started at least 20 games for each of the last 7 years, being a steady presence on a very successful RSL team. Every team can only lose two players, and I think he and Grabavoy will be the ones lost; most likely to their old coach in Jason Kreis, or maybe Orlando if the Lions decide to get mischievous. A good left-back is valuable as both MLS Cup teams proved with Chris Tierney and Robbie Rogers. They can provide a powerful outlet to a team’s attack, and/or shut down an opposing team’s right flank.
That’s it! So, what will we see in tomorrow’s expansion draft? Did I get something wrong? Let me know in the comments section!