The Major League Soccer Expansion Draft will take place Dec. 10. Sporting Kansas City has chosen its eleven players to protect. They are as follows:
Matt Besler, Igor Juliao, Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic, Bernardo Añor, Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Medranda, Paulo Nagamura, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer. Erik Palmer-Brown, Jon Kempin, Kevin Ellis, and Mikey Lopez were automatically protected.
These players have no chance of being chosen in the draft.
This means that Sporting has left the following players unprotected and available for selection:
Andy Gruenebaum, Eric Kronberg, Jorge Claros, Christian Duke, Michael Kafari, Victor Munoz, Lawrence Olum, Martin Steuble, Claudio Bieler, Antonio Dovale, Jacob Peterson, Soony Saad, Sal Zizzo
First, let’s start with the players that are definitely not going to affect Sporting KC. Remember, the Expansion Draft acquires a player’s rights, and if that player is out of contract, the new team has to negotiate a deal. If the player’s option was declined, it will instead be picked up by the new team.
Gruenebaum, Kronberg, Kafari, Munoz, Dovale, and Zizzo’s options were declined. Therefore, Sporting is not planning on keeping these guys around. If New York City FC or Orlando City SC picked these players, Sporting wouldn’t really lose anything. Their options would instead be picked up by the expansion team and they would play another year under the current contract.
Lawrence Olum and Soony Saad have left the club. Olum will be playing in Malaysia with Kedah FA. It was just announced today that Saad is headed to Thailand. If these players were chosen, their MLS rights would belong to the expansion team and they would be with the new team were these players to sign an MLS contract in the future.
That leaves five players who are realistic options for Sporting to lose in the Expansion Draft. Here are their situations for Dec. 10.
Jorge Claros- Claros’ contract is likely to be large, and with OCSC trading for Okugo, a move for Claros is rather unlikely. NYCFC, however, could use him. I wouldn’t expact Claros to be selected simply because of his lack of MLS appearances and relatively large contract.
Christian Duke- This midfielder has yet to make an appearance for the first team with SKC and has spent most of his time on loan. Duke is probably not going to be taken by either club.
Martin Steuble- Steuble was brought to Sporting Park a the same time Claros was, but doesn’t have the resume that Claros boasts. As a rather unknown international player, I would be surprised if either club chose Steuble. Steuble arrived to SKC from the Swiss second division. Maybe Steuble can prove to be a decent player in MLS, but he hasn’t been given any kind of chance yet.
Claudio Bieler- After a disappointing 2014, I wonder whether NYC or Orlando will be interested in Bieler. The Argentine striker has proven he is capable of scoring goals when given the chances. He probably has the highest chance of being taken in this draft, and due to Dom Dwyer’s emergence as a starter, Bieler might want to test himself somewhere else.
Jacob Peterson- Peterson has been a linchpin on the wing for Sporting Kansas City over the last few years. He would undoubtedly be a bad loss for this team, and is probably the only player out of these five that Sporting would miss a lot. There seems to be a pretty good chance that NYC or Orlando choose Peterson.
Watch the MLS Expansion Draft on MLSsoccer.com at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Dec. 10.