Atlanta United Protected Players List Announced

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ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 26: Jeff Larentowicz #18 of Atlanta United reacts after losing to the Columbus Crew 3-1 on penalities during the Eastern Conference knockout round at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 26, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA (December 10, 2017) – The Atlanta United FC protected players list has been announced for the upcoming expansion draft. Fourteen players will be protected for Atlanta, leaving seventeen players unprotected.

Atlanta United Protected Players List

Each team is allowed to protect eleven players. Atlanta United chose to protect the following players:

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan, Alec Kann

Defenders: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Greg Garza

Midfielders: Miguel Almiron, Carlos Carmona, Julian Gressel

Forwards: Josef Martinez, Tito Villalba, Brandon Vasquez

In addition, Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin are exempt from the draft as Homegrown players, while Miles Robinson is exempt as a Generation Adidas player.

The most notable players on the unprotected list include Romario Williams, Yamil Asad, and Jeff Larentowicz.

Asad will likely be rejoining Vélez Sarsfield from loan next season. There’s been no word about his status, but the longer this goes on, the more and more it seems like the young star will return to Argentina.

Larentowicz’s contract option was declined, but reports say the team is still trying to negotiate with the midfielder. The negotiations may have been a reason for leaving him off, but I would have preferred to see Larentowicz protected over a third goalkeeper. Atlanta has a multitude of options to replace him if he’s selected or no deal is worked out, so it won’t be a huge loss, but having a veteran in the midfield is always good.

Romario Williams was fourth in the USL with fifteen goals this season, which was just three goals shy of the most this season. The 23-year-old Jamaican forward was honored as the USL Player Of The Month in June and was named to the All-USL Second Team for the season. Williams has shown great potential and has played well at a high level, scoring two goals during the 2017 Gold Cup.

I didn’t expect to see Kann on the list of protected players after the signing of Mitch Hildebrandt, but it appears the team will be moving forward with three strong goalkeepers. I would have preferred if one of these three, specifically Williams, had been protected instead, but Kann is a solid player himself.

Atlanta also made a deal with LAFC today that was strange, to say the least.  Atlanta sent an international roster spot to the new club for a fourth-round pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. The move went under the radar, but for a team with eleven different international players last season, the trade seems kind of bizarre. The only way this trade would have made any sense to me would be if the two teams agreed that no players would be picked from Atlanta during the expansion draft. We’ll just have to wait and see

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