CARSON, CA (December 13, 2016) – The LA Galaxy have announced their protected roster for the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft. They also had five automatically protected players, leaving thirteen players exposed to Atlanta United and Minnesota United. Let’s break it down.
LA Galaxy Expansion Draft Protected Roster: Who They Could Lose
The Galaxy chose to protect the following players: Emmanuel Boateng, Ashley Cole, A.J. DeLaGarza, Clement Diop, Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Robbie Rogers, Brian Rowe, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, and Gyasi Zardes.
Five players satisfied the home grown requirement and were automatically protected: Bradford Jamieson IV, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, Oscar Sorto, and Jose Villareal.
With that, the following players are unprotected and could be selected in the draft: Miguel Aguilar, Leonardo Da Silva, Landon Donovan, Rafael Garcia, Steven Gerrard, Alan Gordon, Baggio Husidic, Robbie Keane, Dan Kennedy, Jeff Larentowicz, Ariel Lassiter, Mike Magee, and Dave Romney.
The Future And Stars Were Preserved:
In many ways, the Galaxy lucked out with some of their decisions. The club has a number of young players who could break into the first team in the next few years. Almost all of them are listed as Homegrowns and thus were automatically protected.
LA also had a lot of dead weight that for various reasons they didn’t have to choose to protect. Keane and Gerrard aren’t coming back. Donovan hasn’t officially retired yet, but probably will. Then they’ve got a bunch of old farts with large salaries who might not even get taken because of the risk.
With all this, they were able to protect several key starters and the young talent that wasn’t already protected. Van Damme, Zardes, and Dos Santos are all safe. So are Boateng and Lletget. Every valuable defender is protected.
The Galaxy even chose to protect DeLaGarza. Now, who could they lose?
Who The Galaxy Might Lose:
Remember that this year’s expansion draft is only five rounds. Also, teams can only lose one player. Once Minnesota or Atlanta take a player, the rest of that team’s roster is ineligible. Only half the league is going to get a player selected.
I think it’s very likely the Galaxy get a player selected. Ariel Lassiter, Baggio Husidic, and Leonardo are all viable candidates. Husidic and Leonardo are in their late 20s and both are veterans of this league. They aren’t overpriced, and can play both starting and bench roles.
Husidic isn’t great at any position, but he’s useful in several midfield roles. He can be the first midfielder off the bench and can fill in when someone gets hurt. He’s a glue player.
Leonardo didn’t play much in 2016, but can still be good when paired with a great center back. Atlanta’s also starting to develop a Latin flair, so he could fit their plans stylistically.
Lassiter is the one young gun the Galaxy have unprotected. He’s 22-years-old and technically doesn’t take up an international roster spot. He’s been great for LA Galaxy II in the past. One of the expansion teams could select him and make him a two year project with a USL affiliate.
All that said, the Galaxy should be fine as far as the expansion draft is concerned. They won’t be losing any significant pieces they can’t replace.