LA Galaxy MLS Expansion Draft Preview: Signs negotiations in the works

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CARSON, CA - JULY 04: Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chris Pontius (19) celebrates his first half goal with Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9), Los Angeles Galaxy defender Perry Kitchen (2) and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce (20) in the game between the D.C. United and the L.A. Galaxy on July 04, 2018 at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (December 10, 2018) – Earlier today, Major League Soccer announced the players available to FC Cincinnati in tomorrow’s MLS Expansion Draft. The LA Galaxy have 13 players from their final 2018 roster available for the taking.

LA Galaxy MLS Expansion Draft Preview: Signs negotiations in the works

First off, for the full list of expansion draft rules, click here. Now, here’s how the Rapids roster broke down:

Automatically protected (Homegrowns not a part of senior roster): Hugo Arellano, Bradford Jamieson IV, and Efrain Alvarez.

Players LA chose to protect (players not under contract for 2019 are in bold): David Bingham, Daniel Steres, Rolf Feltscher, Dave Romney, Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Emmanuel Boateng, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Ola Kamara, and Giovani dos Santos.

Players who are unprotected (those currently under contract for 2019 are in bold): Servando Carrasco, Michael Ciani, Ashley Cole, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Baggio Hušidić (eligible for free agency), Perry Kitchen, Ariel Lassiter, João Pedro, Chris Pontius, Jorgen Skjelvik, Brian Sylvestre, Justin Vom Steeg, and Sheanon Williams (eligible for free agency).

What statements are being made?

The first thing that jumps out is that the Galaxy protected three players they haven’t even locked down for 2019 in Romney, Feltscher, and Boateng. The club has indicated that they are in negotiations to bring them back as well as Pontius.

Pontius being unprotected could indicate the club values them more or thinks Cincinnati would snatch them up. Pontius is 31-years-old and more expensive and might not be worth the risk to an expansion side.

The Galaxy chose to expose every player who’s option they did not pick up for 2019, other than Feltscher. This is pretty self-explanatory: They don’t want to keep the player. If FC Cincinnati wants them, they can have them.

Most of their chosen protected players are obvious as well. If they’re moving on from Bingham, they want something in return in a trade. Steres is at worst a cheap backup defender. Lletget, Ibrahimovic, and Kamara will all be critical to the team in 2019.

For the record, if they left Ibrahimovic unprotected cause he was leaving, Cincinnati would control his rights for 2019. So if there were a transfer fee to AC Milan or elsewhere, they’d get it in negotiations, not the Galaxy.

Most DPs have no trade clauses in MLS. It’s safe to assume Alessandrini and the dos Santos brothers had to be protected because they probably all have no trade clauses.

So who could the Galaxy lose?

In short, probably no one. Of the players under contract, there are some bad contracts in there. Skjelvik is one of the highest paid defenders in the league and didn’t play like it in 2019. Pedro is on loan and probably never coming back to MLS, so there’s no point in picking him up.

There are more experienced keepers available than Vom Steeg if Cincinnati really wants to take a backup goalkeeper in the draft. Hilliard-Arce didn’t rate at all in 2018 so unless they specifically think they can get something out of him, Cincinnati probably stays away from him as well.

Kitchen and Pontius could be in play though. Kitchen made $484k this past year. Kitchen went to the University of Akron and is originally from Indiana, so he might be interested in returning to the Midwest. He’s clearly not a good midfield partner for Jonathan dos Santos. If Cincinnati thinks he’d be a good No. 6, he might be worth the money.

Pontius had a salary of $175k this year. He’s eligible for free agency and could negotiate a raise. At the same time, he’s 31-years-old and originally from California.

That said, there are younger and better value players available for the draft. If I had to bet money, I say the Galaxy don’t lose any player they want back for 2019.

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