With the 2009 Major League Soccer season barely over, the league has already switched attention to the upcoming year. Teams submitted their protected lists for the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft on Monday. On Wednesday, the expansion Philadelphia Union will select 10 of their first players.
Each club may protect 11 players. Philly can only select one player from each team. Homegrown players and and those involved with Generation Adidas are not available for selection.
The list of available players holds some of interest to Philadelphia but also a handful of false starts. Some, through age and longevity, will likely avoid the draft (Houston's Pat Onstad, Columbus' Frankie Hejduk, Toronto's Carl Robinson).
Others' contracts with MLS will expire this offseason and either are expected to pursue deals abroad or have signed pre-contracts (Houston's Ricardo Clark; Chicago's Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe; and Salt Lake's Yura Movsisyan).
As per usual, Philadelphia won't pick up any superstars in the expansion draft, but it can build a foundation of quality contributors and begin to forge an identity.
Of particular interest to the Union management will likely be the available names of San Jose's Philadelphia native Bobby Convey, Houston's Mike Chabala and Toronto's Amado Guevara.
New TFC coach Preki previously fell out with Guevara at Chivas USA, and the talented Honduran midfielder's availability in the draft indicates that he is on his way out of Toronto.
James Riley of Seattle has switched clubs through the expansion draft two years running. Available again, he could face his third move in as many years, despite revealing to Goal.com Saturday night that the Sounders told him he would be protected.
Also of interest is Toronto's Stefan Frei. Initial releases from MLS listed him as available, having graduated from the Generation adidas program. However, a revised list indicated that he is still protected under the Generation adidas header.