Yesterday, during the l-o-n-g wait for the announcement of the MLS teams’ protected lists, I tweeted that I expected the Philadelphia Union to protect the following players: Faryd Mondragon, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan, Sebastien LeToux, Brian Carroll, Roger Torres, Danny Mwanga, Michael Farfan, and Freddy Adu. This turned out to be the final list with the exception of Keon Daniel being protected in lieu of Adu.
Unlike last year, this list presented few surprises. There were no last minute trades or inclusions of marginal international players. It seemed obvious to me that the Union would protect the regular starters who make up the core of their team. Taking this into account, only a few protected slots were open to speculation. I expected Mondragon to be protected. Although age combined with a higher salary might be a deterrent to a drafting team, this concept isn’t likely to apply in a situation where the older, better compensated player is a regular starter, in particular a goal keeper. The Union also likely want to make sure Mondragon stays around around for a few years while Zac MacMath matures.
The inclusion of Keon Daniel was a bit of a surprise but not out of line. He was an integral part of the Union’s midfield during the successful first half of the season and provides size and a physical presence, something the Union otherwise lack. Hopefully any visa problems he has have been resolved. I had expected the Union to protect their financial investment in Adu, but perhaps they feel he will not be attractive the Montreal. He has a high salary and hasn’t exactly lit up the field since returning to MLS.
I learned my lesson last year when I left Torres off my probable protected list because of his loan status. The Union obviously don’t have a problem with protecting loan players, as they did so with Torres and Michael Orozco-Fiscal last year. Michael Farfan has been a revelation this year and has turned out to be a good value for a second round draft pick. His presence in Philadelphia was no doubt a factor in attracting his twin brother to the Union as well.
Who among the unprotected players, if anyone, will tempt the Montreal Impact? The most likely suspects would be Kyle Nakazawa and Justin Mapp. Nakazawa is a young, inexpensive and serviceable midfielder while Mapp, although older and more expensive, is probably the better player if he is playing well and is a natural left footer. If we are lucky, they will take Stefani Miglioranzi.
In other news, I congratulate the Los Angeles Galaxy on winning MLS Cup. Cough, hack, gag. Let’s hope we have finally seen the last of the Beckhams. MLS may have grown in the past five, but I wouldn’t attribute it primarily to Golden Balls. I don’t watch MLS soccer because of Beckham, do you? At least the Union lost in the playoffs to a team which eventually made the finals. The Union will return to defeating Houston during the 2012 regular season.
A fuss has been made about the Impact’s website being in both French and English. I’m not sure why MLS communications haven’t been in French since Toronto entered the league. Isn’t MLS the top professional league for both the US and Canada and isn’t French an official language of Canada? I would have thought that this meant that all MLS materials would be issued in both languages. Let’s hope progress is finally being made on this issue.
Well, Montreal Impact, Bonne Chance, you’re going to need it. Let me make a few suggestions for players you might be interested in …Twitter It!