Expansion Draft: Yallop v. Me

Well, MLSnet.com finally posted the list of players Frank Yallop picked up for the New Model San Jose Earthquakes in today’s expansion draft (and thanks to all the good people out there who forwarded the list while I was blab, blab, blabbing away in another post). Here’s that list:

1. Ryan Cochrane (Houston Dynamo)
2. Clarence Goodson (FC Dallas)
3. Ned Grabavoy (Columbus Crew)
4. James Riley (New England Revolution)
5. Joseph Vide (New York Red Bulls)
6. Ivan Guerrero (Chicago Fire)
7. Brian Carroll (D.C. United)
8. Jason Hernandez (Chivas USA)
9. Gavin Glinton (LA Galaxy)
10. Chris Pozniak (Toronto FC
)

Now, let’s compare that to the list of players I selected yesterday (the picks we shared are in red):

1. Kevin Hartman: good veteran in goal.
2. Ryan Cochrane: only because he’s younger than Waibel.
3. Ned Grabavoy: What can I say? I’m a fan.
4. Abe Thompson: good depth at forward, instantly granted.
5. Willis Forko: He seemed useful.
6. Kelly Gray: hard, but instant depth tops Glinton’s super-sub upside.
7. Ivan Guerrero: unless the recent injury is serious.
8. Andy Dorman: I’ll take a flyer here and hope for a rebirth.
9. D. Mediate/J. Moose: flip a coin; this is getting hard.
10. John Wolyniec…on principle.

Now…to discuss…with myself…Frank left the building (actually, he was never in it).

RP, who commented on my original post, pointed out the biggest hole in Yallop’s picks: where are the forwards? Sure, there’s Gavin Glinton, but he’s a depth forward in my book. Even among the midfielders Yallop selected, one doesn’t see much in the way of attacking mids. This makes me think two things: 1) Yallop is building from the back; 2) he’s looking elsewhere for attacking talent. On one level, that’s a heck of a gamble.

On another, though, there were few of what I’d dub a lot of top-quality attacking players in the mix, at least not reliable, or reliably healthy, ones (see: Casey, Conor). Another thing on the credit side of Yallop’s picks comes with the fact that he essentially picked up a starting defense (Goodson, Cochrane, Riley, and Hernandez), entirely credible options at holding mid (Grabavoy, Carroll), plus a nifty player in Guerrero, while leaving plenty of money available for those attacking players he’ll find elsewhere. A quick check of each player’s 2007 guaranteed pay (and a little rounding) puts Yallop’s current total at $622,617. After accounting for a designated player (or two) and assuming a $2.3 or so salary cap, it looks like Frank got the New Model ‘Quakes off to a respectable start on the field and has some room to spend.

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Expansion Draft: The Unprotected, Shock Parade + My Picks

A man misses a thing or two when his eyes are looking elsewhere. While I know that, tomorrow, Major League Soccer (MLS) will hold the expansion draft that will begin building the New Model San Jose Earthquakes (NMSJE, from here forward), I’ve been too busy to poke around to see who MLS’s 13 current teams left unprotected.

Fortunately, Goal.com (and probably the rest of the known world) pulled the unprotected players into one list. I have to say, I’m seeing some shocks in this big list, players that new NMSJE head coach Frank Yallop can use for a pretty solid foundation. And, being the wagering sort, I’m going to pick the 10 names I would pick – which could translate (extremely) roughly into the 10 picks I’d expect Yallop to make.

UPDATE: OK, I ‘fess up.  Climbing the Ladder picked through the expansion draft as well, but with about half the snark and about three times the data.  If you want to get smarter, go read his; if you’re in the mood for a lark and examining this whole issue through a barely decipherable sheen of ethical conduct, keep reading here.

But I wanted to start by registering my personal shock at some names I’m seeing on the “up-for-grabs” list. Taking it team-by-team, then, here’s my personal “Shock Parade”: Continue reading

Dai…er, Weekly Sweeper, 11.16: Things That Are Wrong + MacGyver Lives in Africa

Maybe this would be better as a weekly feature…while I’m pondering that, here’s the most interesting stuff I saw in this, the final week of 2007.

– Apart from sharing his memories from MLS Cups past, Ives Galarcep reported today that we can expect to see Fernando Clavijo back at the helm for the Colorado Rapids in 2008. This is the thing that is wrong…well, one of them. COLORADO RAPIDS FANS: Boycott this team, cancel season tickets, etc. And when you do, call the front office to tell them exactly why you’re doing so. Contempt doesn’t have to be a one-way street.

– Turning to the other wrong thing, tucked into a Seattle Times primer on MLS arriving in Seattle is more talk of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) letting a second-division Seattle Sounders carry on…in Poulsbo, Washington. While a bad idea on a number of levels, it poses additional problems for Portland Timbers fans. To which team will they direct their unconditional hatred, the MLS Seattle team or the weird transplant USL-1 incarnation they’ll play week in and out? It ain’t right, I tells ya.

– Luis Arroyave confirms my suspicions about the parties around MLS Cup. It’s the dude party stuff I’m referring to.

– With the expansion draft coming next Wednesday (right?), a few sites (including this one) have kicked around notions about which players from their team they would release and expose. WVHooligan goes the extra mile and plays the game with all 13 teams. This is a two-parter: Eastern Conference and Western Conference. This is a pretty good way to start getting your head around this stuff.

– Inching as we are toward the time when we’ll all start looking back on the 2007 season, I thought I’d flag a good one in case anyone missed. It’s going to be tough to top Who Ate All the Cupcakes 2007-in-review post. Let’s hope it’s not their last.

– Finally, before getting to the run of random crap with which I like to close my Fridays, enjoy this beauty goal kick from some random indoor game.

Now…on with the crap! Continue reading

Daily Sweeper, 11.6: Calling the Final (Wha? Already?) and Protection from the Draft

– A couple pieces out today are already guessing that we’ll get a repeat of MLS Cup 2006: Houston Dynamo v. New England Revolution. Jeff Bradley started his most recent First XI saying he “fully expects” a repeat while, less surprisingly, the Houston Chronicle sees the same thing…though they do acknowledge the potential for those “meddling kids” from Chicago and Kansas City to louse up the plan. I’ve already voiced hope that both Bradley and the Chronicle will be proved wrong in the comments of another, bigger forum and I stand by that down to the reasoning. More curiously still, it’s New England – who are my team, if only allegedly – that I don’t want to see. This may be hard to understand, but all I can say is not all fans support their team in the same way. For instance, I fall somewhere between the “Ever-Disappointed Parent” category and the “Next-Underdog Bandwagon Jumper.” In practice this means, if my team can’t be great and play beautifully, they shouldn’t bother being good; that would only mean I’ll start ignoring them to watch the plucky underdogs from the next town over (or, in very un-p.c. terms, “Why can’t you be more like your retarded brother? At least he tries. You make me sick!” Curiously, I’m not like this with my real kids – and, yes, I’m a big John Waters fan).

– Speaking of my oft-abused team – again, that’s New England, though you’d hardly know it – they seem to be getting more preview ink, probably due to the fact they play the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference final on Thursday. A couple things to update there: Red Card reports that Justin Mapp “could be available” for the game, something that have me shouting “hallelujahs” about picking Chicago to win if I didn’t have doubts about Mapp’s ability to seriously contribute after such a long lay off. Also, Frank Dell’Appa gave plausible reasons for both teams to feel confident heading into the Big Game.

– To pick up on a new story-line, people are already looking ahead to the expansion draft that will build the new San Jose Earthquakes. I’m thinking Steve Goff got the ball rolling on Monday, and he’s been followed since (consciously or not) by 3rd Degree, who talked about who they expect their beloved FC Dallas to protect and expose, and The Fullback Files, who did the same for DC United. For the record, 3rd Degree helpfully highlighted the expansion draft rules in their post. In the same spirit, I thought I’d do a half-ass job for two teams: the New England Revolution, because I spitefully support them, and the Columbus Crew because I’m not sure anyone else will. I’m only going to name the 11 players on each team that I would protect – the rest would, obviously, remain exposed. And, word to the wise, the likelihood that I’m going to screw up and protect a player who can’t be protected is somewhat high. I’m going through this exercise, I suppose, to identify the players on both teams who I rate – and I placed an asterisk next to any protected player I’d use as trade-bait opportunity permitting:

New England Revolution (the link goes to the roster)
1. Taylor Twellman
2. Pat Noonan
3. Steve “Dog Chow” Ralston (my wife’s nickname)
4. Matt Reis
5. Michael Parkhurst (even if he may leave; see below)
6. Shalrie Joseph
7. Andy Dorman*
8. Avery John*
9. Adam Cristman* (they’d have to pay)
10. Wells Thompson*
11. Jeff Larentowicz

Columbus Crew (ditto)
1. Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2. Eddie Gaven*
3. Ned Grabavoy
4. Frankie Hejduk
5. Stefani Miglioranzi
6. Danny O’Rourke*
7. Robbie Rogers
8. Tim Ward
9. Alejandro Moreno
10. Marcos Gonzalez (I had to)*
11. Jacob Thomas*

This is actually an educational process, figuring which players you’d expose. As you can see, I view a good chunk of the Revs’ line-up as expendable; moreover, I can’t believe how healthy they managed to remain this year. Good fortune of that sort makes me think they might win MLS Cup after all. As for Columbus, they have so many intriguing building blocks, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my list of un-expendable players didn’t end around #7.

– Finally, as we head into the off-season, one has to think that MLS Rumors will once again start cranking out content. They got off to a decent start today with posts on England coach (is it former yet?) Steve McClaren looking into the LA Galaxy job (or vice versa; I’m in a hurry) and one about Michael Parkhurst joining the U.S. Men’s Nationa…I mean, Fulham FC in the Premier League. On this last one, though, The Offside Rules found something debunking that one (and I join his “WTF?” on Brian Hall winning referee of the year). And, honestly, I can’t see the Galaxy hiring McClaren, never mind McClaren taking the job – which, again, hardly means I won’t happen; I can’t see a lot of things that come together.