The Full 90

MLS reveals expansion rules, what could it mean for KC?

With the Montreal Impact joining Major League Soccer as the league's 19th team next year, it's time once again for an expansion draft. On Wednesday, MLS unveiled that the draft will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. central.

Over 10 rounds, the Impact will select 10 players and each MLS club can protect 11 players from their roster. Generation adidas players (who will not graduate from the program at the end of the 2011 season) and Homegrown Players on the team's roster are automatically protected. Designated Players do not have to be protected unless the player has a no trade clause in his contract. Clubs will submit their lists on Monday, Nov. 21.

Who will Kansas City protect? Well, I’ve been asked that in various ways over the last three-to-four weeks. I took out my oven mitts last night and tossed around this hot-potato issue to examine different scenarios. After my brain stopped throbbing, I realized that it’s still a little foolish to venture a guess on the protected list just yet -- I’ll save that for closer to the Nov. 21 deadline.

However, as I am part of the media, I will wildly speculate and ask very leading and pointed questions to see what sort of reactions you have.

No matter how you dice it, Kansas City has 15 players that could be categorized as "can't afford to lose” and will almost certainly lose at least one of them.

Question 1: Who are the 15?

Davy Arnaud, Matt Besler, Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury, Julio Cesar, Aurelien Collin, Roger Espinoza, Michael Harrington, Kei Kamara, Chance Myers, Jimmy Nielsen, Soony Saad, C.J. Sapong, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi. (Jeferson is a special consideration. You’ll see in a second.)

Question 2: Who are the four you leave off the protected list?

That depends on the answer to the following questions.

Question 3: Does Kansas City have to protect its Designated Players?

I don’t know the details, but I would venture a solid guess that Bravo has a no-trade clause and, thus, must be protected. There’s one spot taken.

As for Jeferson, he could really mess things up. He’s on loan right now and KC has an option to pick him up when that loan ends. He hasn’t exactly shown he’s worth DP-status; he also hasn’t had a full-year (and preseason) to work his way into this team. If Kansas City wants to keep him (and if he has a no-trade clause) he’s going to take up another spot.

Question 4: Will Teal Bunbury graduate from the Generation adidas program?

How and when a player graduates from the GA program is a secret held closer than the nuclear suitcase combination. (

Bathe in the vagueness of this article.


The standard -- if you can call it that -- seems to be about 1,700 minutes played. (

Climbing the Ladder ran these numbers last year.

Nearly every player who reaches 1,700 either in his first year or his second graduates. That number seems to indicate the player is a regular and not in need of roster protection. Though Chance Myers was graduated last season, his third, despite not having reached that number.)

Bunbury now has 3117 minutes in his career.

Question 5: Who are the three protected internationals?

The rules state that "clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three." In plain English, a team must protect at least three internationals.

Kansas City has, technically, 10 internationals on the roster: Korede Aiyegbusi, Bravo, Cesar, Collin, Daneil Cyrus, Jeferson, Peterson Joseph, Jimmy Nielsen, Craig Rocastle and Milos Stojcev. (With Cyrus on injured reserve, KC were able to use his international slot on Peterson Joseph -- I think. Details on these things are also closely guarded.)

If Bravo is already protected under the DP rule, KC must protect at least two more of the players above. I think the three players in that discussion are Collin, Cesar and Nielsen.

Question 6: Who are the core domestic players on this team?

If you count Bravo, Bunbury and two more internationals already protected, that gives Peter Vermes 7 more spots to protect the core of his team. You have to think that includes Kamara, Sapong, Zusi, Espinoza, Besler and Myers.

That just leaves one spot to split between Arnaud, Harrington, Sinovic or Saad.*

*Do you see the giant issue with Jeferson now? If he has to be protected, none of those four guys can be protected. Yikes. Question 7: How much do you value Soony Saad?

Getting a 19-year-old striker for free during the summer is like finding $100 in your couch cushions. Do you spend it yourself or give it to someone else to spend?

Question 8: Will Vermes find a way to sneak Arnaud onto the protected list?

Arnaud is a Vermes guy. He's nominally the team captain -- though Bravo has held that honor since July. I wouldn't put it past the team to protect Arnaud ... but over who?

Question 9: Now that you know the parameters, which 11 players would you protect?