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Loons Leave Young Defenders Eligible in MLS Expansion Draft

Carter Manley and Wyatt Omsberg are on the available player list in tomorrow’s Expansion Draft, but don’t #PANIC just yet.

MLS: FC Dallas at Minnesota United FC
Wyatt Omsberg takes on FC Dallas’s Reggie Cannon in a June 2018 match. Omsberg is one of the players Minnesota United left up for grabs in Tuesday’s Expansion Draft.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer announced a score of players available for selection in Tuesday’s Expansion Draft, in which FC Cincinnati will have the chance to select five players to join their 2019 roster. Each team was allowed to protect eleven players from selection, as well as automatically holding onto homegrown and Generation Adidas players. Minnesota United protected the following players:

  • Michael Boxall
  • Francisco Calvo
  • Ethan Finlay
  • Miguel Ibarra
  • Romario Ibarra
  • Brent Kallman
  • Kevin Molino
  • Darwin Quintero
  • Angelo Rodriguez
  • Rasmus Schuller
  • Bobby Shuttleworth

Abu Danladi, Collin Martin, and Mason Toye were all exempt from selection. As a result, four players whose MLS rights are still officially held were left up for selection:

  • Sam Cronin
  • Carter Manley
  • Eric Miller
  • Wyatt Omsberg

Cronin and Miller both are in a state of contract limbo; Minnesota didn’t include Cronin either in their roster cuts or their pickups following a season lost to post-concussion symptoms, while Miller was given a contract offer and has until the start of the Re-Entry Draft to sign and remain a Loon. As for Manley and Omsberg, the potential of losing each player is mitigated by some of the signings announced by FCC already—the new side has already announced a tall, imposing center back in reigning USL Defender of the Year Forrest Lasso, and a pair of veteran fullbacks in Blake Smith and Justin Hoyte.

Additionally, the Expansion Draft is perhaps less of an exercise in who will be picked from your team as where the value is from other teams leaving players available. With the two rookie defenders left exposed, it’s important to remember that of the five defenders picked in front of Wyatt Omsberg, three (Los Angeles Galaxy’s Tomas Hilliard-Arce, LAFC’s Tristan Blackmon, and New England Revolution’s Mark Segbers) are available in the Expansion Draft, with just Segbers having been dropped from his team’s roster at the end of the year. The Expansion Draft is actually chockablock with intriguing defensive names, including MLS Cup winner Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado mountain Axel Sjoberg, LAFC’s Steven Beitashour, Montreal’s 90-minute Loon Chris Duvall, and NYCFC’s inexpensive veteran Sebastien Ibeagha. In other words, Loons fans should probably keep their #PANIC meters in check for tomorrow.

Minnesota’s contingent of players without their contracts picked up will also be eligible for the Expansion Draft. Players like Marc Burch, Ibson, Fernando Bob, Alex Kapp, Matt Lampson, Bertrand Owundi Eko’o, Frantz Pangop, Jerome Thiesson, and Collen Warner could all be selected with FC Cincinnati on the hook for the cost of their 2019 contract options, with the Orange and Blue also able to pick up the out-of-contract Harrison Heath or the MLS rights to the loan-expired Alexi Gomez, Maximiano, and Johan Venegas. Should any Loon be selected, Minnesota would receive $50,000 in general allocation money.