As Major League Soccer welcomes yet another franchise in 2021, yet another Expansion Draft is set to occur on Tuesday. Newcomers Austin FC will have their pick of five players from rosters across the league.
On Monday afternoon, the names of players protected and left available were announced by the league’s 26 clubs, bringing along names left unprotected by Orlando City.
Here is Orlando’s list of available players left unprotected:
- Kamal Miller
- Kyle Smith
- Joey DeZart
- Uri Rosell
- Matheus Aias
- Alexander Alvarado
- Tesho Akindele
That means all of these players have been protected by the club:
- Antonio Carlos
- Jordan Bender*
- Daryl Dike^
- Pedro Gallese
- Michael Halliday*
- Robin Jansson
- David Loera*
- Jhegson Méndez
- Benji Michel*
- João Moutinho
- Chris Mueller
- Andrés Perea
- Mauricio Pereyra
- Rodrigo Schlegel
- Mason Stajduhar*
- Júnior Urso
^ – Automatically protected: Generation Adidas
* – Automatically protected: Homegrown Player
Homegrown and Generation Adidas players are automatically protected from the Expansion Draft, meaning Mason Stajduhar, Benji Michel, David Loera, Michael Halladay, Daryl Dike, Jordan Bender were all exempt from the draft.
The surprising name left out would be midfielder Uri Rosell, a player that was integral to Head Coach Oscar Pareja‘s midfield in the early part of the season before suffering an injury in September.
Among the other notable names left unprotected were fullbacks Kamal Miller and Kyle Smith. Both players stepped up to fill in the void after both Joao Mouthinho and Ruan suffered injuries through the year and proved to be more than capable backups.
New arrivals Matheus Aias and Alexander Alvarado also were left unprotected. Neither player has played more than 30 total minutes for the Lions, so there is still a lot of unknown about the two and how they fit in MLS.
The Expansion Draft is always a mixed bag of results, as teams often value assets over finding actual starting players since teams rarely leave their best players unprotected.
Orlando City has still only lost one player in any of the previous Expansion Drafts when Atlanta United selected Mikey Ambrose back in 2016.
The Expansion Draft starts at 6:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 15, and can be watched live on MLSSoccer.com.
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