Atlanta United and Minnesota United will face an embarrassment of riches during Tuesday’s MLS expansion draft, when the two clubs will build rosters from a list of more than 120 unprotected MLS players.
The list includes former MLS MVP Mike McGee, one-time Chicago Fire homegrown star Harry Shipp, 2016 MLS Cup Champion Andreas Ivanschitz and Revolution rookie standout Femi Hollinger-Janzen, among dozens of other accomplished names.
For the Revs, Femi serves as the most alluring draft-day option, though he hardly represents the only player at risk of joining one of the league’s newcomers.
Here are the likeliest names to depart during Tuesday’s expansion draft, as chosen by our staff:
1. London Woodberry
2016 stat line: 25 appearances (23 starts), 2070 minutes, 2.6 interceptions per match
Let me start by saying that I don't think the Revs will lose anyone in the Expansion Draft. Atlanta and Minnesota only get five picks each, and there are plenty of intriguing options out there. That said, if there is a loss, I expect it to be Woodberry.
Listed as earning $63,000, Woodberry is a budget-friendly defender who can play anywhere along the back line. Despite his flaws, the FC Dallas Homegrown is a suitable backup who has a sharp right foot. Picking Woodberry could end up being a smart under-the-radar move. - Seth
2. Je-Vaughn Watson
2016 stat line: 23 appearances (19 starts), 3 goals (2 in U.S. Open Cup play), 1 assist
In an expansion draft with just five picks, both Atlanta and Minnesota are going to be looking at two things: value and versatility. Both teams have already been making a lot of moves but there's a lot of openings on the defensive side of the ball. Watson, Darrius Barnes and Woodberry are all pretty good defenders who don't make that much and know the league well. Watson might be a little older, but he makes much less than Jose Goncalves does (JoGo is also out of contract) and still gets significant minutes with the Jamaican national team. Regardless of how much longer Watson will play in MLS, getting his experience in games and on the practice field could be invaluable to an expansion team, particularly Atlanta who doesn't have an NASL roster to fall back on.
Losing any of the exposed defenders would hurt the Revs who are already thin at center back. Watson's versatility was instrumental for New England last season and he would be a solid choice in the expansion draft for either side.
3. Femi Hollinger-Janzen
2016 stat line: 19 appearances (1 start), 2 goals, 1 assist, 10 shots
The Beninese-born Indiana product exceeded expectations in 2016, scoring twice off the bench during his rookie season. A bothersome hamstring strain prevented him from making an even greater impact.
Resume aside, Femi offers enticing potential. Despite earning two All Big-Ten team selections, he flew under the radar during the 2016 SuperDraft, falling to Jay Heaps at pick 51. Femi immediately latched on with the Revs, scoring a game-clinching goal against the Fire in mid-May and a game-winner against the Sounders two weeks later. During his 19 appearances, he flashed strength over then ball, poise in front of goal and the ability to instantly ignite the attack off the bench.
Should either club select Femi, the move would evoke memories of Patrick Mullins expansion-draft departure in 2014. And it would provide one of the league's newest clubs with an attacking firestarter capable of developing into a solid MLS contributor. - Nick