On Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 2 pm ET, FC Cincinnati will select five players from around the league as part of the Expansion Draft. Each team, save for Seattle, Kansas City, San Jose, Columbus, and Toronto, will submit a list on Monday outlining the 11 players they wish to protect. Homegrown Players on the club’s supplemental/reserve rosters are automatically protected. Out of contract players are available for selection. For more on the rules, click here.
So, who might the New England Revolution protect? Here’s what we’re thinking.
Isaac Angking, Scott Caldwell, Nicolas Firmino, and Zachary Herivaux.
Predicted Protection List
Juan Agudelo-This first one might be a bit of surprise since Agudelo is out of contract. That said, I still think there’s a chance that he comes back (though he’s getting paid too much to be a reserve). Even if he doesn’t, he’s worth protecting because he’s a known commodity that the Revs won’t want to lose for free.
Teal Bunbury-Bunbury had a career year in 2018, even if he trailed off during the last half. I fully expect him to done a Revs jersey in 2019, but don’t believe he should starting as the lone striker.
Brandon Bye-Bye is a cheap, young defender who played 24 games as a rookie. He’s also versatile, as he can play left and right back. These characteristics make him a candidate to be selected by FC Cincinnati, so the Revs should protect him.
Luis Caicedo-He’s the midfield engine that has no quit. He now calls New England home after the club made a full-time transfer. It would be foolish to leave him exposed.
Antonio Delamea-Delamea was in and out of the lineup last year but he’s still a solid choice at center back. He could end up being Mancienne’s partner in the middle.
Diego Fagundez-There was a rumor that Fagundez might have played his last game at Gillette Stadium but I think he’ll be back, especially since he’s still under contract. Whether he stays or goes, you have to protect him.
Andrew Farrell-Farrell, the team’s Defender of the Year, was a stalwart at right back. He’s going to be protected.
Michael Mancienne-The English center back will likely be a starter next year, so I think he’ll be protected. If he’s not, it’s probably because they think Cincinnati will stay away from Mancienne’s big contract.
Cristian Penilla-There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be protected.
Kelyn Rowe-Rowe’s future might not be in New England but you certainly don’t let him go for free. If he’s not traded on Sunday then he’ll be protected.
Matt Turner-Turner lost his job mid-season but he’s still a promising prospect that could end up earning call ups to the USMNT. He’s a guy you want to keep around.
Jalil Anibaba-Anibaba had a solid 2018 but he’s also a journeyman that will be 31 years old next year. Leaving him exposed is a bit of a risk but I think he plays a position that the Revs are already looking to upgrade.
Cody Cropper-Cropper was the team’s top goalkeeper in 2017 but one year later he wasn’t even making the bench. I can’t imagine that the Revs will protect him.
Brad Knighton-Knighton is a reliable backup, but it’s unlikely that Cincinnati will go after him, so it’s likely that he’ll go unprotected.
Gabriel Somi-Cincinnati probably doesn’t want an expensive left back that wasn’t playing for a Revs team that was at the bottom of the table.
Brian Wright-Wright has played 303 minutes in 10 games. His outing against NYCFC this year was nice, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he left New England.
Wilfred Zahibo-Zahibo is an MLS All-Star that didn’t regularly start for the Revs. It makes sense to leave him exposed and let fate decide his future.
Looking at the unprotected list, Anibaba is the only player that I think FCC might take since he’s an experienced defender that doesn’t cost much. The Revs could decide to protect him, especially if they know Agudelo is moving on.
Leaving Zahibo unprotected is another risk but he’s an international that’s on good money. Furthermore, I wasn’t that impressed by him in 2018. I could see him taking someone’s spot on the protected list.
Finally, things could change depending on Sunday’s half-day trade window. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rowe or Agudelo are being shopped around. If either, or both, depart then I expect Anibaba and/or Zahibo will be protected (or perhaps an incoming player arriving via the trade).