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The Expansion Draft and Who St. Louis City SC Could Pick From Charlotte FC

By Brian Maurer and Vaughn Pollman

On November 11th, St. Louis City SC will be allowed to pick up to five players in the expansion draft. November 10th is the deadline for teams to decide who they are protecting on their rosters.

Who Is Protected?

Charlotte FC will have all of their players who are signed to homegrown contracts and their Generation Adidas pick, Ben Bender, protected in the expansion draft. Charlotte is then allowed to choose to protect twelve of their remaining 27 players* on the roster to protect in the expansion draft.

Homegrown Players Protected

Generation Adidas Player Protected

Jaylin Lindsey

Derrick Jones

Chris Hegardt

Brian Romero

Ben Bender

Who Does Charlotte FC Protect?

Charlotte will have to pick 12 of their remaining 22 players who they can protect. They will likely take resources spent and international roster spots into consideration when deciding who they will protect.

Brian’s Predictions

  1. Karol Ṥwiderski (DP)

  2. Kamil Jóźwiak (DP)

  3. Kerwin Vargas (U-22)

  4. Kristijan Kahlina

  5. Adilson Malanda

  6. Nathan Byrne

  7. Nuno Santos

  8. Guzmán Corujo

  9. Anton Walkes

  10. Brandt Bronico

  11. Vinicius Mello (U-22)

  12. Joseph Mora

There are several players that are for sure locks. The current designated players (DPs) as well as the U-22 initiatives are all on this list based on the investment of resources in these players. Also the new summer additions are all locks for this list. Brandt Bronico is locked in as he is set as an important piece in this team with his new extension. Guzmán Corujo and Kristijan Kahlina are also locked in as they have been regular starters all season.

Anton Walkes, for me, has to be protected. He was way too valuable an asset for Atlanta to allow to be available last season and Charlotte should not make that same mistake as their southern rivals. If Christian Makoun was sold for 400k in GAM then Walkes is likely a far more valuable asset. Letting that value go for free would be a major loss. The last spot was difficult. I ended up going with Mora and my reasoning is pretty simple; with Christian Fuchs’ option getting declined Mora is one of only two left back (LB) options on the roster.

If Mora is unprotected and picked up by St. Louis then Adam Armour would be the only LB on the squad. Obviously Charlotte could sign a new LB, but as we have seen in the past, these transfer windows are no guarantee of a replacement. If the team were left with only Armour at LB to start the season that would be a major gap in the roster going into 2023.

Things can change and a new LB could be acquired during the trade window before the draft which would change my draft prediction. At this point, given what we know about the current state of the roster it makes sense to protect Mora to help secure a semblance of depth at LB.

A few players on Charlotte FC’s roster that I think could get nabbed are Jan Sobociński, Yordy Reyna, Andre Shinyashiki, and Jordy Alcívar. Reyna, and Alcívar would likely be trade assets as their styles of play do not necessarily fit with what St. Louis City is reportedly planning on playing, but they could be traded if a team is interested since they both have decent trade value.

Sobociński has shown an ability to hang in as a starting center back (CB) this past season. Since Charlotte FC will likely have to protect three CBs already Sobociński will likely be available and I could definitely see St. Louis taking a stab on a player like him as they could be getting a starting CB for free. Shinyashiki is another player who could get picked as he is a hard working forward who is willing to press and defend, which would likely fit with St. Louis’ style. He could also end up being a trade asset if he was picked.

For Charlotte FC, I do not think losing any of these players would end up being too big a setback going into 2023. If they were to lose Sobociński, Reyna or Alcívar, Charlotte would have an international roster spot opened up, giving them more flexibility in the winter transfer window. Losing Shinyashiki would be losing a fan favorite, but Charlotte also has depth at his position. Losing him would likely feel like a loss to many fans but, overall, there are plenty of others on the roster capable of playing at his level.

Vaughn’s Predictions

  1. Karol Ṥwiderski (DP)

  2. Kamil Jóźwiak (DP)

  3. Kerwin Vargas (U-22)

  4. Vinicius Mello (U-22)

  5. Kristijan Kahlina

  6. Guzmán Corujo

  7. Anton Walkes

  8. Nuno Santos

  9. Nathan Byrne

  10. Adilson Malanda

  11. Andre Shinyashiki

  12. Brandt Bronico

The under-contract players I would leave unprotected for various reasons and justifications are Jordy Alcívar, Jan Sobociński, McKinze Gaines, Daniel Ríos, Yordy Reyna, Joseph Mora, George Marks, Pablo Sisniega, Adrían Zendejas, and Adam Armour. Really the tough call for me comes down to our wingers and do you protect Gaines or Andre Shinyashiki? The recent contract extension for Shinyashiki paired with the allocation money Charlotte paid to acquire him forces the decision to leave Gaines vulnerable.

Considerations for leaving guys unprotected include their contract status both in terms of dollars, international status, as well as number of years and option years remaining on their contracts. For example, Charlotte FC’s decision to pick up the final club option year for Daniel Ríos means that at the end of the 2023 season, he will be out of contract.

If Saint Louis were to select him in the expansion draft, they run the risk of that player and pick only lasting for one season on an expiring contract compared to the benefits of selecting a player on a longer contract or a player who holds greater trade value to other teams within the league, as was the case when Charlotte selected and traded Tristan Blackmon and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

St. Louis City SC Draft Strategy?

To make these predictions it is also important for us to evaluate St. Louis’ current roster, positions of need, and their overall strategy going into the Expansion Draft. As their roster stands today, St. Louis has 9 players under contract with 7 of those players currently occupying international roster spots. All MLS sides start with 8 international spots in 2023 and they may acquire additional spots via trade, as we did ahead of our Expansion Draft.

Of the players under contract for St. Louis, it looks like they have at least 1 starting center back in Joakim Nilsson, two starting midfielders in Tomáš Ostrák and Eduard Löwen, a starting forward in João Klauss, and a starting goalkeeper in Roman Bürki. Both Löwen and Klauss are Designated Players and St. Louis City’s Sporting Director, Lutz Pfannenstiel, has already stated publicly that they don’t intend to add another Designated Player before the season starts.

With that evaluation being done it is likely that St. Louis will be going into the Expansion Draft looking for domestic talent, wide players, roster depth, trade assets, and salary cap friendly contracts. It’s important to note that Head Coach Bradley Carnell comes from the Red Bull system and is an advocate of gegenpressing, or counter-pressing, which requires a team to quickly pressure the opponent and the ball when an offensive player loses possession.

The goal of this tactic is to win the ball back quickly after losing it to catch the opponent off-guard in the transitional phase of play. To be frank, Charlotte FC does not have many players whose preferred style of play matches that tactical approach.

It should be noted that a lot can change between now and the Expansion Draft. Trades can be made during the brief 2-day trade window between November 7th and 9th and St. Louis’ roster situation could look vastly different closer to draft day. Our approach to who is left unprotected will be dictated by many on and off field factors, including our own offseason player strategy, that may be in better focus closer to November 10th.

* At this point we are assuming the roster stands at 27 players instead of 30 as Christian Fuchs and Harrison Afful got their options declined, and Charlotte FC have yet to announce a decision regarding the options of Quinn McNeill and Koa Santos. Brian Romero is also signed, but it has not been announced how he fits on the roster.