How should NYCFC handle the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?

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Dec 11, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; Members of the New York City FC celebrate with the MLS Cup after defeating the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup championship game at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; Members of the New York City FC celebrate with the MLS Cup after defeating the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup championship game at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /
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The 2021 MLS season is done and dusted, and New York City FC is your MLS Cup Champions! While a championship hangover for players, staff, and fans is expected — and very deserved — the turnaround for important tasks isn’t exactly lengthy. Just three days removed from their triumphant Cup win over the Portland Timbers, MLS is to hold their Expansion Draft on December 14 to give the soon-to-be added Charlotte FC a pick of five players from around the league.

The concept of an Expansion Draft definitely seems to be a bit dated due to the league’s rapid growth over the last half-decade. Unfortunately, it’s something every team is gonna have to go through. NYCFC was omitted from the 2020 Expansion Draft due to losing Ben Sweat to Inter Miami the previous year but will have to participate this go around. And due to being the reigning MLS Cup champions, you can expect any City player to be a hot commodity on the Expansion Draft market.

Per the rules, Charlotte FC is to be given five picks from around the league. Once a player from a team is selected, the remainder of that team’s players are safe and the team is ruled out for the next Expansion Draft. Teams can choose up to 12 players to protect from the draft, minus Homegrown Players under the age of 25 who receive automatic protection. Everyone not selected for protection is vulnerable to getting picked.

So, who should NYCFC protect? Who should they leave unprotected? Let’s discuss.

Continued on next page…

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