How should NYCFC handle the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?

By Christian Smith
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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Dec 11, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; New York City FC midfielder Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates with the MLS Cup after beating the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup championship game at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; New York City FC midfielder Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates with the MLS Cup after beating the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup championship game at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Who should NYCFC protect from the MLS Expansion Draft?

Due to their status as Homegrown Players, James Sands, Tayvon Gray, Andres Jassen, Justin Haak, and Christian McFarlane have been omitted from this list.

  • Sean Johnson
  • Alex Callens
  • Maxime Chanot
  • Anton Tinnerholm
  • Taty Castellanos
  • Talles Magno
  • Keaton Parks
  • Gudi Thorarrinson
  • Thiago Andrade
  • Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
  • Cacha Acevedo
  • Santi Rodriguez

This was not an easy list to pick. But when it comes to value, these players must be protected at all costs.

The core of Sean Johnson, Alex Callens, and Maxime Chanot are protected due to their importance to the team. Leaving any of these guys unprotected when they play such pivotal roles for NYCFC both on and off the pitch would undoubtedly leave a sour taste in their mouths and could be seen as a sign of disrespect. Newest DP Talles Magno, as well as valued acquisition Thiago Andrade are also protected due to their value not just to the team, but to the future transfer market. Same goes for Taty Castellanos, even if a January transfer move feels almost imminent — NYCFC need to cash in on that.

NYCFC should also do its best to retain the services of Santi Rodriguez who, if all goes well, could be the heir apparent to the No. 10 in the Bronx moving forward.

In Ismael Tajouri-Shradi’s case, it’s self-preservation. Though he’s not exactly a starter right now, leaving him unprotected with the body of work he’s amassed since joining the club all but ensures him heading to Charlotte next year.

Continued on next page…

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