Crew Cuts: Draft dodging
Major League Soccer's 16th team, the Philadelphia Union, will select its first 10 players Wednesday in an expansion draft. The league has yet to release draft rules, but assuming last year's plan stands, each team can protect 11 players, and no squad can lose more than one. Here's my take on who the Crew should protect and who they should expose to the draft.
Who to protect:
1. Guillermo Barros Schelotto, F The greatest player ever to don a Crew uniform has at least one year left in those legs.
2. Chad Marshall, D He's the two-time reigning MLS Defender of the Year.
3. Robbie Rogers, M Despite rampant debate over his effectiveness this season, he's the Crew's purest midfield talent and most valuable bargaining chip.
4. Brian Carroll, M Carroll has played on four straight Supporters' Shield winners dating to his stint with D.C. United.
5. Danny O'Rourke, D-M The hometown hero is the most versatile player on the roster and the 2009 club MVP.
6. William Hesmer, G Even if rumors of Brad Friedel's return turned out to be true, letting Hesmer go would be foolish.
7. Gino Padula, D Seasoned, dependable left backs are a treasured find.
8. Eric Brunner, D Columbus kid Brunner made a lot of mistakes during his first year in the league, but he has the makings of an MLS lifer.
9. Jed Zayner, D After years riding the bench, this year he proved himself heir apparent at right back.
10. Eddie Gaven, M Coming off a career year, Gaven should be protected despite a big salary that might keep suitors away.
11. Emmanuel Ekpo, M Ekpo has been underwhelming, but some folks think he's good, so Columbus should keep him and sell high.
Who to expose:
Frankie Hejduk, D He's the team's beating heart, but his age, salary and poor playoff performance should scare Philly away.
Jason Garey, F; Steven Lenhart, F; Alejandro Moreno, F; Emilio Renteria, F All of these strikers are decent, but replaceable.
Adam Moffat, M A history of injuries and middling performance this year make him expendable.
Andy Iro, D Brunner eclipsed him on the depth chart.