Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Union lose Salinas, Moreno in Expansion Draft

The Philadelphia Union lost dynamic midfielder Shea Salinas and veteran forward Alejandro Moreno to the Vancouver Whitecaps in today's MLS Expansion Draft.

Union lose Salinas, Moreno in Expansion Draft

The Philadelphia Union lost dynamic midfielder Shea Salinas and veteran forward Alejandro Moreno to the Vancouver Whitecaps in today's MLS Expansion Draft. After Salinas was taken, the Union pulled Chris Seitz out of the pool of available players.

Moreno was later dealt to Chivas USA as both the Whitecaps and Portland Timbers unleashed a flurry of trades. Details are below.

Losing Salinas and Moreno are important, but the headline is removing Seitz from the pool of available players. It is a huge endorsement of a player who struggled mightily in his first full season as a starter.

Among the players not selected were the two who I thought would go: midfielder Andrew Jacobson and goalkeeper Brad Knighton.

In a conference call with reporters after the draft, Union manager Peter Nowak noted that Salinas did not play much last year, and was primarily a substitute. It seemed like Nowak wasn't too concerned about losing Salinas.

"As much as we all would like to to have [Salinas] with us this season, that's the unfortunate beauty of an expansion draft," Nowak said.

Regarding Seitz and Knighton, Nowak said he spoke with the players before the draft took place to deal with the psychological aspect of the situation.

"We tried to manage everyone, especially the goalkeepers, so that there wouldn't be any confusing stuff between those two," Nowak said. "We made a significant investment last year to get [Seitz]. We still believe in him, [but] it's not like Brad is not on the team - it's still both goalkeepers."

Nowak added that he does not think Seitz's confidence was affected by his turbulent season.

"It's still a work in progress - we all know, especially with the goalkeepers, that they need experience," Nowak said. "He will learn, even if it is the hard way.... Confidence was never a problem with Chris. It was different stuff, and we're trying to make it better."

Here's the complete list of players who were drafted:

Portland Timbers

1. Dax McCarty, FC Dallas midfielder (Daniel Hernández pulled off the board) *
3.
Eric Brunner, Columbus Crew defender (Kevin Burns pulled off the board)
5. Adam Moffat, Columbus Crew midfielder (No more Columbus players available)
7. Anthony Wallace, Colorado Rapids defender (Wells Thompson pulled off the board) ***
9. David Horst, Real Salt Lake defender (Collen Warner pulled off the board)
11. Robbie Findley, Real Salt Lake forward (No more Real Salt Lake players available)
13. Peter Lowry, Chicago Fire forward (Dasan Robinson pulled off the board)
15. Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA defender (No more Chivas USA players available)
17. Jordan Graye, D.C. United defender (Kurt Morsink pulled off the board) 
19. Arturo Alvarez, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper (No more San Jose players available) **

* - After the draft, Portland traded McCarty and some allocation money to D.C. United for midfielder Rodney Wallace and the lower of D.C.'s two fourth-round picks in the 2011 SuperDraft. 

** - After the McCarty trade, Portland traded Alvarez to Real Salt Lake for a second-round pick in the 2011 SuperDraft.

*** - After the Alvarez trade, Portland sent Anthony Wallace back to Colorado for allocation money.

Analysis: I have to say, taking Findley and Bornstein is a huge risk. Findley has publicly expressed a desire to move to Europe during the offseason, and Bornstein is known to be going to Mexico in January. Portland has their rights indefinitely if they come back to MLS, so there would not be a lottery. Still, this seems to me to be a waste of picks.

Vancouver Whitecaps

2. Sanna Nyassi, Seattle Sounders midfielder (Patrick Ianni pulled off the board) **
4.
Atiba Harris, FC Dallas midfielder (No more FC Dallas players available)
6. Nathan Sturgis, Seattle Sounders defender (No more Seattle players available)
8. Shea Salinas, Philadelphia Union midfielder (Chris Seitz pulled off the board)
10. Alan Gordon, Chivas USA forward (Mariano Trujillo pulled off the board) *
12. O'Brian White, Toronto FC forward (Julian de Guzmán pulled off the board) ***
14. Alejandro Moreno, Philadelphia Union (No more Philadelphia players available) *
16. Joe Cannon, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper (Tim Ward pulled off the board)
18. Jonathan Leathers, Sporting Kansas City defender (Eric Kronberg pulled off the board)
20. John Thorrington, Chicago Fire defender (last pick overall)

* - After the draft, Vancouver traded Gordon and Moreno to Chivas USA. The Whitecaps got allocation money and an international player roster spot in return. 

** - After the Gordon/Moreno trade, Vancouver traded Nyassi to Colorado for an international player roster spot.

*** - At the same time as the Nyassi trade, Vancouver sent O'Brian White to Seattle for allocation money.

Analysis: There's a lot of attacking players in this set of selections, and not so much defense. Sturgis is a starter, but Leathers is just for depth. The pick of Cannon is also notable. He's certainly a good goalkeeper, but Vancouver already had Jay Nolly. Now they have two starting-caliber goalkeepers. They had a backlog of forwards before the trade with Chivas, but that's been fixed... for now.


Overall analysis

Four teams did not have any players selected: Houston, Los Angeles, New York and New England. All four of those teams had good players and good values available.

I thought Portland got the best individual pick in Dax McCarty, and to trade him away is a stunner. The move leaves me with no doubt that Vancouver had the better overall draft. The Expansion Draft is not a time to gamble by selecting players who are trying to get out of the league. Even if Portland has already had talks with Findley, they still went for Bornstein.

As for the draft's effect on the Union, Peter Nowak still has to figure out his goalkeeping situation. It certainly looks like Nowak was hoping the draft would solve the problem for him, but that didn't happen. Seitz and Knighton got along quite well during this season, but we will have to see if there are any ramifications from the protection of Seitz.

With regard to the players the Union lost, I actually think Moreno's departure will have the bigger overall effect on the team. Yes, Salinas is the better of the two players, but the Union have plenty of depth in midfield. Moreno being gone clears the way for a forward partnership of Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga. 

How does this sound for a lineup:

Goalkeeper: Brad Knighton
Defenders: Jordan Harvey (left), Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Sheanon Williams (right)
Midfielders: Brian Carroll (holding), Justin Mapp (left), Fred (right), Roger Torres (attacking)
Forwards: Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga
Three subs: Jack McInerney, Kyle Nakazawa, Juan Diego González

Now I turn it over to you. Fire away in the comments with your reactions to the draft, and what you think the lineup should be next year.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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