With 192 players available to the Union in today's Major League Soccer Expansion Draft, Daily News sports writer Kerith Gabriel enlisted Bryan James, president of the Union's fan club, the Sons of Ben, to select the 10 best.
1. Jesse Marsch, midfielder, Chivas USA. Marsch is older, but gets better with age. A part of the league since its inception, Marsch makes solid contributions as a leader and a proven goalscorer (31 goals, 40 assists in 321 appearances). The 36-year-old also played alongside Union coach Peter Nowak in Chicago (1998-2002).
2. Gonzalo Segares, defender, Chicago Fire. The former Costa Rican international is steady, but was biding time to show his stuff behind talented back CJ Brown in the Windy City.
3. Devon McTavish, midfielder, D.C. United. Another player who would fit well in Nowak's 3-5-2 system, McTavish is crafty, young and will probably come cheap. Extremely versatile, the 25-year-old was utilized as a center back, a defensive midfielder and at right mid.
4. Michael Chabala, defender, Houston Dynamo. Chabala labored in Houston's reserve system. Since a debut with the first team in April (and then July following a loan to USL First Division side Austin Azteks), this 25-year-old set career highs for games, starts and minutes in the 2009 season.
5. Matthew Besler, defender, Kansas City Wizards. Besler is an up-and-comer in the U.S. system who has been a part of the national team pool for 5 years. A 2008 All-America out of Notre Dame, Besler's potential departure has caused a stir among Wizards fans. There's got to be a reason why.
6. Pat Noonan, forward-midfielder, Colorado Rapids. From his days at Indiana until now, this 29-year-old has been a scoring threat. In his 5-year career, Noonan has 37 goals and 29 assists. That's productivity, plain and simple.
7. Todd Dunivant, defender, Los Angeles Galaxy. It was a toss-up between Dunivant and midfielder Alecko Eskandarian, from the Galaxy's loaded list of availables. Esky learned Nowak's 3-5-2 during his time in D.C. but is injury-prone.
8. Nick Zimmerman, midfielder, New York Red Bulls. You need speed on the outside, and at 22, Zimmerman gives you that. Despite coming off a rookie campaign with the Red Bulls, Zimmerman's play has shown he doesn't need a lot of hand-holding and ... he should come cheap.
9. Ned Grabavoy, midfielder, Real Salt Lake. Just one look at the spark Grabavoy provided off the bench this season and it's hard not to imagine what he could do in signal blue - maybe even as a starter.
10. James Riley, defender, Seattle Sounders. At 27, Riley boasts 4 years of MLS experience, his first 3 with New England (2005-07). He fits well as a utility man.
Sleeper seven: Jim Curtin, defender, Chivas USA; Pat Onstad, goalkeeper, Houston Dynamo; Kevin Hartman, goalkeeper, Kansas City Wizards; Pat Phelan, defender, New England Revolution; Andy Williams, midfielder, Real Salt Lake; Bobby Convey, forward, San Jose; Shea Salinas, midfielder, San Jose.