A few days ago, the question of who the Colorado Rapids would be protecting in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft became a lot less interesting, because of the 11 players that the Rapids declined options on, most of which are presumably not returning to the squad. The potential losses of Marvell Wynne, Nick Labrocca, Thomas Piermayr and Carlos Alvarez especially take some names we could have expected to see protected off the table. Even though one or two of them might return, that's a significant chunk of the roster now sliced out of the equation for the moment.
In addition, three important youngsters aren't eligible to be picked by NYCFC and OCSC anyway: Shane O'Neill, Dillon Serna, and Marlon Hairston. Those three would essentially be automatic saves if they were eligible, so the Rapids have even fewer options to pick from.
You might see the Rapids protecting guys like Jared Watts, John Berner and Tony Cascio come the draft, simply because they have few other options. On the bright side, this means that the core of the roster, including the less-important youngsters who are still growing into their roles, won't be able to get snagged away.
A full list of who we expect to be protected will come out later this week. For now, happy Thanksgiving!