The 2019 MLS Expansion Draft is taking place on Tuesday, November 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET and each MLS club was required to release their list of protected players on Friday, November 15. Here is the list that the Colorado Rapids came up with.
- Forwards (5): Kei Kamara, Jonathan Lewis, Sam Nicholson, Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki
- Midfielders (2): Nicolás Mezquida, Jack Price
- Defenders (3): Keegan Rosenberry, Tommy Smith, Deklan Wynne
- Goalkeepers (2): Clint Irwin, Andre Rawls
Automatically Protected (All Homegrown Players):
- Forwards (1): Matt Hundley
- Midfielders (3): Kellyn Acosta, Cole Bassett, Dillon Serna
- Defenders (4): Sebastian Anderson, Kortne Ford, Sam Raben, Sam Vines
Players Available for Selection:
- Forwards (1): Niki Jackson
- Midfielders (1): Johan Blomberg
- Defenders (4): Kofi Opare, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Axel Sjöberg, Danny Wilson
- Goalkeepers (1): Tim Howard
Jonathan Lewis has apparently graduated from the Generation adidas program—though no one seems to know how a player actually completes the program—which is why the club had to include him on the protected list.
Kellyn Acosta was a homegrown with FC Dallas, so he keeps that designation with the Rapids.
Any player with a contract through the end of 2019 needs to be accounted for, which is why we see Tim Howard’s name even though he’s retired and Johan Blomberg even though he’s on loan until the end of his contract.
I was surprised about two of the names on the Protected list: Deklan Wynne and Andre Rawls. Wynne was injured for most of the year and would have potentially lost his starting spot to Sam Vines anyway. I also expected them to let Wynne go after this season. That being said, leftbacks are hard to come by in MLS, so maybe the Rapids wanted to keep some depth at that spot? Or maybe there’s a trade in the works that we don’t know about that involves Wynne?
As I mentioned in my post about the draft, I was conflicted about whether or not to protect third-string goalkeeper Andre Rawls. I think he’s talented and a great back-up option, but young back-up keepers aren’t that difficult to come by. I would’ve chosen to protect Niki Jackson or a centerback like Kofi Opare or Abdul Rwatubyaye instead.
But if you take a look at the complete list of available players on MLSSoccer.com, I don’t think the Rapids are too worried anyway. Colorado hasn’t had a player taken in an Expansion Draft since Tony Cascio and Danny Mwanga in 2014.