Lots of names have been presented to Sounders FC as they sift through the player data to choose the 10 guys they'll add to the club roster from the expansion draft.
Major League Soccer released the names of the players available today, and the Sounders released a statement soon after:
RENTON, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC officials have begun the final phase of their selection process for the 2008 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft. General manager Adrian Hanauer and technical director Chris Henderson will take 10 players in the draft this Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m. ET.
Seattle, set to become the 15th MLS team in the 2009 season, will claim one player from 10 existing teams; four teams will not lose any player. The league has distributed the list of available players.
Sounders FC has already signed four players for its inaugural season: Kasey Keller, goalkeeper; Sebastien Le Toux, forward; Freddie Ljungberg, midfielder; and Sanna Nyassi, midfielder.
Hanauer and Henderson will make their final determinations from the Emeryville, Ca., offices of Match Analysis, a provider of video and statistical analysis tools, archiving services, and value-added content for professional soccer.
Fans and pundits are mulling over which players the Sounders might select. Seattle must balance a need for midfielders and defenders, youth and experience, with lower and higher salaries as they make their list of ten.
In the two most-recent expansion drafts Toronto (2007) traded away nearly every player they picked and built their roster with the guys they got in return. In 2008 San Jose ended up keeping almost all of their expansion draft choices.
The Sounders have made moves (signing Keller and Ljungberg) that say "we want to win now," so there is reason to expect Seattle will take a few veterans in the draft if they can fit them within the MLS salary cap.
It has long been rumored that forward and Oregon native Nate Jaqua (Houston Dynamo) would be left unprotected, and he has been. Unless the Sounders have made some other deal with Houston, Jaqua seems like a lock to be one of the ten. If experience is the goal then Chicago's Brandon Prideaux, a journeyman MLS defender from the Seattle area, is unprotected and available.
The league champion Columbus Crew left midfielder Eddie Gaven available. Certainly he would have to be tempting for Hanauer and Henderson.
Many young prospects also dot the available players list. Sounders FC could take a defender on the verge of starting quality such as Kansas City's Tyson Wahl. They could gamble that Chicago's Calen Carr will mend from his injuries and spark again at forward.
More controversial figures are also options. New England's Khano Smith is a dynamite dribbler with speed to spare, but he also tends to hog the ball and foul too much. Jeff Parke (New York Red Bulls) would be a very nice start to building the SSFC defense, but he is also currently under a suspension from the league that will last four matches into the 2009 season (performance enhancing drug use).
This is an important few days in the life of the new Seattle franchise. Wednesday around 10:00 AM Seattle time we'll know which direction(s) Hanauer and Henderson decided to go. Then the focus will switch to other signees and possible trades leading up to training camp in late January 2009.