Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Exercise in futility

Another year, another expansion draft.

A year ago, Toronto FC pillaged from around the then-12 team league to form the basic foundation of its club. Now, it's San Jose's turn to scour from the 13 existing teams.

San Jose coach Frank Yallop will have this list of players to select from. It's quite an expansive list. There are some MLS Cup winners on there, former league award winners and all-stars and high draft choices - there's even a World Cup winner on there!

In the end, though, this draft won't mean much. In fact, it won't mean anything. There may be some serviceable players who come out of this draft, and some of them might even do well for San Jose. But if the last three expansion teams' draft history is any indication, San Jose's opening day lineup will not consist of many of the guys on the aforementioned list.

A quick review of the 2004 and 2006 expansion drafts:


Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake entered the league with different philosophies. Chivas wanted Hispanic players while RSL just wanted players. The two teams stockpiled their respective first-ever rosters with old players, young players, American players, foreign players but looking back most of those guys were simply marginal players.

Here's what happened with the expansion drafts:

Arturo Torres, quit
Orlando Perez, with team
Ezra Hendrickson, traded early 06
Francisco Gomez, cut early 06
Antonio de la Torre, cut preseason 05
Matt Taylor, cut mid 07
Craig Ziadie, vanished
Jamil Walker, cut preseason 05
Thiago Martins, traded preseason 06
Jeff Stewart, vanished

Andy Williams, with team
DJ Countess, gone
Pablo Brenes, gone
Brian Kamler, gone
Nelson Akwari, gone
Chris Brown, with team
Matt Behncke, gone
Rusty Pierce, gone
Kevin Ara, gone
Erick Scott, gone

I went into detail with Chivas USA because I've literally been there from the beginning, from the first-ever expansion draft at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim in November 2004. Thomas Rongen was all smiles, Arturo Torres was all smiles and everything seemed good. The only players who made any sort of impact, though, were Orlando Perez and Ezra Hendrickson. Torres and Matt Taylor played significant minutes during their respective Chivas careers but neither did much except run a lot.

RSL has Andy Williams and Chris Brown still around but some of those other guys are just scary, like when you pull out some stinky brown and dark green mush that used to be food from your refrigerator scary.


Toronto coach Mo Johnston tried a different approach. Instead of stockpiling a team, he stockpiled players he could trade away. He selected some good players last year but their contributions for Toronto FC were nonexistent.

Toronto FC
Paulo Nagamura, gone
Danny O'Rourke, gone
Jose Cancela, gone
Adrian Serioux, gone
Nate Jaqua, gone
Rod Dyachenko, gone
Jason Kreis, gone
Tim Regan, gone
Ritchie Kotschau, gone
Will Hesmer, gone

Not one player is still with the team. I don't know if any one of these guys even made it past May. Honestly, I think that was an absurd way of going about things but whatever.

Anyway, if you are trying to guess what San Jose's first-ever roster will look like based on the expansion list, forget it. Now, that doesn't mean we all can't play the role of GM and try to piece together a roster from it, not at all. In fact, I'm probably going to do that later myself. But it'll ultimately be as pointless as the real draft itself.


Toddzilla said...

I'm willing to stake my reputation as a know-nothing on the fact that San Jose will take Denilson first. He's been so good for FC Dallas, I'd really hate to see him go. Really.

No, really. I wouldn't lie to my friends in San Jose.

Jaime Cárdenas said...


I just spent 30 minutes coming up with a mock draft...are you saying that was a waste of time? Sigh.

Here's what I would do if I was SJ.

1- Brian Carroll (D.C. United)
2- Josh Tudela (Galaxy)
3- Clerance Goodson (F.C. Dallas)
4- Ryan Cochrane (Houston)
5- Preston Burpo (Chivas USA)
6- Connor Casey (Colorado)
7- Chris Pozniak (Toronto FC)
8- Ned Grabavoy (Columbus)
9- John Wolyniec (New York)
10- Chris Loftus (New England)

Samantha said...

How did Chivas acquire Nagamura? I was reading on wikipedia, and if you can't trust that I don't know who you can trust, that Chivas got Nagamura by giving up Amado to TFC but as far as I know both those guys are members of the Chivas organization in some way shape or form. I thought of this while my boyfriend and were coming up with our draft lists last night. We ended up going back through the expansion drafts to see who actually made a difference on the team they were drafted by.

Yep, we need lives. I'm not going to lie.;)

L.B. said...

As I prepare to do my own mock draft...

Nagamura came over for Chivas' 2008 first-rounder. Originally it was supposed to be a Guevara-for-Paulo-plus-picks deal but that fell through when Guevara whined his way out of the league.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Regarding Toronto, Mo Johnston used most of those players as bait for trades. He traded Kreis and Serioux the same day as the expansion draft. Still, you're right. In player-personnel decisions, Mo is to the Eastern Conference what Alexi is to the Western Conference. Perhaps now that he has some decent defenders (Wynne, Marshall, Dunivant, sound familiar, Galaxy fans?), he won't make so many changes.

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