November 15, 2006 article "Talent up for grabs in Toronto draft" (from Staff)

11/15/2006 4:48PM
Talent up for grabs in Toronto draft
By Jonathan Nierman / Staff

Major League Soccer is set to hold the 2006 MLS Expansion Draft on Friday at 1 p.m. ET, giving the league's 13th team, Toronto FC, the opportunity to add 10 players to its ranks. The 12 current league teams were each allowed to protect 11 players on their 28-man rosters, and the league released the list of unprotected players - those available to the Canadian club - on Tuesday evening.

Toronto FC head coach Mo Johnston has a lot of decision-making to do, as there is a wealth of talent at his disposal, including players of all experience levels. Up-and-coming prospects and MLS originals are side-by-side on the unprotected list, as are U.S. players, international players and even some Canadians.

Nationality will certainly be a factor as Johnston makes his picks, as Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be considered domestic players for the expansion side. The club will be allowed to hold 13 international players on its final roster, with five as youth internationals (up to 24 years old), up to four senior internationals (25 years or older) and an additional three senior internationals who would qualify as domestic players on a U.S.-based MLS team.

The Canadians available for selection on Friday include MLS Cup champion Adrian Serioux of Houston Dynamo. Serioux come to the league prior to the start of the 2006 season when he was signed by the New York Red Bulls, who were then coached by Johnston. Real Salt Lake midfielder Andy Williams also could be considered a domestic player if chosen by Johnston, as the MLS journeyman and Jamaican national team veteran was born in Toronto and has Canadian citizenship.

Many highly-regarded goalkeepers have been left unprotected, though it remains to be seen if Johnston will choose to select any. Zach Thornton (Chicago Fire), Jon Busch (Columbus Crew), Jonny Walker (Columbus Crew), Tony Meola (New York Red Bulls) and Bo Oshoniyi (Kansas City Wizards) are all experienced veterans that are up for the taking.

The experience doesn't stop in the net, however, as five MLS originals are also available. Fire men Diego Gutierrez, Tony Sanneh and Zach Thornton all were a part of the league's inaugural season in 1996, as were Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones and RSL striker and all-time MLS leading scorer Jason Kreis. Other team leaders have also been left in the open, including Simo Valakari (FC Dallas) and Joe Franchino (New England Revolution), who each served as captain of his side in 2006.

Johnston won't have any trouble finding talent for the future, either, as many of the league's top prospects could find themselves in Toronto after Friday. Rod Dyachenko (D.C. United), Dominic Oduro (FC Dallas) and Calen Carr (Chicago Fire) are only a few of the players on the unprotected list who made significant impacts on their respective clubs during their rookie campaigns in 2006.

The expansion draft rules state that no more than one senior international from each team can be left unprotected, and many teams have put one on the block. D.C. United's Matias Donnet (of Argentina) and the Revolution's Avery John (of Trinidad & Tobago) highlight the players in that category.

No matter what happens Friday, no existing team will be decimated by the expansion draft, as Johnston is only allowed to select one player per team, meaning two teams won't lose any players at all. Additionally, Generation adidas players have been automatically protected, meaning that a team's top young players aren't available for selection by Toronto.

Complete results of the 2006 MLS Expansion Draft will be available on shortly after it concludes.

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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