MLS Expansion Draft:
Who should the Montreal Impact protect and who should they let go?
With Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC entering the MLS in 2017, it is time for the league to hold another expansion draft. John Richan and I along with contributions from Sofiane Benzaza have drawn up our own list of protected players for the Montreal Impact as a preview to the upcoming expansion draft (December 13 2026).
- MLS Expansion Draft will take place on December 13th
- The Draft will consist of 5 rounds
- Each existing MLS club will be able to protect eleven players
- Each MLS club may only lose one player
- Homegrown and Generation Adidas Players are automatically protected and do not count towards the 11
Which 11 players should the Montreal Impact protect in this edition of the expansion draft?
1- Ignacio Piatti
2- Ambroise Oyongo
3- Laurent Ciman
4- Hernan Bernadello
5- Dominic Oduro
6- Matteo Mancosu
7- Marco Donadel
8- Victor Cabrera
9- Evan Bush
10- Hassoun Camara
11- Johan Venegas
Ignacio Piatti: Nacho has confirmed that he will be back for the 2017 season. We all know that Piatti is one of the most dangerous players in the league and absolutely essential to our attack. Piatti will obviously be on the Impact’s protected list.
Ambroise Oyongo: Oyongo is a young, exciting and versatile fullback, so exciting that he may be on his way out of Montreal in the near future. However, it is definitely worth protecting Oyongo in the case that he decides to return to Montreal. If we protect him, worse case scenario, we receive his transfer fee. Whichever way you look at it, Oyongo is a must protect for IMFC.
Laurent Ciman: There is absolutely no reason why the Impact wouldn't protect one of the most talented and dominant defenders in the league. No-brainer here, Le Général will be protected.
Hernan Bernadello: The Argentine was acquired by Montreal during the summer transfer window to solidify our midfield. He has fit in nicely with the team and executed his role very well. For our midfield, Bernadello is still young and can provide IMFC with a few more years of steady play. It is reasonable for the Impact to protect Bernadello
Dominic Oduro: After an up and down season, Oduro was one of the Impact’s most dangerous players during the playoffs. If we do not protect Oduro, he will assuredly be picked up by Atlanta or Minnesota. We need both his versatility and his pace and therefore we will protect the speedy Ghanaian.
Matteo Mancosu: As the heir apparent to Didier Drogba’s throne, Mancosu is a must protect for IMFC. The Italian has proved that he is a natural goal scorer, a clinical finisher and a great partner for Ignacio Piatti. He is a talented striker for a reasonable price and a must protect for the Montreal Impact.
Marco Donadel: While the Italian midfielder’s age is getting further and further from the good side of 30, Donadel has proved to us that he can still sit in front of our back four 4 and help fend off threats. Donadel has proved that he is a dominant central defending midfielder even at his age and deserves to be protected.
Victor Cabrera: We all love trashing Cabrera and blaming him for most of our backline’s mistakes, especially when it comes to aerial battles. So, the Impact need to protect him so he can keep on serving as MRS’s whipping boy! Seriously, Cabrera is a talented young CB with a lot of potential. If left unprotected, he would be immediately scooped up. We need to protect Cabrera.
Evan Bush: Bush may have trouble anticipating the play and with the precision of his clearances but he still remains one of the most talented shot stoppers in the league. He is our undisputed starter for next season and still has many more years to offer to Montreal. Bush is a must protect for IMFC.
Hassoun Camara: Finally, I have made my way down to our defensive MVP for the 2016 season. I preferred Camara to Donny Toia in this slot. Camara is by far our most dominant physical presence. He also has the ability to play both CB and FB depending on the situation. Despite his age, his versatility and physicality make him a better player than Toia. So I believe the Impact should protect Camara.
Johan Venegas: This is my most controversial pick. I have been struggling over it but I have finally arrived at the conclusion that Venegas is the player to protect over Harry Shipp and captain Patrice Bernier. I know that it is highly unlikely that the Impact will leave their captain unprotected but this is my list so I call the shots! Bernier is going to be around as a player for 1 more season. However, Venegas is a talented youngster with an impressive upside. Venegas’ long term potential trumps Bernier’s one season of superior talent and leadership. As for Shipp, I have simply not been impressed enough by him to prefer him to Venegas. However, as I have already said, you can be pretty sure that Adam Braz and company will protect Bernier over Venegas or Shipp. Reasonably, 2 of those 3 players will be left unprotected and it is very likely we see Atlanta or Minnesota pick one of them up.
1. Ignacio Piatti
2. Ambroise Oyongo
3. Laurent Ciman
4. Hernan Bernadello
5. Dominic Oduro
6. Matteo Mancosu
7. Marco Donadel
8. Victor Cabrera
9. Johan Venegas
10. Patrice Bernier
11. Hassoun Camara
Ignacio Piatti: He is in the top 5 offensive player in MLS since he joined the league. Unless you are getting 3 star players in return, Nacho’s swag, smile and charisma is worth too much
Ambroise Oyongo: His ambitions are in Europe and the Impact could find some value in getting some money out of his potential transfer (minus the MLS cut). If he stays in MLS, he is one of the best LB in the league
Laurent Ciman: Unless Thiago Silva is on his way to Montreal, Lolo is going nowhere..at least not in Atlanta or Minnesota.
Hernan Bernardello: I did not see his usefulness 100% then I was reminded of the Impact’s bench.
Dominic Oduro: The Impact has already suffered when it could not replace Dilly Duka or Justin Mapp. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Matteo Mancosu: He is supposed to convert his loan into an official transfer from Bologna and has too much value for the club, that does not have another experienced striker on its current roster. I doubt that Atlanta and Minnesota has good pasta anyways, not as good as on Dante street.
Marco Donadel: The Donadel of Fiorentina is back and the Impact will not and should not let him go. If he is in good physical shape, he will be excellent in 2017.
Victor Cabrera: Young and and more than decent, there is too much upside to lose Cabrera during the Expansion Draft.
Johan Venegas: He might be interesting to other MLS clubs but I like Venegas too much to see him perform , like he does with Costa Rican, elsewhere in MLS
Patrice Bernier: He is the best thing that happened to the club since joining the league. He is the whole package and as many will continue to undermine his skills, he will continue to prove them wrong. Trust me when I say this, many MLS coaches and GM would take Bernier in a heartbeat.
Hassoun Camara: He is the other best thing that happened to the club since joining the league. Generous, brave, risk-taker but he puts himself so much out there, that he is key to the Impact’s mojo. Back in 2013-2014, he could have easily left for a west coast team powerhouse but decided to stay in the 514.