Montreal Impact today unveiled its list of 12 protected players ahead of the MLS expansion draft taking place tomorrow evening.
The most surprising name not to be included is goalkeeper Clement Diop, suggesting Olivier Renard may have his eye on another last line of defence, or else feels confident moving forward with James Pantemis.
Another notable name left unprotected is 2019 Player of the year, Orji Okwonkwo. The Nigerian was not as effective in 2020 as he was in his first season, and his exclusion from the list is less surprising.
The Bleu/Blanc/Noir has protected defenders Luis Binks, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Mustafa Kizza and Joel Waterman, midfielders Ballou Tabla, Lassi Lappalainen, Emanuel Maciel, Samuel Piette, Amar Sejdic and Victor Wanyama, as well as forwards Romell Quioto and Mason Toye.
Other homegrown players aged 25 and younger are automatically excluded from the process. Those players are goalkeepers James Pantemis and Jonathan Sirois, defenders Clément Bayiha, Keesean Ferdinand and Karifa Yao, and midfielders Jean-Aniel Assi, Mathieu Choinière, Tomas Giraldo, Sean Rea, Nathan-Dylan Saliba and Rida Zouhir.
This means, as well as Diop and Okwonkwo, the following players can be selected by expansion side, Austin FC for next season: Rudy Camacho, Jorge Corrales, Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Bojan, Steeven Saba, Shamit Shome, Maximiliano Urruti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel.
Austin can select five players in the draft and clubs can lose up to only one player from their squad.