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Diop Left Exposed in Expansion Draft

27-year-old ‘keeper is the surprise name in the list of unprotected Impact players ahead of tomorrow evening’s draft.

SOCCER: NOV 20 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Play-In - Montreal Impact at New England Revolution
Clement Diop, left unprotected by Montreal Impact in the 2021 Expansion Draft.
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

Montreal Impact v New England Revolution
Impact 2019 Player of the Year, Orji Okwonkwo has not been protected by the Impact for tomorrow evening’s expansion draft.

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.