Sounders Insider

Expansion list more than protecting 11 best players

The protected/unprotected lists will be revealed today for the expansion draft that will stock the Montreal Impact on Wednesday.

Coach Sigi Schmid was asked about the Sounders' though process in assembling the list: specifically, how much is just protecting the best 11 players, and how much is trying to anticipate Montreal's philosophy and then maybe trying to sneak through some unprotected players you'd really like to keep.

His response:

Yeah, it's a little bit of that. People always think protection is protecting your best players. And sometimes it's not like that. The first year, the original understanding was that we didn't have to protect DPs. So we actually had Sebastien (Le Toux) on our protected list. And then we were told we had to protect (Freddie) Ljungberg, so that became more of a positional decision and OK, we end up losing Sebastien.

Last year it was that we had heard an awful lot that Portland and (coach John Spencer) really liked (Mike) Fucito. So we were thinking if we expose Fucito there's a good chance we'll lose him and maybe if we expose Sanna (Nyassi) there's a smaller chance. We didn't know that Colorado was all excited about Sanna, and so we ended up losing him that way. So what you're looking at a little bit is you're looking at who do you think they would want? Or is there another team out there that really wants somebody that bad that they might try and sneak him that way?

Then you're looking at, 'Is a team really going to pick (this player)? OK, this guy's an important player to us, but maybe he's a little older, so are they really going to pick an older guy? OK, positionally, these are some of the guys who should be out there. So yeah, our guy's good, but they'll probably take this guy because he's a lower budget number versus taking that guy, who's a higher budget number.' So you look at all those things and then you try to figure out who you're going to protect. Yes, you are protecting your best players, but then you're looking at the last three to four guys it's a little bit of a game: 'Who you think somebody's going to take?'

OK, Steve Zakuani's coming off an injury. Is he going to make it back 100 percent? Do you protect him or not protect him? Well, chances are if you don't protect him, he's probably gone. You know, so now you've got to protect him. But is he coming back? We don't know. O'Brian White: Is he going to make it off his injury? We don't know. He's still only able to run at 50 percent. So do you protect him, do you not protect him? What happens if you don't protect him? Does he get taken?

I'm sure Salt Lake didn't think that (Robbie) Findley was going to get taken since he'd said, 'I'm going to Europe,' but yet he did. Now if he fails after one more year at Nottingham Forest and comes back, he belongs to Portland., he doesn't belong to (RSL). That was the risk that (Spencer) was willing to take. So you're trying to gauge the coach and what's he going to take. So then you look at who Montreal took in discovery. Well, they took a defender who's playing in Denmark now -- an American kid -- and then they took a big forward in the USL, the guy who was the leading goal-scorer. Does that mean they'll necessarily pick a big forward (today)? Maybe we can expose a big forward. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes you guess wrong. For sure the better teams stand a better chance of possibly losing a player.