On Monday, the Sounders FC and the 17 other teams in Major League Soccer submitted their list of 11 protected players for the 2011 expansion draft which will populate the roster of the league’s 19th club, the Montreal Impact.
The top-scoring team in MLS in 2011, the Sounders FC opted to protect most of their attacking core, ensuring they will keep the players that scored 45 of their 56 goals.
The Sounders protected forwards Fredy Montero and Sammy Ochoa; midfielders Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle, Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani; and defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Jeff Parke. Additionally, defender Michael Tetteh is exempt from the expansion draft because he qualifies under an exception that allows teams to keep players under Generation adidas contracts without counting against the limit of protected players.
Montreal will be able to select one player from the Sounders FC’s unprotected list, which consists of goalkeepers Terry Boss, Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith; defenders Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, James Riley, Zach Scott and Tyson Wahl; midfielders Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Amadou Sanyang and Mike Seamon; and forwards Mike Fucito, Nate Jaqua, Pat Noonan and O’Brian White.
In each of the past two years, Seattle has lost the maximum number of players to the expansion draft, losing Sebastien Le Toux to Philadelphia in 2009 and Sanna Nyassi and Nathan Sturgis to Vancouver in 2010, though the Whitecaps then traded Nyassi to the Colorado Rapids and Sturgis to Toronto FC.
“We do feel like a family and when we lose a family member it’s always a little sad. It’s also a mixed emotion because in a lot of cases it can be a great opportunity for that player,” Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “I’m very happy for Sebastien and all the success he’s been able to have. Nathan had a bit of a tough year in Toronto, but Sanna did very well in Colorado. It’s sad, but then you hope that it’s a good situation for the player.”
Montero, 24, led the Sounders with 12 goals in 2011 and added nine assists in MLS play. In all competitions, he had 18 goals and 12 assists and was named Player of the Tournament in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, giving the Sounders at the USL and MLS levels that award each of the last four years. In his three-year MLS career, he has 34 goals and 26 assists, both tops on the all-time list for the Sounders FC.
Ochoa, 25, scored twice in just 100 minutes in MLS play, appearing in four matches off the bench after coming to the Sounders late in the season through the allocation process. Previously, he played five seasons for Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico.
Alonso, 26, enjoyed his best season as a Sounder with three goals and three assists in MLS play, adding to his tremendous play locking down the defensive midfield role as well as anyone in the league. In all competitions, he had seven goals and three assists, including a brace to advance the Sounders to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Comunicaciones in Guatemala. He has five goals and nine assists in three MLS seasons.
Evans, 26, scored a career-high five goals in 2011 to go with five assists, despite missing 14 games to injury. A five-year MLS vet, Evans spent the last three with the Sounders, netting nine goals and ten assists in 59 appearances. He came to Seattle after two seasons in Columbus, including an MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield winning club in 2008, where he had five goals and two assists in 30 appearances.
Fernandez, 26, came to the Sounders in mid-season in 2010 and had two goals and an assist in just 475 minutes his first season. He had a much more successful 2011 campaign though, registering nine goals in MLS play and 11 goals and five assists across all competitions. The Uruguayan midfielder appeared in the 2010 World Cup but has had injuries hinder recent calls since then.
Friberg, 25, played 26 matches in his first MLS season, notching one goal and two assists. He came to the Sounders last year from BK Hacken in his native Sweden. He appeared in 34 matches across all competitions.
Neagle, 24, enjoyed a breakout season in 2011, scoring five goals, including game-winners on the road against Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City and the second hat trick in club history against the Columbus Crew. He finished with seven goals and two assists across all competitions. The Thomas Jefferson High School product is the only Sounder on the current roster from the state of Washington.
Rosales, 30, earned MLS Newcomer of the Year honors after posting five goals and a team-record 13 assists in MLS in 2011. He joined the Sounders after a career that included time with Newell’s Old Boys and River Plate in his native Argentina and Ajax in Holland.
Zakuani, 23, suffered a fractured right leg that limited him to just six starts in 2011, but still ranks second on the club’s all-time scoring list with 16 goals. He notched two goals and two assists through five matches before fracturing his tibia and fibula in the opening minutes of Seattle’s 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on April 22. Along with his 16 goals, he has 12 assists in his MLS career. He is well on the path to recovery from the injury and the compartment syndrome that hindered his immediate progress after two surgeries to repair the fracture and relieve pressure in the leg.
Hurtado, 27, started 23 matches in 2011 after suffering an ACL tear in 2010 that limited him to just nine games. He now has 58 career MLS starts – all with the Sounders. He made the MLS All-Star squad in 2009.
Parke, 29, was among the league’s most consistent defenders in the latter part of the season. He started 28 matches in 2011, including 19 straight, and scored the game-winnning goal in a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on May 21. He has played two seasons with the Sounders after five seasons with the New York Red Bulls.
Tetteh, 22, was drafted in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of UC-Santa Barbara, signing a Generation adidas contract and forgoing his senior season with the Gauchos. He appeared in just one match with the Sounders, a 2-1 win over the Kitsap Pumas in the US Open Cup, and played in three matches on loan to Orlando City of the USL.
Montreal is expected to announce their ten selections on Wednesday at noon Pacific.