With the 2012 Expansion Draft right around the corner - and by right around the corner, I mean five days a way - it's worth a look at who the Red Bulls should be protecting and who they can leave for the Montreal Impact.
Expansion Draft rules, found here, stipulate teams can protect 11 players and Homegrown or Generation adidas players are protected. Furthermore, the number of international players teams can make available is limited.
The draft will be held via conference call on Wednesday Nov. 23 and the protected player list is due Nov. 21.As Homegrown or Generation adidas players, Juan Agudelo, Corey Hertzog, Matt Kassel, Tyler Lassiter and Sacir Hot are all protected
For speculation's sake the Bulls should protect: Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers, Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Tim Ream, Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Dax McCarty, Teemu Tainio.
Designated Players don't need to be protected, but Soler won't give Montreal the chance to take Henry or Marquez, even though Montreal might not want to pay either man's salary. Letting Rodgers, Lindpere, Richards, Ream or Solli go would be idiotic, even if Lindpere or Ream might not be around next year. Keel is a prime target with his late season play and his $42,000 salary. As for Mendes, McCarty and Tainio, they have proven to be effective MLS players (even if only part of the time).
It was a tough call choosing between Miller and McCarty, but the Red Bulls have Lassiter and Hot who could fill in defensively and the team could use depth in the midfield and McCarty's only 24.
That leaves Bouna Condoul, Alex Horwath, Frank Rost, Chris Albright, Mike Jones, Roy Miller, Teddy Schneider, Stephane Auvray, Mehdi Ballouchy, Brian Nielsen, Marcus Paullo, Carl Robinson and John Rooney exposed.
Exposing the team's entire goalkeeping corps might not make much sense, but Montreal already has a prospect in between the posts in Evan Bush, so even if they take one of our keepers, we still have two. The salaries Rost and Condoul command could scare Montreal off and with Rost's future in New York in question, Montreal more than likely would not take that chance.
Leaving Ballouchy exposed isn't wishful thinking. With Ballouchy's visa issues, unless Montreal really, really wants him, they'll leave him be.
The only exposed players really in play for the Red Bulls are Auvray, Albright and Miller. Auvray speaks French and could be a solid defensive option in the midfield or a good depth move. Albright and Miller are both older players and Albright had injury issues last season. Paullo, Robinson, Rooney or Schneider leaving for Quebec really doesn't do much to hurt the team, as none of those guys really got a shot this year.
We'll find out Monday how close I am.