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Rumor: Add Portland Timbers to the list of teams (unofficially) excused from the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft

Portland may extract one more benefit out of the deal it struck to send Fanendo Adi to FC Cincinnati.

Minnesota United FC v Portland Timbers Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Per the Twitter feed of ubiquitous reporter Caitlin Murray, Portland Timbers may have excused themselves from the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft, thanks to a mid-year deal with FC Cincinnati:

Adi is (still) FC Cincinnati’s biggest-name signing to date. He was signed in July 2018 to a Designated Player contract, in a deal that cost FCC close to $1 million in assorted MLS allocation monies. Though the Timbers would appear to have got good value out of the agreement, extracting a promise that they’d be spared the Expansion Draft by FCC seems a more than sensible add-on to the deal.

There are five teams definitely not participating in the draft: Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew, Toronto FC, and Sporting Kansas City. They all lost a player to LAFC in the 2017 Expansion Draft and are officially excluded from the 2018 exercise.

Throw in the strong suspicion that Vancouver Whitecaps - who handed Cincinnati a goalkeeper for not very much at all in the most recent MLS trade window - and now Portland have struck deals to keep themselves out of the draft, and it would appear FCC is going to have 16 MLS rosters to choose from on December 11.

Cincinnati can only choose five players total, and only one from any one team - so the majority of clubs with players officially or unofficially exposed to the Expansion Draft will get through it unscathed.