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All you need to know about 2018 MLS Expansion Draft

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Barber (left) poses with FC Cincinnati team owner Carl Lindner III. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA Today)

With MLS Cup capping the 2018 Major League Soccer season, the clock now turns toward the 2019 season. The MLS Expansion Draft is set for Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET and will be streamed live here. The event is part of a busy offseason, which includes the player combine and draft in early January.

FC Cincinnati, which in 2019 will become the league’s 24th team, will be able to select up to five players from an eligible pool of players left unprotected by the other teams. Clubs released their lists of unprotected players Tuesday.

All teams can lose only one player to FCC during the five-round draft. Any team that has a player selected by FCC in the draft will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

Cincinnati will have three minutes per round to make a selection, with no timeouts implemented and no traded allowed during the draft. 

The five teams who had players selected by Los Angeles FC during the 2017 draft — Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC — are exempt from the 2018 expansion draft.

FC Cincinnati will receive an additional undisclosed sum of allocation money as compensation for the five exempt teams. 

The remaining 18 clubs can protect 11 players between their senior, supplemental and reserve roster. Players with expiring contracts are considered part of a team’s senior roster. Players who had their option declined or are out of contract are part of the expansion draft and are not automatically protected.

Players on a club’s supplemental roster are eligible for the draft, while Generation Adidas players who have not graduated at the end of the 2018 season and homegrowns on a supplemental/reserve roster are automatically protected. Clubs do not have to use a protected slot for them. However, they do have to protect designated players if they don’t want them selected in the draft.

Players with a no-trade clause in their contract must be protected. Clubs are restricted in the number of international players they make available. Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three. If a club has three or fewer international players it may not make more than one international player available.

If a free agent is selected, FCC will gain his previous club’s ability to renegotiate a new contract consistent with the CBA before the beginning of Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 20.

If FC Cincinnati selects a supplemental/reserve roster player, the club must offer him a senior roster position.

FC Cincinnati will also have the right to renegotiate a drafted player’s salary (either up or down) without having to place such player on waivers or giving his previous club a right of first refusal.

Something that might make FCC fans excited, and certainly give them reason to follow the draft closely, is that quality players will be available for selection.

A year ago, LAFC selected Tyler Miller, who became the club’s starting goalkeeper, Latif Blessing, who had five goals and six assists in 30 appearances, 18 starts, and Marco Ureña, who scored just once and had five assists in 18 appearances.

LAFC also selected Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards, who they traded to the Montreal Impact for defender Laurent Ciman hours after the draft.

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