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Jeff Larentowicz among 13 left unprotected by Atlanta United in expansion draft

Atlanta United defender Jeff Larentowicz (18) during the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

FC Cincinnati will have the opportunity to add a recent MLS Cup winner to its growing roster.

The club, which will become the 24th in MLS in 2019, will select five players from around the league in an expansion draft at 2 p.m. Tuesday. On Monday, Atlanta United FC, winners of the 2018 MLS Cup, released their list of unprotected players.

Among Atlanta’s unprotected players are defenders Mikey Ambrose, John Gallagher, Jose Hernandez, Jeff Larentowicz, Michael Parkhurst, Sal Zizzo and Chris McCann; midfielders Oliver Shannon, Kevin Kratz and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu; forwards Romario Williams and Brandon Vazquez; and goalkeepers Alec Kann and Mitch Hildebrandt.

Parkhurst is Atlanta’s captain and starting centerback, but he is also a free agent after the club declined his option on Sunday. Free agents are rarely selected in expansion drafts. Atlanta United said in a statement that it is negotiating with Parkhurst on a new contract.

Zizzo, Shannon, Wheeler-Omiunu and Hildebrandt also had their options declined by Atlanta. Hildebrandt played with Cincinnati when it was a USL side in 2016 and 2017. He was the USL’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016.

The lone regular starter left unprotected by Atlanta and available for selection by Cincinnati is Larentowicz, a veteran and versatile defender. He is a two-time MLS Cup winner and is fourth all-time in the league’s history for games played by non-goalkeepers. The 35-year-old has played in 47 games with the club over the past two seasons and started in four-of-five playoff games.

McCann played in 22 games with Atlanta this year, scoring once. Kratz played in 27 games and scored twice. Ambrose made eight starts, but a knee injury in July sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Williams played in 17 games and scored once, but has shown that he can produce more scores when given more playing time as the 24-year-old Jamaican striker has scored 29 USL goals in 56 appearances. Gallagher was Atlanta’s first round draft pick this past season and never saw playing time with the first team, but did tally six goals and five assists in 30 appearances with the club’s USL squad, ATL UTD 2.

Each team can only lose a single player to FC Cincinnati in the draft. If a team has a player selected, they will be compensated with $50,000 in general allocation money.




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