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D.C. United protect Yamil Asad, Oniel Fisher ahead of MLS Expansion Draft

D.C. United protected Yamil Asad ahead of MLS Expansion Draft. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

WASHINGTON — D.C. United midfielder Yamil Asad and defender Oniel Fisher are among 11 players protected ahead of Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, the club announced on Monday.

“Everything starts at the salary cap and where we see each player moving forward,” United general manager Dave Kasper said last month. “The salary cap dictates a lot of these positions.”

United declined the contract option of Argentine midfielder Yamil Asad, but quickly continued talks to bring him back to D.C. Asad scored nine goals and recorded eight assists in 2018.

“I am confident in the sense that [Asad] really wants to be here and that is really important,” Kasper told Pro Soccer USA. “We have been in contact with his club, Velez Sarsfield, in Argentina. I believe it will be a bit of a process, but I am hopeful we can reach an agreement to get him back.”

United also protected Fisher, who was one of three free agents attached to the club in the 2018 season. The Jamaican national team defender started 20 of the 24 games he played in this year before a season-ending knee injury in October.

Fisher is on the path to recovery after having surgery to repair damage to his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. He is in negotiations with United and is projected to return late next summer, according to Kasper.

United protected both Designated Players, Wayne Rooney and Paul Arriola, who are not automatically protected from draft selection. Homegrown players Jalen Robinson and US youth international Chris Durkin, on the other hand, are automatically protected. 

Protected players will not be eligible for selection by FC Cincinnati in the expansion draft that begins Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. ET. Cincinnati will have a total of five selections from an available 255 eligible players, but can only select one player from each of the 18 clubs available.

Each round of expansion since 2014 has involved two incoming clubs selecting from the eligible player list. LAFC, who played its inaugural season in 2018, is considered in the same expansion round as Cincinnati. Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, San Jose, Columbus and Toronto are all exempt after each had a player selected by LAFC in last year’s expansion draft. 

Here is a full list of United’s protected and unprotected players:

Protected

  • Luciano Acosta
  • Yamil Asad
  • Paul Arriola
  • Steven Birnbaum
  • Russell Canouse
  • Oniel Fisher (free agent)
  • Bill Hamid
  • Júnior Moreno
  • Joseph Mora
  • Wayne Rooney
  • Ulises Segura

Automatically Protected

  • Chris Durkin
  • Jalen Robinson

Unprotected

  • Darren Mattocks (free agent)
  • Vytautas Andriuškevičius
  • Bruno Miranda
  • Frédéric Brillant
  • Nick DeLeon
  • Kevin Ellis
  • Chris Odoi-Atsem
  • Kofi Opare
  • Jared Jeffrey
  • Dane Kelly
  • David Ousted
  • Zoltan Stieber
  • Travis Worra (free agent)

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