Nashville SC and Inter Miami will add a handful of pieces to their respective rosters in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft.
In previous seasons, the expansion draft has served a few purposes for incoming MLS sides.
The top purpose is to bolster a growing squad. Each team gets to pick five players, but there is no guarantee either side finishes with their chosen quintet.
Atlanta United, Minnesota United, Los Angeles FC and FC Cincinnati all traded at least one selection elsewhere in exchange for players and allocation money.
For example, LAFC picked Tyler Miller and Latif Blessing, then used its last two picks to package a deal for Montreal to get Laurent Ciman.
This mock draft will not project trades, just the five players who seem to be the best positional and monetary fits for the 2020 expansion sides.
Only one player can be chosen from a single club and five are exempt — FC Dallas, D.C. United, Houston, New York Red Bulls and Vancouver — because they had players chosen by FC Cincinnati last year.
Clubs that have a player taken Tuesday will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money.
The full list of eligible players was revealed Saturday morning and can be found here.
The draft begins at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Mock Expansion Draft
1. Inter Miami: Sebastien Ibeagha, D, New York City FC
Inter Miami has yet to solidify its back line.
With 49 appearances over the last two years, Sebastien Ibeagha is a solid piece to add at a low cost.
The New York City FC defender made $74,250 in guaranteed compensation last season, according to the MLS Players Association, so he will not be a pricey first player off the board.
It is not a sexy pick, but it builds defensive depth and he fits the mold of players Inter Miami has gone after through trades within MLS.
Ibeagha is 27. Miami has already added 27-year-old Victor Ulloa, 25-year-old Jay Chapman and 23-year-old Grant Lillard.
2. Nashville SC: Axel Sjoberg, D, Colorado Rapids
At one point, Axel Sjoberg was one of the more promising young defenders in MLS.
But since his breakout 2016 campaign, the Swedish center back has played in 43 games for the Colorado Rapids.
Combining the 28-year-old with Dave Romney in the middle of defense would hand Nashville a pair of solid MLS defenders to build around.
Sjoberg is a pit pricey since he made just under $180,000 in 2019, but he could be worth it as an aerial presence in need of a change of scenery.
3, Inter Miami: Brandon Vazquez, F, Atlanta United
Inter Miami’s forward group is starting to come together nicely with Monday’s addition of Jerome Kiesewetter.
At 21, Brandon Vazquez still has upside to deliver and he will not be getting consistent opportunities to score with Josef Martinez still residing in Atlanta.
Vazquez has three goals and two assists over 901 MLS minutes the last three seasons.
The only concern with taking Vazquez is the $166,000 in guaranteed compensation he earned in 2019. That could be viewed as too much for a depth forward.
4. Nashville SC: Alvas Powell, D, FC Cincinnati
Fullback may be the hardest position to discover talent at the MLS level.
Alvas Powell only played in 13 games for FC Cincinnati, but he could be a solid pickup for Nashville as it builds out of the back.
Powell played at a high level during his six seasons in Portland and he carries 134 games of MLS regular-season experience.
Paying a fullback close to $250,000 could be risky, but Powell has proven during his career he is worth the money.
5. Inter Miami: Tyler Miller, GK, LAFC
There are plenty of intriguing options on LAFC’s unprotected list.
One of the two expansion sides would be wise to go after a Supporters’ Shield winner, and Tyler Miller could be a good fit in goal for Inter Miami.
Miller, who like Powell is a previous expansion draft selection, earned 19 shutouts in 61 appearances over two seasons with the Black-and-Gold.
If LAFC is willing to move on from Miller by leaving him exposed, it could be advantageous for Inter Miami to snap him up.
6. Nashville SC: Abu Danladi, F, Minnesota United
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft has not found his footing with Minnesota United.
Abu Danladi has been buried under the depth chart and played less than 1,000 minutes in each of the last two seasons.
Bringing in Danladi to support Cameron Lancaster, Daniel Rios and David Accam would hand Nashville more MLS experience in the final third.
7. Inter Miami: Tomas Conechny, M, Portland Timbers
Tomas Conechny fits the profile of player Inter Miami is bringing into its midfield and forward collections.
The 21-year-old represented Argentina at youth levels and he has not received much of an opportunity to thrive in Portland.
Adding Conechny to the attack with Matias Pellegrini and Julian Carranza could give the South Florida side solid depth.
8. Nashville SC: Gedion Zelalem, M, Sporting Kansas City
Why not take a chance on Gedion Zelalem?
The 22-year-old was once viewed as a golden prospect at Arsenal. He moved away from England to Sporting Kansas City in March.
Zelalem did not catch on with the first team by appearing in nine games for 436 minutes.
The midfielder clearly has talent, but he needs the right opportunity to unlock it and reach the potential everyone raved about a few years back.
9. Inter Miami: Tsubasa Endoh, M, Toronto FC
Tsubasa Endoh has been a role player in his first three MLS seasons with Toronto FC.
The 26-year-old midfielder earned 878 minutes in 2019 and was on the field for a good chunk of the Reds’ run to MLS Cup.
With $75,000 in guaranteed compensation from 2019, Endoh is a cheap depth option to add to the midfield.
10. Nashville SC: Brian Rowe, GK, Orlando City
Brian Rowe is an intriguing name left exposed by Orlando City.
The 31-year-old is coming off a 110-save season in 32 games for the Lions.
Selecting the former LA Galaxy and Vancouver man could put a reliable set of hands in between the pipes for Nashville.
Nashville should learn from FC Cincinnati’s shortcomings by adding MLS veterans to a group of players moving up from USL.