[MLS EXPANSION DRAFT] Vancouver stocked up on forwards and attackers in the Expansion Draft -- then unloaded four of them in rapid fashion on Wednesday. Here’s a look at what the Whitecaps came up with and who went where with updates on moves made Thursday and Friday...
Expansion draft picks:
2011 MLS SuperDraft picks:
1st round (8th overall)
New international player slots:
1 from Chivas USA
1 from Colorado
New allocation money:
undisclosed amount from Chivas USA
undisclosed amount from Philadelphia
1. Sanny Nyassi (Seattle -- traded to Colorado). Mercurial right-sided mid who seemingly broke through the barrier last season was one of four picks to move on Wednesday, being dealt to 2010 champion Colorado for an international spot.
2. Atiba Harris (FC Dallas). An experienced attacker, he’s been shuffled between right mid and forward the past few years for RSL, Chivas USA and FCD. Not the craftiest player yet is a rugged battler who can get on the end of stuff. But a dead-certain starter? No.
3. Nathan Sturgis (Seattle). Took over central midfield duties midway through the season as well as set-play duties when Freddie Ljungberg departed for Chicago. Can he be as good without Oswaldo Alonso beside him? My guess is yes; he reads the game extremely well and has good feet. FRIDAY UPDATE: The Whitecaps traded Sturgis to Toronto FC for the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft.
4. Shea Salinas (Philadelphia). Some San Jose fans were disappointed when this electrifying young player was exposed for the last expansion draft; on a team teeming with such players, the Union protected others but not him. He and Nyassi should benefit from the ‘Caps' vaunted reputation at developing players, but are they big-time flank threats?
5. Alan Gordon (Chivas USA traded to Chivas USA). Journeyman striker moved down the hall from the Galaxy in midseason and now moves up the West Coast. Good team guy and adequate off the bench, but not a guaranteed starter. At least not yet.
6. O’Brian White (Toronto FC -- traded to Seattle). Native of Jamaica counts as a Canadian due to long-time residency in Ontario. Has battled injuries since leaving UConn while scoring four league goals in 33 appearances, and has the size (6-foot-1) and speed to succeed, but may not be ready to assume the scoring burden right away.
7. Alejandro Moreno (Philadelphia - traded to Chivas USA). Another back-to-back expansion pick, Moreno struggled with a knee contusion and other injuries while scoring just two goals in 26 games. The Venezuelan was a key member of the Crew’s 2008 championship team, and if not burned out at 31, has the experience and background to contribute.
8. Joe Cannon (San Jose). A patchwork season for the two-time Goalkeeper of the Year prompted the Quakes to expose him and not Jon Busch. He regained the starting job from Busch but then suffered a broken ankle that ended his season. Should be popular with the fans as well as teammates.
9. Jonathan Leathers (Sporting KC). Played 15 games at right back for the Wizards as a rookie out of Furman in 2008, then fell down the depth chart a bit to play only 19 times the past two seasons. A good athlete who’s still learning the ropes of pro ball, he’s fast and has promise.
10. John Thorrington (Chicago). A tough, smart box-to-box midfielder who can also play right back. Thorrington’s bouts with injuries and the emergence of other players crowded him out of the Fire midfield; he played just five games in 2010. If healthy, at 31 he can bring experience, bite and range to the ‘Caps.