The Chicago Fire and other Major League Soccer teams submitted their 11-player protected lists Monday in preparation for Wednesday's MLS Expansion Draft for the Montreal Impact.
Among some of the Fire's noteworthy players left unprotected are forward Diego Chaves, midfielder Daniel Paladini, and defenders Dan Gargan, Josip Mikulic and Yamith Cuesta.
Fire's 11-player protected list: Sean Johnson (GK), Cory Gibbs (D), Jalil Anibaba (D), Gonzalo Segares (D), Pavel Pardo (M), Logan Pause (M), Marco Pappa (M), Sebastian Grazzini (M), Orr Barouch (F), Patrick Nyarko (F/M), Dominic Oduro (F)
Unprotected list (available for Impact selection): Jon Conway (GK), Alec Dufty (GK), Yamith Cuesta (D), Dan Gargan (D), Steven Kinney (D), Josip Mikulic (D), Pari Pantazopoulos (D), Mike Banner (M), Michael Videira (M), Daniel Paladini M), Baggio Husidic (M), Cristian Nazarit (F), Gabriel Ferrari (F), Diego Chaves (F)
Exempt from selection (Generation adidas or homegrown status): Corben Bone (M), Kellen Gulley (F), Victor Pineda (M)
Impact head coach and former Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch certainly will have his share of player options to choose from.
Chaves came to the Fire with high expectations, but it is not too surprising that he was left unprotected heading into the expansion draft. Chaves had a good start and decent finish to the 2011 season with six goals. But Chaves went through a long goal-less stretch and saw his playing time dwindle.
Gargan was a key midseason acquisition for the Fire during the 2011 campaign, adding stability to a back line that was short on outside back options. His name typically was third on the midseason hierarchy mention, with midfielders Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo grabbing most of the attention. But Gargan filled the right back role quite well. His absence from the Fire's 11-man list probably stands out the most, so it would not be out of the question to see the 28-year-old Gargan bound for Montreal. Gargan has become a bit of an MLS journeyman since the Colorado Rapids drafted him in 2005.
There are a number of ways that Montreal could look upon the Fire's roster, and it appears that Chicago is most willing to part with someone on the defensive end. Along with Gargan, center backs Mikulic and Cuesta both posted plenty of starting minutes for the Fire this past season. The 22-year-old Cuesta had 18 starts and 1,681 minutes, and the 25-year-old Mikulic had 12 starts and 1,038 minutes.
Last year the Fire lost a pair of midfielders in John Thorrington (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Peter Lowry (Portland Timbers), and Montreal could go in that direction this year. Paladini is a viable option, having earned 16 starts this year for Chicago. University of Illinois-Chicago product and 2009 draft pick Baggio Husidic also was left unprotected. The third-year midfielder is coming off a season that included zero goals and two assists, but Montreal might see some potential if Husidic returned to the five-goal, three-assist performance that he logged in 2010.