Predicting the 2020 FC Dallas Expansion Draft protected list

The 2020 MLS Expansion Draft is next Tuesday, December 15th, and Austin FC will be picking 5 players. FC Dallas is eligible to have a player selected and can protect 12 players from their senior, supplemental, and reserve rosters.

There is a half-day trade window the morning of the 13th and FCD will file their actual protected list that afternoon as the list of players eligible for selection will be announced on Monday the 14th.

Expansion Draft Rules

I’ve tried to simplify these rules, if you want to verbose version go here.

  • If a player’s contract expires at the end of 2020, he is still part of the club’s Roster.
  • If a club protects a player, the club is not obligated to exercise the player’s option and may renegotiate a new contract. 
  • Free Agents are not automatically protected and are eligible for selection.
  • Generation adidas players who have not graduated and Homegrown Players (ages 25 and under) are automatically protected.
  • Designated Players are not automatically protected.
  • If a player has a no-trade clause in his contract, his MLS club must protect him in their 12 player list.
  • If a player retires, he will not be a part of the Expansion Draft, but his club will lose its right of first refusal to him should he ultimately decide to re-enter the league.

Site note: Normally, we might suggest FCD agree to trade a player in advance of the draft in partial exchange for an agreement not to pick one of their other players. But FCD has so few exposed players it doesn’t matter this time.

FC Dallas Protected List

Here’s our list of the 12 players FC Dallas should protect.

1Bryan Acosta
3Michael Barrios
4Matt Hedges
5Ryan Hollingshead
6Franco Jara
7Jimmy Maurer
9Fafa Picault
10Andres Ricaurte
11Thiago Santos
12Nkosi Burgess (or Ema Twumasi)

FCD has the room and they are negotiating with Bressan and Phelipe so keep them protected. If you expose either they are at risk for selection. Although Phelipe being on loan he might be an auto-protect.

FC Dallas Automatic Protection List

This is the key for Los Toros. They have a massive list of automatically protected players.  It’s a side benefit to having so many Homegrowns 25 and under.

I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous.

Francis AtuaheneGeneration adidas
Edwin CerrilloHomegrown
Justin CheHomegrown signed for 2021
Jesus FerreiraHomegrown
Eddie MunjomaHomegrown
Johnny NelsonGeneration Adidas
Ricardo PepiHomegrown
Paxton PomykalHomegrown
Bryan ReynoldsHomegrown
Thomas RobertsHomegrown
Dante SealyHomegrown
Brandon ServaniaHomegrown
Tanner TessmannHomegrown
Ema TwumasiGeneration adidas

Generation adidas Graduation

Ema Twumasi and Francis Atuahene could be graduated from Generation Adidas which usually happens before the season in which the player turns 25 or if certain playing time levels are met.

FCD has already declined Atuahene’s option so add him to the exposed list below if he’s graduated. Francis turns 25 next season so I think he probably will be. So yes – see above rules – he will be on the FCD lists for expansion draft purposes.

Given they picked up his option, FCD will likely want to protect Twumasi if he’s graduated (24 y.o. next season) so place him on the protected list in Burgess’ place if needed. Burgess – given his small playing sample size – is probably a lower risk for selection than Twumasi. I don’t expect Twumasi to be graduated, however.

Only two seasons into his career, Johnny Nelson shouldn’t be graduated for age (22 during 2021) or for playing time (just 20 games).

FC Dallas Exposed List

The two lists above leave FC Dallas with a very short exposure list. Most of them were already option declined or out of contract and get a “thank you” post from FCD.

Only one player that FCD plans to keep should be is exposed unless Twumasi is graduated then add Burgess to the list.

Francis AtuaheneIf he’s graduated, he will be unprotected.
Callum MontgomeryEven though the option was declined, he’s still on the FCD list as far as the expansion draft goes. FCD should try and trade his MLS rights on the half-day trade window.
Santiago MosqueraContract options declined but he will still be in the expansion draft. He’s already talking to multiple teams back in South America.
Reto ZieglerOut of contract, 35 years old in January.
Kyle ZobackA 30-year-old 3rd string keeper is a very low risk of selection. He’s the only exposed player on my list that Dallas intends to keep.

Update (12/13/20): As I suggested here, FC Dallas traded Callum Montgomery’s right to Minnesota United in the December 13th half-day trading window.


  1. Is the protected list who you think they will protect or who you would protect? Acosta and Jara don’t seem worthy of protecting.

  2. Even though their exposed list is rather small, I wonder if FCD will try to swing a deal for some GAM/TAM by trading someone like Brandon Servania. I’d hate to see Servania go, but I also realize they’ve got a jam-packed midfield.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *