In Parts I and II we looked at the first two-thirds of United’s roster in an attempt to compile preliminary lists of players to PROTECT, players to EXPOSE, players on the BUBBLE, and players who didn’t have to be protected (N/A) for the expansion draft at the end of November that will stock L’Impact’s stables for 2012. Let’s carry on with the final third of the roster…
PONTIUS, Chris (M/F, 24) - Had an excellent 2011 (7 goals, 5 assists), often serving as United’s most dangerous attacker prior to De Rosario’s arrival. If he doesn’t go down for the season against Chivas, I think this post series probably wouldn’t be taking place until a week or two from now. No quibbles here. PROTECT
QUARANTA, Santino (M/F, 27) - Lack of production and failure to fulfill the entirety of his promise aside, Quaranta is solid MLS depth at a number of positions and never fails to give a commited effort when called upon. He’s not an automatic inclusion on the protected list, but he’s on the inner surface of the BUBBLE.
SHANOSKY, Conor (D/M, 19) - Haven’t seen enough of him to know whether he’s worth protecting in the long term, but thankfully, his home grown status means I don’t have to make that call. N/A
SIMMS, Clyde (M, 29) - I’ve never been hugely convinced by his game, but he’s clearly past his best now and about to be eclipsed by Kitchen. Might he be useful as depth going forward? Sure, but not at his current salary. Though my first inclination is to expose him, I’m going to keep him on the BUBBLE for now.
WHITE, Ethan (D, 20) - Picked up way more minutes than I think anyone had a right to expect in his rookie campaign. He wasn’t terrific, but the experience should stand him in good stead going forward. He’d probably be on the inner edge of the bubble if we had to protect the home grown players (might be much tougher to get the list down to eleven), but as it stands…N/A.
WILLIS, Joe (GK, 23) - Better than expected when tossed unexpectely into the breach and grabbed firm hold of the backup spot from Cronin. Still, I find it hard to justify protecting a reserve keeper. BUBBLE
WOLFF, Josh (F, 34) - Can’t fault him for effort, but an inconsistent first touch, spotty finishing, and misplaced passes that often broke down counterattacks factored in with his age don’t leave me convinced he’s as key as the number of appearances he made would suggest. I’m somewhat surprised to see that he registered 5 goals and 7 assists without being a lock to start, and that has me moving him onto the BUBBLE.
WOOLARD, Daniel (D, 27) - Doesn’t really seem like he has either the athletic gifts or the technical ability to hold down a roster spot in this league, but he wasn’t consistently exposed as being completely out of his depth and racked up an impressive haul of minutes this year. Provides adequate depth and experience on the back line but little else. Faint praise, and not enough to protect him. EXPOSE
ZAYNER, Jed (D, 26) - Showed a lot of promise at the tail end of 2010, but sidelined this year by a potentially career-ending injury. If he can recover, he’ll certainly be worth having back, but I doubt Montreal would risk taking him. Neither should United risk protecting him. EXPOSE
And that gets us through the entire roster. Compiling the initial assessments, we’re left with…
- PROTECT: De Rosario, Jakovic, Kitchen, Pontius
- EXPOSE: Barklage, Burch, Cronin, Davies, Korb, McTavish, Morsink, Ngwenya, Woolard, Zayner
- BUBBLE: Boskovic, Brettschneider, Da Luz, King, McDonald, Quaranta, Simms, Willis, Wolff
- N/A: Hamid, Najar, Shanosky, White
So we have four spots filled out of eleven. That means we only need to kick two of the nine off the bubble to complete the protected list. In the fourth and final part of this series, that’s exactly what we’ll do.