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RSL wary of Montreal's reach in expansion draft

SANDY, Utah - Like all of the clubs across the league, Real Salt Lake is faced with the prospect of losing a player in the upcoming expansion draft on Wednesday.

The Montreal Impact are looking for the initial infusion of talent afforded to a new franchise, and RSL’s GM Garth Lagerwey is certain that his side will lose someone from their roster.

“I will guarantee that we will lose a player,” Lagerwey told media a little over a week ago. “I think you see a staff in Montreal that sees soccer in a lot of the ways that we do, and are therefore going to evaluate players in the way that we will, and are therefore going to want one of our players.”

Lagerwey also pointed to the fact that his playing days in Dallas with Impact coach Jesse Marsch gave him some insight into what type of player the Impact will be looking to acquire.

“I will tell you that Jesse Marsch and Matt Gordon are peers of all of ours personally on the staff,” Lagerwey said. “Matt played with Miles [Joseph], Jeff [Cassar], Jason [Kreis] and I in Dallas for multiple years.”

The draft allows each team to protect 11 players. In addition, players who are tagged as Generation Adidas (GA) players or as homegrown players are exempt from selection. 

Real Salt Lake expect Luis Gil, who played a little under 1,300 minutes this season and is a Generation Adidas player, to remain exempt. Under the GA program, players can be “graduated” if they exceed certain thresholds, but Lagerwey doesn’t believe that will be the case with the talented youngster.

“We don’t know this from the league yet for sure, but under the metrics they use to evaluate who graduates and who does not, usually they won’t graduate a player that young,” explained Lagerwey. “There’s a minute threshold that they have to hit, and it’s our understanding that he did not hit that threshold and therefore is not eligible to be graduated.”

As for the protected list, those must be submitted to the league on Monday, Nov. 21, with the expansion draft to occur two days later. In between, the Impact will likely be looking to wheel and deal.

“Montreal takes the list, and then over the next two days calls everybody and says 'What do you give me for so-and-so who is unprotected?'” Lagerwey said. "And then they work the best deal they can and then weigh that against the players they could just pick outright. And then they literally turn in a list with ten names to the league.”  

Lagerwey also believes Montreal’s picks could send ripples through the league, as clubs will have to adjust to losing talented players to the new Canadian outfit.

“You can do the math," he said. "There are 19 teams in the league. Ten guys will get chosen. Half the teams [roughly] will lose a guy, half won’t.”