Starting defenders James Riley and Tyson Wahl and multiple-goal scorers Roger Levesque, Mike Fucito and O’Brian White were among 19 players Sounders FC left unprotected Monday for the draft that will stock the expansion Montreal Impact.
Riley and Wahl are original Sounders who started 29 and 23 regular-season games respectively last season. Levesque, Fucito and White combined for seven goals.
“We couldn’t protect everyone, so some of those who contributed significantly to our success are bound to be exposed,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a news release.
Each existing MLS club was allowed to protect 11 players from its roster (in addition to players in certain classifications that were automatically protected). The Sounders protected Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Erik Friberg, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Fredy Montero, Lamar Neagle, Sammy Ochoa, Jeff Parke, Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani. (Rookie Michael Tetteh was automatically protected.)
Also available to Montreal are Terry Boss, Servando Carrasco, David Estrada, Josh Ford, Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Patrick Ianni, Nate Jaqua, Bryan Meredith, Miguel Montano, Pat Noonan, Amadou Sanyang, Zach Scott and Michael Seamon.
Montreal will announce 10 selections from the 18 other MLS clubs at noon Wednesday.
No team may lose more than one player.
Over the past two offseasons, Seattle has lost Sebastien Le Toux (2009, Philadelphia) and Sanna Nyassi and Nathan Sturgis (2010, Vancouver) in expansion.
“Given the fact we’ve lost three players to expansion drafts the past two seasons we are bracing ourselves for the possibility of losing someone,” Hanauer said. “Despite those losses we have developed a deep squad and grown stronger.”
Sounders FC will play each of its eight Western Conference rivals three times in 2012, up from two, because the league will adopt an unbalanced schedule for its 34-game season.
Four series will feature two home games and one away, four will feature two road games and one at home.
The 10 other games will be against Eastern teams, five home and five away. The home and road visits will reverse in 2013.
MLS has announced changes in its playoff format, including the elimination of wild-card entries; the top five teams in each conference will qualify.
Also, the conference finals will be aggregate-score, home-and-road series, rather than a single game.
Finally, MLS Cup will no longer be awarded in advance to a neutral site, but rather will be played at the home of the higher seed.
Sounders FC will skip the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League play-in round and go directly to group play. … NBC Sports is pursuing Sounders broadcaster Arlo White to join its soccer broadcast team, Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl reported.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 email@example.com twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer