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Sporting Kansas City announces protected list

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Ahead of the expansion draft, SKC announces protected list

Defender of the year Ike Opara and Captain Matt Besler among the players SKC protected
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With the Major League Soccer Expansion Draft on Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced that they have protected the following 11 players:

GK: Tim Melia

DEF: Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi

MID: Roger Espinoza, Ilie, Cristian Lobato, Jimmy Medranda, James Musa, Benny Feilhaber

FWD: Gerso

Homegrown players are automatically protected: Gianluca Busio, Kevin Ellis, Erik Palmer-Brown and Daniel Salloi

The following Sporting KC players will be eligible for selection:

GK: Andrew Dykstra, Alexander Tambakis, Adrian Zendejas

DEF: Saad Abdul-Salaam, Amer Didic, Seth Sinovic, Colton Storm

MID: Soni Mustivar

FWD: Kharlton Belmar, Latif Blessing, Cameron Iwasa, Kenwyne Jones, Cameron Porter, Diego Rubio, Soony Saad

Sporting KC was required to protect two of their three international players who weren't automatically protected. Lobato and Musa are on the protected list, while Mustivar is draft-eligible.

Among the draft-eligible players, Iwasa, Jones, Mustivar, Porter and Tambakis are not under contract with Sporting KC in 2018. Palmer-Brown is also out of contract with the club.

In a draft preparation move earlier in the day, SKC acquired Jones and Tambakis in exchange for midfielder Kevin Oliveira, defender Tyler Pasher and a second-round draft pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. This reduced the number of internationals from 6 to 4.

Los Angeles FC will select five players from the eligible players during the Expansion Draft. No MLS team can have more than one player taken.