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Sporting KC Exempt from 2018 Expansion Draft for Cincinnati

Just one year too late for Latif Blessing.

MLS: Sporting KC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, in an announcement that was heavily overshadowed by the MLS Cup Playoffs, Major League Soccer announced the 2018 Expansion Draft for FC Cincinnati. Many fans were hoping for the elimination of the Expansion Draft since it allows new teams to poach players that other teams had scouted, recruited and then signed to a MLS contract.

The draft wasn’t eliminated, but the next best thing happened for Sporting Kansas City. Any teams who had a player drafted in the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft for Los Angeles Football Club will be exempt from the 2018 draft. That includes the Seattle Sounders, San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew, Toronto FC and of course Sporting KC. As compensation for getting a shallower pool to draft from Cincy will get extra Garber Bucks Allocation Money. Teams that lose a player in 2018 to the draft will still get $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

This is a relief for Sporting Kansas City fans who have suffered the fate of having a player taken in the last five expansion drafts. That’s 10 years of consecutive stolen players that have finally earned SKC a bye.

The one that stings the most and is the freshest in everyone’s memory is LAFC drafting Latif Blessing last year (hence the picture above). Ike Opara said it best:

But here is a quick history of Sporting Kansas City/Kansas City Wizards players being taken.

That’s 12 total players taken from Kansas City. The only team that has suffered worse than KC is the Columbus Crew who have had at least one player taken in every draft. That includes in 2008 when current SKC player (I guess we call him that despite his lack of an appearance) Brad Evans was taken by Seattle from Columbus. I guess at least Columbus didn’t have their team taken from them. For a complete MLS Expansion Draft history, head over to the league’s site.

Now we can sit back and cross our fingers and toes and hope MLS eliminates this mechanism before Nashville SC and Inter Miami join the league in 2020.