COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Crew submitted their list of players eligible for selection in the 2022 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft.
Pedro Santos and Derrick Etienne Jr., who were not expected to return to Columbus in 2023, headline a list of 10 players left unprotected by the Crew.
The MLS Expansion Draft will be Friday at 7 p.m. and the league’s newest franchise, St. Louis City SC, will select up to five players from the eligible player list, which totals 263 players across 23 teams. Austin FC, Atlanta United, D.C. United, Los Angeles Football Club, and New York City FC are exempt this season because players were selected off of their rosters last season when Charlotte FC joined the league.
Joining Santos and Etienne Jr. from the Crew as expansion draft candidates are Jalil Anibaba, Marlon Hairston, Erik Hurtado, James Igbekeme, who were also announced as non-returning players for the Crew. As well goalkeepers Evan Bush and Brady Scott along with forwards Yaw Yeboah and Kevin Molino are unprotected. Should any of those four not get selected, they will return to the Crew.
Santos, who played 29 games last season (28 starts), logged the fourth most on-field minutes for the Crew. He led the team with 50 tackles won, which ranked seventh in the league. He also had five assists, one behind Etienne, who was second on the team with nine goals. Etienne also ranked second in the league with 28 offsides infractions.
Columbus elected to protect Artur, Miloš Degenek, Luis Diaz, Mo Farsi, Cucho Hernandez, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira, Darlington Nagbe, Eloy Room, Josh Williams, Lucas Zelarayan. In addition Aidan Morris, Isaiah Parente, Jacen Russell-Rowe, Will Sands and Sean Zawadzki are protected as homegrown players, and Patrick Schulte is protected through Generation Adidas.