Should New England Revolution have protected Patrick Mullins?

As we all know, the New England Revolution were hit hard by the MLS Expansion Draft and have lost one of their brightest prospects in Patrick Mullins to New York City FC.

The forward almost single-handedly changed the MLS Cup Final when he entered the frame for Charlie Davies. And although the Revs lost in the end, Mullins showed what he is capable of with some good hold up play and created space to get other players in the game.

The 22-year-old netted four times in all competitions last term and although not prolific, he showed in glimpses the potential he has in his rookie season.

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When looking at their protected list ahead of the Expansion Draft, it is hard to look into who could have been substituted out to fit Mullins in as a protected player.

The two forwards who were protected, Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury, are both players who are a key part of the side and the Revs couldn’t afford to lose either of them.

New England Revolution protected players:

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth

Defenders: Kevin Alston – Andrew Farrell – Jose Goncalves – Chris Tierney

Midfielders: Jermaine Jones – Daigo Kobayashi – Lee Nguyen – Kelyn Rowe

Forwards: Teal Bunbury – Charlie Davies

The draft was hard on New England, but it would appear they had done as much as possible to cover themselves from losing key players and given the nature of the draft it just seems as if it was something they had to accept.

Mullins will learn a lot from his new teammates David Villa and Frank Lampard, and the move will continue to improve him as an up and coming young player.

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The service from Lampard and finishing ability of Villa are areas he will benefit from no end, and playing alongside the Spaniard will be particularly crucial for his development.

The Revs will no doubt be disappointed to see him go, but couldn’t afford to lose any top performing midfielders given that their preferred system is 4-2-3-1. Bunbury is a more rounded and versatile player than Mullins at this moment in time, and Charlie Davies is the main striker and is the one who can create the unexpected.

Do you think New England were right to leave Patrick Mullins unprotected for the Expansion Draft?

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MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

By Sam Lingwood

With the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft almost upon us, we have a look at a potential lineup made of some of the best possible players left unprotected by their clubs for the draft.

New York City FC and Orlando City SC will pick ten players each in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft and we’ve picked out 11 that could find themselves on the move.

In order for this squad to be put together, a 4-1-4-1 formation has been selected. They may have been left unprotected but these players could prove valuable at one of the expansion franchises in 2015 and beyond.

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts – Portland Timbers

The 2013 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, you can’t look past Donovan Ricketts. He brings experience and a safe pair of hands you can rely on. Has been in MLS since 2009 and has one MLS Cup title to his name.

Right-back: Dan Gargan – LA Galaxy

Another lad who has bundles of experience at MLS level, Dan Gargan is an intriguing option. A consistently solid level of performances last term make him a standout choice if New York City or Orlando City are looking for a right-back.

Centre-backs: AJ Soares & Carlos Salcedo – New England Revolution & Real Salt Lake

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The centre-back pairing are formidable. AJ Soares had a high standard of performances last year, and is at a great age to put in even better displays at the back in the hope he can push on and win the MLS Cup in 2015 with whoever he ends up with, so long as he stays in MLS. Carlos Salcedo is a young talent who didn’t feature consistently last season. However, he’s a great prospect and with the right experience around him, he will thrive in the scenario presented.

Left-back: Heath Pearce – Montreal Impact

Heath Pearce is another experienced defender to shepherd either team through their inaugral season in Major League Soccer. He has a great CV to boast off, and at 30 he still has some good years left in the tank. A sound left-back who will get the job done if selected.

Defensive-midfield: Hendry Thomas – FC Dallas

Previous teams include Wigan Athletic when they were in the English Premier League. Hendry Thomas is a consistently high performer for his home nation Honduras and he represented them once again at the 2014 World Cup. Injury restricted him to just 10 appearances for FC Dallas in 2014 but he is worth the gamble.

Right-midfield: Diego Fagundez – New England Revolution

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Diego Fagundez is picked to play on the right wing for this lineup. The 19-year-old playmaker has plenty of pace, talent and technique. Will be around for years and could be terrorising defences with one of the expansion franchises next season.

Central-midfield: Ben Speas – Columbus Crew

Another young lad, Ben Speas put in some good performances when selected last term and the 23-year-old will be hoping for more game time next season as he looks to build and push on to greater things with whoever he plays for in 2015.

Central-midfield: Peguy Luyindula – New York Red Bulls

Peguy Luyindula may be 35-years-old but the French playmaker showed that he can still be a difference-maker during the MLS Playoffs this season. Five goals and one assist in 26 regular appearances in 2014 make Luyindula an interesting option. He then netted three goals in five playoff games for the Red Bulls before they were knocked out by New England.

Left-midfield: Bobby Convey – New York Red Bulls

Bobby Convey offers some more EPL experience after spending five years with Reading before returning to MLS in 2009. At 31, he still has some talent left in the tank to help see either New York City FC and Orlando City succeed in their debut season.

Forward: Patrick Mullins – New England Revolution

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Patrick Mullins put in a great performance off the bench in the MLS Cup Final on Sunday and the rookie was impressively consistent in his first season. Looking forward to bigger and better things from this lad next year.

This looks like a good team, playing a solid formation and they would probably do well as a squad in MLS. It will be great to see who is chosen in Wednesday’s draft and how they all get on next year.

How well would the Unprotected XI do if they were an MLS side – how many of them will be selected on Wednesday?