RSL gamble with unprotected Grabavoy, promising youngsters

Vets Williams and Russell also open for Impact's taking in Expansion Draft

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Real Salt Lake revealed their protected list on Monday for the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft on Wednesday, and there were no real surprises.

But RSL certainly left some talent on the table, which is always a difficult choice for the people calling the shots.

“I don’t think it’s ever easy,” RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “We feel like we have a lot more than 11 good players. We’ll see what Montreal does with it.”

If the Impact do indeed take an RSL player in Wednesday’s draft, they’ll choose largely from Salt Lake’s bench players, with the exception of defender Chris Schuler, who was included in RSL's protected list thanks to his emergence as a quality backup central defender. Valuable handyman Nick Grabavoy, however, is available for the taking.

The backlash against Grabavoy’s availability, in fact, prompted RSL fans to take to Twitter on Monday with a #WeWantNed campaign that even brought RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando into the fray.

“Have to get this off my chest ... Grabavoy is a terrible teammate, only thinks of himself and probably wouldn't even make my high school team,” a sarcastic Rimando quipped.

Lagerwey, for his part, expects the club to lose a player.

“I’ve been through this enough to know that whatever you think is going to happen isn’t going to happen,” explained Lagerwey. “I would say that there are at least five different players that we could lose.”

Midfielder Andy Williams and defender Robbie Russell are also up for grabs, along with promising youngsters such as midfielder Collen Warner and forward Paulo Jr.

“It’s an inexact science, especially when you’ve got more than 11 guys that you want to protect,” Lagerwey said. “You just try to find the right mix of protecting your young talented guys and the guys that are currently playing for you, and balancing that with salary cap concerns and with what you have to do to get ready for another season.

“It’s out of our control,” admitted Lagerwey. “We [submitted] that list on Monday and now it’s up to Montreal.”