FRISCO, Texas – Barry Gorman didn’t come out and say it, but the FC Dallas technical director’s answers as to why the club didn’t protect veteran linking midfielder Dax McCarty for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft speaks volumes.
It looks like a major factor in McCarty's surprise inclusion among the 11 players FCD left exposed is because of how well rookie third-round pick Eric Alexander did while filling in for McCarty while he was out with a strained right quadriceps injury from mid-July to September.
The rookie from Indiana scored two goals and assisted on three more in 17 games, 12 of which were starts. He can also play both the linking and holding midfield roles.
“We had a lot of inquiries about Eric Alexander,” Gorman told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday night. “He has shown a lot of promise and he came on very well. At his numbers, he’s very attractive to an awful lot of teams. We knew that if we left an Eric Alexander unprotected, and if we left a Zach Loyd unprotected at their numbers, they’d be gobbled up.”
[inline_node:317678]Club officials, including FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman, started meeting with players left unprotected on Tuesday.
“We met with Dax today because we really didn’t have a chance to meet with the players before we got the list in,” Gorman said. “There were about 15 to 16 players that we would have loved to have protected and it was very frustrating.
"A lot of thought goes into it. It’s got to be by position, by age, by salary and who we think somebody might take. So, Dax wasn’t the only one that we had to leave unprotected.”
McCarty is one of the higher earners on the squad and clashed with Hyndman two seasons ago. But he was inarguably an instrumental part of FC Dallas reaching their first-ever MLS Cup final this season. Gorman wouldn’t address the issue of why McCarty specifically wasn’t protected – which was one of the bigger shocks when MLS released the league-wide list on Monday – but he did say the 23-year-old handled the news like a true professional.
“He understands what’s going on,” Gorman said. “He has his contract. That’s not an issue. He understands there are two new teams coming in and they get pickings. We explained to him all the ins and outs of the makeup of the whole situation and he understands. He handled it like a pro and a player beyond his years.”
The Dallas TD also wouldn’t rule out a trade involving McCarty with another club.
“There’s always that possibility,” Gorman said. “We’ve been in touch with one of the expansion clubs today and talking about different things. They know they’re in a position of holding a lot of cards. There’s a lot of wheeling and dealing done. You’ll see players go somewhere and then they’ll be traded to somebody else.”
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