Inter Miami Faces Nashville On Sunday To Determine First Pick In MLS Expansion Draft 2020

Inter Miami CF and Nashville Soccer Club are the two teams beginning play in 2020.

MIAMI, Fla. (September 19, 2019; updated October 4, 2019) –

The two newcomers to Major League Soccer, Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC, will face each other on Sunday, October 6. Except that it won’t be on the pitch.

Major League Soccer announced back on September 19th that the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft* will occur on November 19, 2019. It will be the thirteenth expansion draft in league history.

Decision Day Coin Toss

In order to decide which club will select first in that expansion draft, as well as the order for the various other means of acquiring players for their respective rosters, MLS has created an event called the “2019 MLS Expansion Priority Draft.” This will take place on October 6, prior to kick off of an intense final day of the regular season during MLSsoccer.com’s “Matchday Central: Decision Day presented by AT&T Pregame Show.”

You can watch live this Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EDT from AT&T MLS Studios in New York City as part of the MLS Decision Day Pregame Show presented by AT&T. (MLSsoccer.com, the MLSappTwitterFacebook and YouTube).

At that time, Inter Miami CF Managing Owner & CEO Jorge Mas along with Sporting Director Paul McDonough, as well as Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre and General Manager Mike Jacobs, will flip a coin to determine which club receives the first pick in the five available player-acquisition methods. For example, the winner of the coin toss can elect which of the five player acquisition methods they want for their team, followed by the loser of the coin toss making an election. This process continues until all of the methods have been chosen.

Here’s what the two team’s executives have to choose from:

  1. No.1 pick in 2019 MLS Expansion Draft 
  2. No.1 pick in 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas
  3. No.1 position in Allocation Ranking Order
  4. Penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order
  5. Penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking

What it boils down to is that the winner of the coin toss will receive two of the top three mechanisms. Having the first pick in the expansion draft is likely to be the most desired, although having the top choice in the allocation ranking order can also be a good way to acquire an experienced player. For example, it was used by Atlanta to acquire goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

It’s a complicated process to build a roster from scratch. “You’re trying to look at all the different mechanisms, your international spots, your roster positions, your money, your free agents, your expansion draft picks and you’re trying to see best how to build the deepest squad you can,” Sporting Director Paul McDonough said. “We’ve been preparing. Thinking on who could be available and how they would fit into our team. What would be a win for us is that we come out with a mix of players and assets that can help us continue to build the squad.”

Expansion Draft Take Home Points:

“We know we need MLS experience to be successful,” said McDonough. “It’s important for us to find those guys who can fill certain needs within the starting eleven or immediate depth of the squad as we look to build a competitive roster.”

How Many Players Can Be Selected?

The Expansion Draft provides an opportunity for Miami and Nashville to strengthen their MLS rosters by selecting up to five (5) current players from other MLS teams.

How Many Players Can Each Club Protect?

Each current MLS team may protect up to twelve (12) rostered players (previously 11 in years past) from inclusion on the eligible players list.

When will the list of unprotected players (eligible players) Be Released?

The complete list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Saturday, November 16.

Are Any Teams Exempt From The Expansion Draft?

Yes, as reported earlier on Russo Soccer, certain clubs are exempt. Exempt clubs with players selected by FC Cincinnati in the 2018 Expansion Draft are D.C. United, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, and the New York Red Bulls.

Have Any Notable Players Been Acquired Via The Expansion Draft?

Yes, notable former Expansion Draft picks include two players chosen by Los Angeles Football Club in 2017: Latif Blessing and Tyler Miller. Blessing has six goals and five assists this season, alongside Miller’s nine clean sheets (shutouts) for the top-ranked club in the league standings. FC Cincinnati selected Darren Mattocks and Roland Lamah in 2018, and both became regular contributors for the club this season.


This is the first time since 2016 that two teams have had to flip a coin to determine the order of selection. The last time was in 2016, when Atlanta United and Minnesota United were entering the league.

Here is how that draft went. Atlanta won the coin toss, and the mechanisms were then split as seen below. After the type of selection, you can see what player was acquired and how.

  1. ATL:  No.1 pick in 2016 MLS Expansion Draft – (Selected Donny Toia, who was traded to Orlando City for the No. 8 pick in the 2017 SuperDraft, which was used to select Julian Gressel)
  2. MNUFC: No.1 pick in 2017 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas -(Selected Abu Danladi No. 1)
  3. ATL: No.1 position in Allocation Ranking Order – (Atlanta used the top spot to sign Brad Guzan)
  4. MNUFC: Priority on NASL/USL players should Atlanta United try to claim the same player in one of the other leagues in the U.S. – (no competing claim)
  5. ATL: Penultimate position in MLS Re-Entry and End-of-Year Waiver Order – (There were no players chosen by either team in either draft)
  6. MNUFC: Penultimate position in Discovery Player Ranking – (N/A)

The first three mechanisms are clearly more important than the others. But what is important to a team depends on how it plans to build its roster, i.e. is the plan to focus on established talent or unproven potential.

More Information on the expansion draft history and the rules is available on the MLs website:

MLS Expansion Draft History | MLS Expansion Draft Rules


* An expansion draft is a common practice in North American professional sports as a method to begin to stock the roster of a new franchise.

Published by

Ken Russo

With a passion for the game, my work in the business of soccer applies skills acquired in law practice with the business, communications and team operations side of the sport. I am a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, the University of Miami School of Law and the holder of a certificate in sports business from Columbia University. Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires du sector de football.

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