NEW YORK – It was a busy day of movement across Major League Soccer as the Montreal Impact’s 2011 Expansion Draft sent ripples of action across the league, with players being traded and waived by many of the 18 other teams.
Ten teams waived a total of 31 players, as rosters across MLS were trimmed ahead of the 2012 SuperDraft. All of the waived players were made available in Wednesday’s Waiver Draft but only one player was picked up, Tanzanian midfielder Nizar Khalfan, who was selected by Philadelphia after appearing 22 times for Vancouver in 2011.
Sporting Kansas City released four players, including arguably the highest-profile name waived by any MLS side: Brazilian midfielder Jeferson Goncalves. He was released alongside teammates Scott Lorenz, Milos Stojcev and Craig Rocastle.
Jeferson played a small role in SKC’s late season push to win the Eastern Conference title and run to the last four of the 2011 MLS Cup after picking up an injury shortly after his arrival. The midfielder made nine regular-season appearances after joining Sporting on loan from Vasco da Gama in July.
Toronto FC’s rebuilding under Aron Winter continued as they waived seven players, while Hans Backe and his New York Red Bulls staff chose to let six players go.
The most notable name shown the door in New York was Englishman John Rooney, the younger brother of Manchester United and England forward Wayne. Rooney failed to make his mark in MLS during one season with New York, appearing just five times and logging 48 minutes of playing time in his first season.
Another move which may have raised a few eyebrows was Houston's decision to release youngster Francisco Navas Cobo. The homegrown player became the first product of the Dynamo’s academy to appear for the first team in 2010, yet Cobo found his chances limited this year and didn’t feature once for the MLS Cup runners-up.
Under new boss Jay Heaps, New England chose to waive three first-year players in forward Alan Koger, defender Otto Loewy and midfielder Andrew Sousa. None of the trio saw any action in MLS regular-season games during the 2011 season.
New Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie waived three players, as Bilal Duckett, Nizar Khalfan and Alexandre Morfaw all left the ‘Caps.
Columbus, FC Dallas, Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake also chose not to bring players back in 2012. The full list of players waived on Wednesday is available below.
Complete list of waived players:
Francisco Navas Cobo
Juan Diego Gonzalez