FC Cincinnati picks Mattocks, Lamah in expansion draft; trades for Greg Garza
FC Cincinnati added six players to its roster on Tuesday, with its selections in the 2018 expansion draft, while executing three trades.
Cincinnati selected D.C. United forward Darren Mattocks, FC Dallas midfielder Roland Lamah, midfielder Eric Alexander formerly of the Houston Dynamo and defender Hassan Ndam of the New York Red Bulls in the expansion draft.
Another expansion draft pick, former Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kei Kamara, was chosen and immediately traded to the Colorado Rapids for an international roster spot in 2019. Multiple sources confirmed that Kamara has signed a new two-year deal that will pay him an average salary of $750,000 per year, but with incentives could reach $1 million per season.
Cincinnati manager Alan Koch also announced that the team had acquired defender Greg Garza from MLS Cup champions Atlanta United in exchange for $200,000 in general allocation money and $250,000 in TAM.
The club also acquired defender Kendall Waston from Vancouver late on Tuesday in exchange for up to $825,000 in allocation money, plus an international roster spot for 2019.
It still remains to be seen if Cincinnati will do any more dealing, but it managed to acquire some solid pieces as it attempts to build its roster. But as with most expansion picks, there are questions about each of them.
Mattocks scored 10 goals in 25 matches last season, 14 of them starts, but lost his spot in the lineup after the arrival of Wayne Rooney.
"[Mattocks has] speed, athleticism, I think he plays with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder," said Koch during the MLSSoccer.com broadcast of the expansion draft. "I think he's capable of even more than he's shown in the league so far. He's just a fun, exciting player."
Lamah scored eight goals and added six assists while playing a wide midfield role for Dallas last season. He was chosen despite a hefty salary of $818,500 in 2018, though that could be negotiated down.
"Another electric player, obviously very skilled," said Koch. "He's very, very good one-v-one. He plays inside, he can play outside. Obviously the guy has a lot of experience having played all over the place."
Alexander is a crafty midfielder, but one who has bounced around MLS during his nine seasons in the league. Cincinnati will mark the sixth professional team he has played for.
"Eric obviously has league experience. He's done it at a few different clubs," said Koch. "I also think he's been undervalued. I think everybody you speak to about him at the clubs that he's played for speaks volumes about him. And his versatility is immense. I think he's somebody that can come in and compete to start for us right away."
Cincinnati's final pick was 20-year-old defender Ndam, who Koch saw up close during FCC's final season in the second-tier USL, as he spent most of the season with the Red Bulls reserve team.
"I've coached against him, I've seen what he's capable of doing," said Koch. "Obviously doing it in the USL is completely different than in MLS, but he's a young player, a player with all sorts of upside. We think he's capable of coming into our environment and competing right away."