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San Jose Earthquakes announce protected list for MLS Expansion Draft

The Quakes announced their 11-player protected list ahead of Wednesday's Expansion Draft. CLS was 9 for 11, with the big surprise the inclusion of defender Shaun Francis.

Shaun Francis was a surprise inclusion on the Quakes official Expansion Draft protected list
Shaun Francis was a surprise inclusion on the Quakes official Expansion Draft protected list
Lyndsay Radnedge | Center Line Soccer

In preparation for the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft on Wednesday, December 10, the San Jose Earthquakes submitted their 11-player protected list to the league. When Orlando City SC and New York City FC select players in the draft, those 11 players will not be eligible.

The protected list announced by the Quakes is very much in alignment with that predicted by Center Line Soccer, with only two differences. The complete list is presented below.

San Jose Earthquakes protected list for the Expansion Draft
Victor Bernardez
David Bingham
Jordan Stewart
Sam Cronin
Clarence Goodson
Matias Perez Garcia
JJ Koval
Steven Lenhart
Shaun Francis
Shea Salinas
Chris Wondolowski

The list includes both of the Earthquakes designated players, Chris Wondolowski and Matias Perez Garcia, as well as veteran international center backs Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez. Defensive midfielder Sam Cronin, a mainstay in the Quakes line-up since joining San Jose via trade from Toronto in 2010, also made the list. Forward Steven Lenhart was a surprise inclusion for many, but his ability to effectively play target forward will be important for head coach Dominic Kinnear's side in 2015.

A notable inclusion is fifth-year goalkeeper David Bingham, who did not suit up at all for the first team in 2014, though he did have a solid run in the U.S. Open Cup tournament and successful loan spells with San Antonio of the NASL and in Norway. Adding Bingham to the list essentially removed Quakes starter Jon Busch from consideration. Speculation is that the out-of-contract 38-year old 'keeper will not be re-signed for the 2015, paving the path for Bingham to be the new Earthquakes #1.

Center Line Soccer's predicted protected list had two differences to the Earthquakes official list. Instead of the predicted inclusion of Pablo Pintos and Cordell Cato, Kinnear and general manager John Doyle elected to protect Jordan Stewart and Shaun Francis instead. Stewart has been a warrior for the Quakes over two seasons, playing effectively -- and relatively injury-free -- at left back. Francis, selected in the Re-Entry draft last year, was a versatile defender for the 2014 Quakes, stepping in for Brandon Barklage when his defending faltered.

The Earthquakes may still elect to protect one of those players in the draft -- or any other of the unprotected -- if at any point either Orlando or New York selects an Earthquakes player. Upon a selection, the Quakes can add another name to the protected list. Over the course of the 10-round Expansion Draft, the maximum number of San Jose players that are permitted to be selected is two.