Charlotte FC have selected five players in the Major League Soccer expansion draft, although some of them haven’t been with the squad for very long.
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Two picks – LAFC defenseman Tristan Blackmon and New York City FC forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi – were immediately traded. Charlotte sent Blackmon to the Vancouver Whitecaps for $ 350,000 in general allowance money for 2022, and $ 125,000 in GAM for 2023. Tajouri-Shradi, who just won the MLS Cup with NYCFC, was sent to LAFC in exchange of $ 400,000 in GAM.
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Charlotte started the draft by selecting Austin FC midfielder McKinzie Gaines. Gaines, 23, has spent most of his career in Germany, playing for players like Darmstadt 98, FSV Zwickau, SG Sonnenhof Grossaspach and Hannover 96 before coming to MLS where he played last season for Austin.
This was followed by the selection of a pair of versatile players in Anton Walkes of Atlanta United FC and Joseph Mora of DC United. Born in London, Walkes began his career with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, before being loaned to Atlanta United and later to Portsmouth. Walkes was then transferred to Portsmouth where he spent part of two seasons. He then returned to Atlanta where he spent the last two campaigns.
Mora started his career in his native Costa Rica, but has spent the last four seasons with DC making a total of 76 appearances.
The steps can play as a central or wide defender, while Mora can play on the left side in the roles of defender and midfielder. The fact that Mora has a green card, and therefore counts as a domestic player, has helped make him an attractive choice.
The most recent club to join the league, Charlotte will open its inaugural season on February 26 in DC and host the LA Galaxy in its home opener on March 5.