MLS new side Charlotte trade Blackmon, Tajouri-Shradi

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Charlotte FC selected five players in the Major League Soccer’s Expansion Draft, though some of them weren’t with the team for very long.

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A pair of picks — LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon and New York City FC forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi — were immediately traded away. Charlotte sent Blackmon to the Vancouver Whitecaps for $350,000 in General Allocation Money for 2022, and another $125,000 in GAM for 2023. Tajouri-Shradi, fresh off winning MLS Cup with NYCFC, was sent to LAFC in exchange for $400,000 in GAM.

Charlotte started the draft by selecting Austin FC midfielder McKinzie Gaines. Gaines, 23, has spent most of his career in Germany, playing for the likes of 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 from DC United. The London-born Walkes began his career with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, before going on loan to Atlanta United and later Portsmouth. Walkes was later transferred to Portsmouth where he spent parts of two seasons. He then moved back to Atlanta where he spent the last two campaigns.

Mora began his career in his native Costa Rica, but spent the past four seasons with D.C. where he made a total of 76 appearances.

Walkes can play as either a center-back or out wide, while and Mora can play on the left side in both defender and midfield roles. The fact that Mora has a green card, and thus counts as a domestic player, helped make him an attractive pick.

The newest club to join the league, Charlotte will open its inaugural season on Feb. 26 at D.C. and will host the LA Galaxy in its home opener on March 5.

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