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SANDY — Real Salt Lake knew this day would come sooner rather than later, and that it would likely lose two key pieces of its squad in the MLS Expansion Draft to New York City FC and Orlando City SC.
That didn't make the day any easier, however.
Long-time MLS veteran Ned Grabavoy was selected with NYC FC’s first pick of the expansion draft Wednesday, where he will join former teammate and head coach Jason Kreis as the RSL legend seeks to put together an American affiliate of the Premier League’s Manchester City Football Club.
The 31-year-old Grabavoy spent six seasons with RSL after the Sandy-based club picked him up in the 2009 MLS Waiver Draft. The midfielder logged 2,711 minutes on the wing for RSL in 2014, the most of his career. He finished with 11,571 minutes on the field for RSL.
Grabavoy logged 10 goals and 14 assists in his time on the Wasatch Front, including five goals in 2013.
New York City FC
1. MF Ned Grabavoy (RSL)
2. FW Patrick Mullins (NE)
3. DF Jason Hernandez (SJ)
4. MF Daniel Lovitz (TOR)
5. FW Tony Taylor (NE)
6. MF Mehdi Ballouchy (VAN)
7. DF George John (DAL)
8. MF Thomas McNamara (DC)
9. MF Sal Zizzo (SKC)
10. DF Chris Wingert (RSL)
Orlando City SC
1. GK Donovan Ricketts (POR)
2. MF Tony Cascio (COL)
3. DF Jalil Anibaba (SEA)
4. MF/FW Pedro Ribeiro (PHI)
5. MF Lewis Neal (DC)
6. FW Jairo Arrieta (CLB)
7. DF Heath Pearce (MTL)
8. FW Danny Mwanga (COL)
9. FW Mark Sherrod (HOU)
10. DF Eric Gehrig (CLB)
The veteran midfield presence found a home on the wing of RSL’s 4-4-2 diamond formation, and he quickly grew to become a leader in the locker room.
Grabavoy also leaves a personal connection to Salt Lake City. He and wife Monica gave birth to twins during the 2013 preseason.
The Salt Lake club protected Carlos Salcedo after Grabavoy was picked. RSL then lost established defender Chris Wingert to NYC FC with the final pick of the draft.
Wingert, a 32-year-old native of Babylon, New York, will return home for what could be his final contract as a pro soccer player.
Wingert joined RSL in 2007 following a trade with the Colorado Rapids, and leaves the team as the longest-tenured field player amongst the active roster. He logged one goal and 17 assists in 16,947 minutes.
Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was the first-overall pick of the draft, going to Orlando before NYC selected Grabavoy. Former RSL midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, who went to Colorado in the trade that brought current team captain Kyle Beckerman to Salt Lake City, went to Kreis' club in the sixth round.
Real Salt Lake next takes to the task of rebuilding from its lost assets, and that also include central defender Nat Borchers, who was traded to Portland Monday for allocation money.
Major League Soccer will now open a one-day trade window that closes Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. MT, followed by the Re-entry Draft for veteran players Dec. 12 and Dec. 18.
The MLS SuperDraft for college and amateur players will be held Jan. 15.