The Crew will not compete in MLS Cup on Sunday in Toronto. One silver lining: Team officials can spend more time considering who to protect in Wednesday's expansion draft.

The Crew will not compete in MLS Cup on Sunday in Toronto. One silver lining: Team officials can spend more time considering who to protect in Wednesday's expansion draft.

The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps enter MLS next season. They'll build the core of their rosters by cherry-picking 10 players each from the current MLS player pool.

The Crew can protect 11 players. When someone from their unprotected roster is selected, they can protect a 12th player. Once a second Crew player is selected, Columbus can be plundered no more.

Who to protect:

Eddie Gaven , M /F : This year's team MVP and a pivotal building block for the future.

Chad Marshall, D: Still an elite defender and an aerial threat on set pieces.

Gu i llermo Barros Schelotto, F: We're choosing to ignore the Crew's baffling decision to cut ties with him.

William Hesmer , G : You have to wonder if Hesmer would have fared better than Andy Gruenebaum in the shootout against Colorado.

Andy Iro, D: Developed into a rock-solid central defender and notched six goals this year.

Emilio Renteria , F : In extremely limited minutes, he tallied eight goals in all competitions. His finishing touch was sorely missed in the playoffs.

Danny O'Rourke, D/M: He was injured much of this year, but in 2009 he rightfully won club MVP.

Brian Carroll, M: Yeah, he flubbed the shootout, but he's still a consistent veteran who leaves it all on the field.

Kevin Burns, M: A promising midfield cog for years to come.

Steven Lenhart, F: Scored more goals than you think - 11 in all competitions - plus he's a beloved team icon.

Robbie Rogers, M/F: He's frustrating, but if he went to another team he'd inevitably find his form and repeatedly thrash Columbus.

Who to leave exposed:

Eric Brunner, D : Decent but inconsistent. Likely to get snagged in this draft.

Shaun Francis, D: Has potential. Hopefully embarrassing playoff performance scares away takers.

Emmanuel Ekpo, M ; Jason Garey, F: Not enough offensive production.

Dilly Duka, M ; Andres Mendoza, F ; Leandre Griffit, M : All promising, but they didn't log enough playing time to get a sense of their value.

Frankie Hejduk, D, Gino Padula, D: Losing a step or two and making some questionable decisions these days.

Andy Gru e nebaum, G : Can't afford to protect two keepers.

Adam Moffat, M: Hardnosed, but he makes too many mental errors to justify protecting.

Duncan Oughton, M : All hail St. Dunc!