[MLS EXPANSION DRAFT] Some surprises and a few no-brainers marked Montreal’s selections in the 2012 Expansion Draft on Tuesday.
The full effect won’t be known until the eventual fates of Coach Jesse Marsch’s 10 picks are resolved, and that might take some time. One selection has already been traded and other moves could come in next few weeks, or in conjunction with the SuperDraft and Supplementary Draft to be held in January.
Marsch wisely passed up on overpriced big-names such as Freddy Adu, took a few obvious stabs with Justin Mapp (Philadelphia), Collen Warner (Real Salt Lake) and Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), and took a gamble by claiming Houston forward Brian Ching, who upon being left unprotected had proclaimed he’d retire and work in the Dynamo front office rather than uproot and relocate to eastern Canada.
Thus, Marsch officially opened a high-stakes game of Hold ’Em with Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear. In the pot are Ching’s salary of about $400,000 and retirement threat as Kinnear ponders whether to raise or call. Houston has a good roster from which Marsch can select, though allocation money, draft picks and an allocation slot are all possibilities as well.
One move occurred right away, with the selection of Seattle right back James Riley, who quickly went to Chivas USA in exchange for forward Justin Braun and attacker Gerson Mayen. In another trade, Marsch acquired another Sounders defender, Tyson Wahl, with allocation money going in the other direction.
In effect, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser got Riley in exchange for Zarek Valentin, a former U.S. U-20 international defender whose rookie season blended impressive moments with egregious errors. The Montreal back line is well-fortified, as Marsch also grabbed Bobby Burling (San Jose), Josh Gardner (Columbus) and Sinovic in addition to trading for Wahl.
Mapp and Warner are joined in midfield, at least for now, by Jeb Brovsky (Vancouver) and Sanna Nyassi (Colorado). That quartet gives Marsch cover in multiple midfield positions, though only Mapp has been a starter for most of his career.
At the close of business Wednesday, the Impact roster featured 16 players. Signed to MLS deals prior to the Expansion Draft were goalkeeper Evan Bush, defenders Hassoun Camara and Nelson Rivas and midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic.
They join the dozen acquired on Expansion Day: the nine selections retained, Mayen and Braun in exchange for Riley, and Wahl. In early December, MLS will stage its Re-Entry Draft in two stages, and a fair number of experienced veterans will be on the market.
With a large chunk of allocation money that is allotted to expansion teams, the Impact can certainly sit at that table as well.
2011 MLS Expansion Draft Selections
1 Brian Ching, Forward, Houston Dynamo
2 Zarek Valentin, Defender, Chivas USA
3 Justin Mapp, Midfielder, Philadelphia Union
4 Bobby Burling, Defender, San Jose Earthquakes
5 Jeb Brovsky, Midfielder, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
6 Collen Warner, Midfielder, Real Salt Lake
7 Josh Gardner, Defender, Columbus Crew
8 Sanna Nyassi, Midfielder, Colorado Rapids
9 *James Riley, Defender Seattle Sounders FC
10 Seth Sinovic, Defender Sporting Kansas City
*Immediately after selecting James Riley, Montreal traded him to Chivas USA in exchange for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen.