[MLS TRANSACTIONS] An expansion team it may be, but the Montreal Impact is taking on a very veteran look. In separate deals on Monday, the Impact acquired midfielder Davy Arnaud and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Their combined ages (65) and seasons of MLS experience (13) give Montreal a pair of top-tier players in very important positions, though both are coming off seasons during which injuries curtailed their playing time.
Arnaud was not exposed in the Expansion Draft, so Impact coach Jesse Marsch instead picked left back Seth Sinovic, who went back to Sporting Kansas City along with allocation money in exchange for the 10-year MLS veteran. Arnaud played 22 games (16 starts) in the 2011 season and failed to score a goal for the first time since being picked as the 50th overall selection in the 2002 SuperDraft. He missed several weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
"I'm very excited about coming to Montreal,” said Arnaud in a statement issued by the Impact. “After 10 years in Kansas City, it's a new challenge for me. I heard a lot of great things about this city. The Montreal Impact has a great history and I'm looking forward to be part of this organization.”
Arnaud, 31, leaves SKC as its all-time appearance leader with 240 appearances, 43 goals (second), and 35 assists (third). He was named team captain in 2010.
“Davy is a fierce competitor, an incredible leader and a hard-working player,” said Marsch in a team press release announcing the deal. “He is a proven winner in MLS. He will help us establish a winning environment with our team. His acquisition makes us a better team.”
To get Ricketts, Marsch sent allocation money – of which all expansion teams receive a hefty if unspecified amount – to the Galaxy, for which Josh Saunders performed solidly in relief of Ricketts this season. The 34-year-old Jamaican international was Goalkeeper of the Year finalist in 2010, his second season in the league, and earned All-Star mention 2009 and 2010.
A broken arm and other injuries, plus the fine play of Saunders, limited Ricketts to 15 league games in 2011 as Los Angeles rolled to its third MLS Cup. In his 70 regular-season games he’s posted 27 shutouts. Capped 85 times by Jamaica, he started for his country in the Concacaf Gold Cup last summer.
“Donovan is one of the best goalkeepers in the league,” said Marsch in a press release. “We are very pleased to have made this acquisition. He will be an important piece to our team in 2012. We value him greatly and know that he will give us experience and quality in front of the net.”
With the expansion picks and subsequent trades the Impact lists 18 players on its roster. Six countries are represented, but as of yet, the team has not signed any Canadian-born players.
Marsch has stated Montreal may be aggressive in the Re-Entry Draft, though it has the bottom (19th) slot for the two-stage process that starts Monday. Teams must notify players by Wednesday regarding their contract options for 2012, and those who are eligible by age and years of service can elect to enter the Re-Entry Draft if not offered a suitable contract by their current teams.
Montreal Impact Roster
Goalkeepers – Evan Bush, Donovan Ricketts. Defenders – Bobby Burling, Hassoun Camara, Gerson Mayen, Nelson Rivas, Zarek Valentin, Tyson Wahl. Midfielders – Bryan Arguez, Davy Arnaud, Jeb Brovsky, Josh Gardner, Justin Mapp, Sanna Nyassi, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Collen Warner. Forwards – Justin Braun, Brian Ching.