That five thoughts on the expansion draft post seemed to work pretty well yesterday, so with time short and you (maybe? hopefully?) interested, here are five more on how the Montreal Impact might be the new evil geniuses of Major League Soccer.
Right now Montreal looks evil, re: Brian Ching, and they look like geniuses, re: Justin Braun. Remember when Montreal owner Joey Saputo played hardball with MLS and their expansion entry fee? Apparently that just foreshadowed some more bare-knuckle dealing once they got into the league.
1) A big, fat FU to Brian Ching and Houston
So naturally, Montreal couldn’t resist taking him. Talk about an FU. That kick to the head from San Jose was nothing next to this.
Ching’s desire to stay in Houston is totally understandable, as is Houston’s desire to keep him. He’s the face of the Houston franchise.
As for Montreal, they likely have no plans to keep him. Justin Braun and Ching are basically similar players at different points in their career. Ching was chosen to be traded. Watch to see if Montreal trades him back to Houston for Danny Cruz and — and much more. (But no, there’s no way they’re getting Quebec native Andre Hainault.)
2) Chivas USA’s stupidity is offensive
James Riley is a nice player. Solid right back, good team guy.
Is he so good that you trade away your best striker (Justin Braun) and a former youth international (Gerson Mayen) for him? And that’s after you let your 20-year-old first round pick and previous starting right back (former Reading United star Zarek Valentin) go in the expansion draft?
Chances are that Chivas and Montreal had this worked out well in advance. It may well even be that Zarek Valentin was left unprotected as part of the deal.
Even if not, the bottom line is Chivas just gave up three valuable commodities for a decent right back who’s been left unprotected in every expansion draft since 2007.
Chivas is like the guy in your fantasy football league who doesn’t pay attention all year, forgets to set his lineups each week, and makes trades so bad that the league commissioner has to veto them or the whole league revolts. Anyone who follows sports should be offended by their stupidity. Every MLS general manager should be calling them today to make a trade.
3) Justin Mapp: A good move for everyone
Montreal’s selection of Mapp was a good result for everyone involved. Mapp goes to a team where the midfield can be built around his unique skills, rather than having to fit into an existing structure. Montreal gets a talented player who is already a known commodity to their coach. Philadelphia clears out a logjam at midfield, as well as some salary, to free up space for Keon Daniel, Roger Torres, Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan and possibly Gabriel Farfan to split time at the three attacking midfield slots.
Overall, Mapp was a good addition for the Union, and though he didn’t produce the form that earned him eight caps for the U.S. national team, he was a solid part of the team. He only cost the Union a second round pick, and realistically, the Union should be happy to have kept Freddy Adu, the loss of whom might have made Philadelphia (and Adu, and MLS) look ridiculous.
4) Montreal’s haul was terrific
Montreal’s expansion draft might be the best in MLS history.
The Riley pick was sheer brilliance, based on what they did with it, getting a good, young striker around whom they can build an attack, as well as another young player with potential. The Ching pick could turn out similarly.
Mapp and defender Bobby Burling are proven 27-year-old veterans, and each projects as an open day starter, provided they’re not traded. The trade for Tyson Wahl could mean another starter, though Wahl will have to compete with Seth Sinovic for the left back spot.
Sinovic, Sanna Nyassi, Zarek Valentin, Jeb Brovsky and Collen Warner are young players with high upsides who are already regulars in MLS. Each could start on Day 1, if they’re still with the team.
The only pick I’m not so sure about was Josh Gardner, a one-time MLS washout who bounced around American soccer’s lower divisions before making it back to MLS with Columbus this year. At 29, maybe he’s a late bloomer. Who knows? You’re allowed to get one pick wrong in the expansion draft, and I haven’t seen enough of Gardner to claim to know more than Montreal knows about him.
5) PSP’s half-assed mock draft smoked everyone else’s
PSP rightly predicted the picks of Valentin, Warner, Nyassi and Sinovic.
And we might still prove right if Montreal turns around and trades Ching back to Houston for Danny Cruz and other fun stuff (which they’ll surely try, only to have Houston tell them to go suck on lemons). We probably would’ve been right about O’Brian White, but we didn’t account for Chivas USA’s imbecilic entry into the spotlight that likely prompted Montreal to take Riley instead. And it was a coin flip on Mapp and Kyle Nakazawa, so that didn’t surprise much.
As for the rest? Eh, win some, lose some.
SBNation got zero right in its mock draft. WVHooligan got one right. MLSSoccer.com had three mock drafts side by side; we beat them all. Black and Red United got three right. The Shin Guardian got two right. Maybe someone else got more right, but I haven’t seen it.
So does that mean PSP is awesome?
Yes, yes it does.
(And maybe some day we’ll make up for getting every pick wrong in our first mock draft in 2009, including projecting James Riley over Sebastien Le Toux. Sheer genius, that one.)