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Impact ignore retirement threat, make Ching first pick in expansion draft


The Montreal Impact didn't waste any time in making a statement in the MLS Expansion Draft.

Despite threats that Brian Ching would retire if selected, the Impact made the Houston Dynamo forward and captain the first overall pick in Wednesday's draft. 

"I know that he's expressed that he doesn't want to be here, but we would be delighted to get him here," said Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, who added that he informed Ching of his decision in a phone call Wednesday morning. "If it doesn't work out that way, then it doesn't, but we think there's value to him. Our initial phase was just to think about what he is as a player and what value he has.

"When you look at the draft, you have to look at it in terms of building your team and what pieces you want to put in place for your team moving forward, but also how to maximize the value of the draft. If it doesn't work out, then hopefully we'll be able to figure out another situation that's beneficial for everybody involved."

In addition to Ching, the Impact pounced on the chance to grab former Chivas USA and U.S. Under-20 defender Zarek Valentin, a year after he was an early first-round selection and a Generation adidas signing.

"We were delighted that he was available, and quite surprised actually," Marsch said. "We consider ourselves very lucky to have access to him."

The Impact were able to add another of Chivas' young assets by drafting Seattle right back James Riley and then trading him to the Goats for 24-year-old forward Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen. In a separate deal, the Impact dealt allocation money to Seattle for Tyson Wahl.

Here are the 10 players the Impact selected in Wednesday's draft to join Hassoun Camara, Nelson Rivas, Evan Bush and Sinisa Ubiparipovic on the club's MLS roster:


Brian Ching, F, Houston Dynamo

Zarek Valentin, D, Chivas USA

Justin Mapp, M, Philadelphia Union

Bobby Burling, D, San Jose Earthquakes

Jeb Brovsky, M, Vancouver Whitecaps

Collen Warner, M, Real Salt Lake

Josh Gardner, D, Columbus Crew

Sanna Nyassi, M, Colorado Rapids

James Riley, D, Seattle Sounders (traded to Chivas USA for Justin Braun, Gerson Mayen)

Seth Sinovic, D, Sporting Kansas City


What do you think of the Impact's selections? What do you make of the decision to pick Ching?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hainault’s more valuable to Houston than Ching, especially considering that Houston has the shallowest roster in MLS. With the new stadium and all the hype, Brian Ching’s celebrity won’t be missed from a monetary standpoint. Davis, Cameron, Tally Hall and Adam Moffat are household names here, too.

    Plus, Hainault has a lot invested in the Dynamo. He skipped that Canada call up for the Portland game, remember. If he wants to play in Montreal, he’ll wait till his contract with the Dynamo is up.

  2. Haha – agree with you that “dickmove” should be in Urban Dictionary.

    I really think fans get more upset about this ‘one team for his entire career’ stuff than the players/front offices. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of NFL SF 49ers when Joe Montana went to Kansas City and Jerry Rice went to the Raiders. It’s a business. And from a business standpoint, Ching has some value.

    I would be surprised if he retired, because I think he still has some gas in the tank, and it’s not like he made more money in his career than he’ll ever be able to spend. He’s 33 years old, and if he retires and works in the Houston front office, he’s not going to make anywhere near $400k. Unless he’s made some really solid investments over the years, he would be crazy not to play until his knees give out.

    If he really does retire, then of the three parties involved, it probably hurts Ching the most. Houston comes out ok because they don’t have a part-time player eating up a huge portion of their salary cap. Montreal wasted a pick in the expansion draft, but usually only 3 or 4 guys from the expansion draft contribute much anyway, so they’ll be okay.

    I think Houston and Montreal will work out some kind of a deal and Ching will get to go back to the Dynamo. Because remember – it’s a business.

  3. +1

    Silly move by Montreal. The Dynamo knew what they were doing, even if the worst case scenario did come to light. At least Danny Cruz wasn’t taken… Houston’s roster is too shallow as it is.

  4. Or not. Ching has little left in his legs and you’re on crack if you think he was surprised by his inclusion on the unprotected list. People seem to think that the organization doesn’t value their star. Hogwash.

  5. I don’t think the Dynamo got outsmarted like everyone seems to think. There’s little other than sentimental value left in Ching. Plus, Houston protected 11 other valuable players and didn’t lose Danny Cruz, a decent asset with time left in his legs.

    The Torres idea, as a Houston fan, sounds awesome. I should drop Dom Kinnear a line.

  6. There were 11 players more valuable to the long term success of the club. It was a reasonable gamble, especially since Ching has publicly stated he would retire in a year anyway (mostly because he wanted to play in the new stadium).

  7. Respectfully disagree. Before the MLS Cup, Ching said he wanted to play one more season because he wanted to play in the new Dynamo stadium.

    It was wise for the Dynamo not to protect him, even if they didn’t actually think Montreal would go for him. They had to leave Danny Cruz unprotected, too, which I’m sure they didn’t want to do.

  8. Wrong. Ching’s been with the same team for a decade (including the time in San Jose). His heart won’t be invested in any other team. He was going to retire in a year anyway. To force his hand like that… THAT’s the “dickmove.”

    BTW… “dickmove” (1 wd.) definitely needs an Urban Dictionary entry.

  9. There is no way to pretend this was a good move.

    Ching’s expensive, injury-prone, and close to retirement anyway. He didn’t want to leave, so his heart won’t be into playing for the Impact. Plus, there’s the chance the move was made out of spite, in which case he’ll have no motivation.

  10. They won’t trade Hainault, especially when Ching said he was only going to play another year in Houston (to break in the new stadium) before retiring.

    Hainault is more valuable to the Dynamo than Ching at this point.

  11. Montreal drafted Ching…but at the end they want Hainault…
    He is the first Qu├ębecois ever playing in major soccer league. We want him back home.
    Hainault should be in Montreal and Ching in Houston…both of them would be happy and both organisations also.

  12. Let Ching and Hainault both go. They’re both slower than molasses. Houston needs to keep getting younger, faster, more athletic. And yes, I’m a Dynamo fan.


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