With the 9th pick in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft, the Montreal Impact have selected Seattle Sounders right back James Riley. Riley was immediately traded to Chivas USA for striker Justin Braun. After the conclusion of the draft it was also announced that the Impact have traded allocation dollars for Sounders left back Tyson Wahl, meaning Seattle is left with just one full back-Leo Gonzalez-on the roster.
The loss of Riley is a major surprise, but not nearly as big a surprise as the transaction that followed his selection. That Montreal was able to add a young striker of Braun's caliber in exchange for Riley is perhaps the biggest news to come out of the day and will leave some Sounders fans wondering if a similar deal could have been made before Riley's selection (aside from the Impact's decision to select Brian Ching with the first pick just a day after his stated intention to retire should he be selected, which is just too bizarre to process.)
Clearly, the Sounders would not have traded Wahl if there wasn't some sort of major change coming to the defense; the question now is what it will be. Leo Gonzalez worked his way back into heavy rotation late on in the season and the team is likely comfortable with him as their starter, but as of now he has no cover and is not exactly known for his endurance. It seems unlikely that Seattle will enter the season with Zach Scott as their starting right back, but the question is whether they have a signing lined up or if the team plans to convert a midfielder; Brad Evans is one name that has been mentioned as such a possibility. What's certain is that some fairly significant changes are coming, and they're likely to be coming rather soon. Expansion Draft day is always busy, so don't step too far away just yet.
Montreal Impact 2011 MLS Expansion Draft List:
Jeb Brovsky, D/M, Vancouver Whitecaps
- Bobby Burling, D, San Jose Earthquakes
- Brian Ching, F, Houston Dynamo
- Josh Gardner, M/F, Columbus Crew
- Justin Mapp, M, Philadelphia Union
- Sanna Nyassi, M/F, Colorado Rapids
- James Riley, D, Seattle Sounders
- Seth Sinovic, D, Sporting KC
- Zarek Valentin, D, Chivas USA
- Collen Warner, D, Real Salt Lake