Much has been written about the Montreal Impact's expansion draft yesterday. There's been a great deal of sober analysis from Major League Soccer experts and pundits in all sorts of media about the team the Montreal Impact have begun to build.
This is not that.
Nah, this is a chance for somebody who avowedly hates the Montreal Impact to cut loose and make fun of the surrender monkeys a little. After the jump, my review of Montreal's expansion draft from somebody not only eager but enthusiastic to see wickedness and incompetence in everything they do.
|#1 Overall, Brian Ching, Houston Dynamo|
|33 years old||Forward||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $425,000|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: lol/10|
There are many reasons to select a player like Brian Ching in the expansion draft. Ching's an egregiously over-paid, injury-prone, rapidly-aging second-tier forward who, even when healthy, will only barely be a starter on any decent MLS team. He has bad knees, less speed than Ali Gerba after a pie-eating competition, and while his finishes are reliable it's less and less clear that he'll be able to get into position to take advantage of that. Besides, he can't possibly have many years left, meaning that unless the Impact are planning to to win in 2012 he'll be washed-up before he can be helpful.
Oh, and he would sooner retire than play in Montreal. There is that.
Hey, maybe Ching will choose not to retire and he'll sulk through a season at Stade Saputo old, hurt, and miserable! Maybe the Montreal Impact will trade him back to the Dynamo for Andre Hainault in that alternate universe where Dominic Kinnear is bugfuck insane enough to give up a useful asset for a decaying mound of flesh he left exposed in the expansion draft! And at worst the acquisition of Ching weakens the Dynamo by depriving them of an elderly bench player with a contract so awful he actually has negative value and only one or two seasons left in his career!
It's smooth moves like this which have given Jesse Marsch the success he's enjoyed for his entire career.
|#2 Overall, Zarek Valentin, Chivas USA|
|20 years old||Right back||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $132,000|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 8/10|
Zarek Valentin represents a decent investment from the Montreal Impact. He's young (actually young, not MLS young), promising, and seems to have more going for him than just athleticism. Chivas USA fans seem to be gutted to have lost him and, as soon as it was announced he'd be available, just about everybody was predicting he'd be Montreal bound.
Valentin's a many-time American U-20 international and will be participating in their U-23 camp. He's a good one and ain't no Jonathan Leathers. I wasn't sure he improved that much over the course of the season, perhaps explaining why Chivas wasn't determined to keep him, and he did make the occasional laugh-out-loud mistake, but he's twenty. This is a pick I would have made.
|#3 Overall, Justin Mapp, Philadelphia Union|
|27 years old||Winger||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $183,333|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 4/10|
Hey there, Whitecaps fans! You remember Nizar Khalfan? Exciting, bit mercurial, occasionally disappeared for hours at time, but once in a while he'd be brilliant and you'd be like "oh, good, Nizar Khalfan." Well, imagine if Khalfan was more than twice as expensive, half a decade older, just a little bit worse, quite a bit lazier in his own half, and instead of single-handedly engineering a comeback in his second MLS game his career highlight was "once set up a goal by Jonathan Bornstein".
I give you Justin Mapp! Philadelphia Union fans seem a bit upset to lose him and for the life of me I can't understand why. Look at that guaranteed compensation. Nearly two hundred thou in a salary cap league for the rich man's Justin Moose? Mapp's not the worst crosser of the ball and he might be useful crossing the ball into big Ali Gerba oh wait they cut him.
|#4 Overall, Bobby Burling, San Jose Earthquakes|
|27 years old||Central defender||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $42,000|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 3/10|
Is Greg Janicki.
|#5 Overall, Jeb Brovsky, Vancouver Whitecaps|
|22 years old||Right back/central midfielder||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $42,000|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: rofl/10|
I'm biased because I'm a Vancouver Whitecaps fan, but this pick honestly made me wonder if Jesse Marsch was trolling us. Is this the fake MLS Expansion Draft, designed to get the Impact in the newspapers rather than build a decent team, and on Friday afternoon they'll announce "no, no, seriously, here's the real team".
Jeb Brovsky isn't the worst player in the world as a central midfielder. (He pretty much is the worst player in the world as a right back.) However, he stood out for his terribleness even on the 2011 Wooden Spoon-waving Vancouver Whitecaps, and while that's a heck of an individual achievement I'm not sure I'd select a player on those grounds. Listening to Jesse Marsch praise Brovsky's youth and versatility made me feel like I was listening to some kind of Quebec-based Tom Soehn grabbing useless Americans because, as a useless American himself, they made him feel at home.
Montreal Impact fans also got a fair look at Brovsky watching the Whitecaps in MLS this past season. So watching their despair was probably the most hilarious part of the expansion draft. It'll be nothing to listening to an entire stadium sob as one while Brovsky gets his ass corkscrewed into the ground by the likes of Ned Grabavoy next year, though.
|#6 Overall, Collen Warner, Real Salt Lake|
|23 years old||Midfielder||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $55,750|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 5/10|
Imagine the anxiety in Real Salt Lake headquarters before the expansion draft. They have a deep team and had to expose some pretty high-quality players: Ned Grabavoy, Paolo Araujo Jr., Chris Schuler, even veterans like Andy Williams... there's some serious talent left on the board in Utah. And some poor runner has to come back and give Jason Kreis the bad news.
"We lost somebody," says the poor forlorn runner.
Oh no. "Was it Grabavoy? I bet it was Grabavoy."
"No, sir. It was Collen Warner, an undersized, half-talented midfielder who isn't very physical, hasn't got great defensive awareness, neither passes nor shoots well, and mostly keeps his head above water coming off the bench because nobody expects him to do anything, so he doesn't."
There was a pause, I'm sure. In the background, there'd be the sound of a bottle of champagne popping.
Collen Warner! He's not an awful player, really; a useful sort of almost-young depth who you can use as a substitute if somebody good is hurt or tired and who'll never make you say "aah what a piece of crap". Think of him as a young Peter Vagenas. His selection is a poor one made hilarious by the positive abundance of talent Real Salt Lake had available that Marsch ignored.
|#7 Overall, Josh Gardner, Columbus Crew|
|29 years old||Left back/winger||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $49,200|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 5/10|
Josh Gardner is a perfectly generic player, one who does nothing well and not much badly. He's a born winger who spent much of the past season at left back and did all right under the circumstances. He had a fairly good second division career and is well on his way to a passable MLS tenure as a journeyman winger until he loses a step and drops out of the league at age 31.
Given the assortment of stiffs, bums, projects, and mediocrities Montreal has picked so far, that actually sounds pretty good. At minimum you know Gardner won't make many mistakes and will play whatever role you need him to; good utility players are a useful asset to get out of the expansion draft. But he is 29, and he is pretty mediocre, and I doubt he'll last long in Montreal.
|#8 Overall, Sanna Nyassi, Colorado Rapids|
|22 years old||Winger||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $42,000|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 8/10|
Sanna Nyassi is a talented, young-ish player with a bad attitude and a good chance of skipping off to Europe. He also scores goals, notches fine assists, dogs it in his own half but makes up for it on the attack, and is a thoroughly worthy expansion draft selection. He's a risk, but a good risk: there's a chance he'll completely melt down or scarper off to Europe but you know he can be a positive contributor in MLS. Plus he's cheap.
This pick annoys me. It's not spectacular but it's precisely correct. I can't even make fun of it.
|#9 Overall, James Riley, Seattle Sounders|
|29 years old||Defender/midfielder||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $97,952|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: incomplete/10|
James Riley is getting older than you might think, makes more money than you might guess, and is a sub-par defensive player for a team whose defense had more problems than I think the world acknowledges. If the Impact had kept him I'd have given him another idiosyncratic rating out of ten which acknowledged his suckiness and made fun of him for 400 words.
Unfortunately, Jesse Marsch then traded Riley with allocation money to Chivas USA for the excellent Justin Braun. That better have been a lot of allocation money because Justin Braun can do some damage. I can't really give Riley a rating because the Impact traded him, but on the other hand I'm not sure I should give him credit for being traded either. One thing's for sure: somebody at Chivas USA owes Nick di Santis money.
|#10 Overall, Seth Sinovic, Sporting Kansas City|
|24 years old||Left back||2011 Guaranteed Compensation: $32,604|
|Eighty Six Forever Rating: 7/10|
Sporting Kansas City fans are gutted to have lost Seth Sinovic and I suppose I should defer to their superior wisdom. Justin Mayhugh said for the Daily Wiz that "I still don't feel like I have any understanding of what the rational was of not protecting Sinovic, and honestly, I'll probably never know."
I'm not sure what the big deal is, to be honest. Sinovic is from Kansas City, which I know will spur some hometown protectiveness the same way some Whitecaps fans were horrified to lose Terry Dunfield. He also had a good run late in the season and, of course, his contract is fine value. But I saw a second-year player who washed out of New England and Salt Lake, somebody of limited on-field talent and who's a bit undersized even for an MLS fullback. I'm not saying I think Sinovic is bad, just that I don't think he lived up to the attention.
So yeah, seven out of ten is about right. I don't doubt that he'll be the same passable squad player for Montreal that he was in Kansas City, and that's worth spending an expansion draft pick on. Still, he's being touted as one of the steals of the draft and it just doesn't add up.