Impact round-up: Ching back to Houston, Valentin off to U.S. U-23 camp

Brian Ching

In the end, the Montreal Impact got a conditional 2013 draft pick with its first pick in the MLS Expansion Draft.

On Thursday, the Impact announced it had finalized a trade with the Houston Dynamo, sending veteran striker Brian Ching back to Texas. The Impact gets the conditional pick in return.

The Impact selected Ching, the Dynamo’s all-time leading top scorer with 63 goals, with its first Expansion Draft pick, even though the big Hawaiian had stated that he would retire if he was selected by Montreal. The Impact, strangely, bore the brunt of the scorn from MLS fans, while the Dynamo, which chose to leave its all-time top scorer unprotected, didn’t receive nearly as much criticism.

But, Ching soon relented, and said he would report to Montreal, and had been at camp with the team until earlier this week.

Quebec fans who were hoping for big returns on Ching will be disappointed, as a conditional pick isn’t a big payback. In the end, the Impact basically returned the player to Houston for a small token in return. And Ching gets to be back in his MLS home, and help the Dynamo open its new park, BBVA Compass Stadium.

It was always going to be a gamble for the Impact. But, considering that it’s rare for every one of any team’s expansion picks to actually make it to opening day, the Impact really can’t be faulted for taking the flyer. Remember that, last year, the Portland Timbers took expansion-draft risks by selecting Robbie Findley and Jonathan Bornstein, two players who were thought to be (and did) packing their bags and leaving MLS.

“It feels good having Brian back where he belongs,” said Dynamo president Chris Canetti on the Dynamo’s website. “It was a long and difficult process, but we got the right result. I am happy that he will have the opportunity to play in the new stadium in front of his Houstonian fans who so badly wanted him here.”

The Impact also announced that defender Zarek Valentin, another expansion draft pick, will join the U.S. U-23 camp on Feb. 19. This means he has a shot to be named as a member of the Olympic squad that will begin CONCACAF qualifying March 22 in Nashville.

Canada has yet to name its U-23 roster. Many players were contacted weeks ago, including FC Edmonton’s Shaun Saiko, Kyle Porter and Michal Misiewicz, Toronto FC’s Matt Stinson and Huddersfield Town’s Simon Thomas. But the CSA later clarified that those players were part of a preliminary list that CONCACAF needed to have well in advance of the Nashville tourney, and said it will release an official camp list later on. The team participating in the Olympic qualifiers have up to 48 hours before kickoff of their first games to name their official rosters.

RELATED:
Ching relents, will report to Montreal (CLICK)

Expansion Draft: Impact ignores Ching’s retirement threat (CLICK)

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.