Whether you think the Montreal Impact's selection of Brian Ching to be a gutsy attempt to call a player's bluff, a cynical move that cuts to the heart of Major League Soccer's inequities or simply a dumb move on the part of desperate team, it definitely made sure people were talking about the 2011 expansion draft. The people who are talking most about it, of course, are Houston Dynamo fans.
For the most part, they seem to fall into one of two camps: Those that think the Dynamo messed up by not protecting Ching and those who now hate Impact coach Jesse Marsch. Dynamo Theory tried to find a balance in assessing where this all goes from here on out:
There's the sentimental part of me that says give Montreal allocation money or a DP slot, hell even a player, to get Ching back for one more season. Sentimentality is not always the best choice though. The business side of me says let Montreal pay Ching's just below the DP line guaranteed contract and watch him get elective season ending knee surgery. Ching sits out the season, retires and joins Houston's front office and robs Montreal of nearly half a million dollars.
As someone without a dog in this fight, I'll say that I don't have much pity for the Dynamo here. Essentially, they were hoping to protect 12 players, while everyone else was limited to 11. If it was so important to make sure Ching got to finish his career in Houston, all they had to do was protect him. Instead they tried to have their cake (protect 11 players they must have figured were in danger of getting picked) and eating it too (keeping Ching).
Every team in the league probably made similar gambles, but few of them were so obvious about it and none of them got burned nearly this bad. I definitely sympathize with Ching, but I guess that's the world of a professional athlete.