Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Union lose Justin Mapp in MLS expansion draft, quickly sign a replacement

The Union have lost midfielder Justin Mapp to the Montreal Impact in today's expansion draft.

Union lose Justin Mapp in MLS expansion draft, quickly sign a replacement

The Union could lose veteran midfielder Justin Mapp in the MLS expansion draft. (Barbara Johnston/AP file photo)
The Union could lose veteran midfielder Justin Mapp in the MLS expansion draft. (Barbara Johnston/AP file photo)

The Union have lost midfielder Justin Mapp to the Montréal Impact in today's expansion draft.

But they quickly made up for Mapp's departure. In the waiver draft held immediately after the expansion draft, the Union acquired Tanzanian winger Nizar Khalfan from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

More on Khalfan in a moment. First, let's talk about Mapp. As I wrote Monday, he was a teammate of Impact manager Jesse Marsch with the Chicago Fire from 2003 to 2005. 

Although I predicted in that post that Mapp would be the Union player to go, there was a lot of buzz out of the Montréal media that the Impact might select Freddy Adu. Marsch told the Montréal Gazette yesterday that the the club was "analyzing how Freddy would fit."

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It turns out he didn't quite fit right. Perhaps that's because of his $594,884 guaranteed salary.

Union manager Peter Nowak admitted that leaving Adu unprotected was a gamble, but he played a hunch based on his close knowledge of Marsch and assistant coach Mike Sorber. 

The three men played together for the Fire in the club's early years - Nowak and Marsch were roomates - and Sorber was one of Nowak's assistant coaches on the 2008 U.S. men's Olympic team.
"Knowing them, our thinking was [the Impact] would be looking for pieces," Nowak said. "The expansion draft is always tricky, because you want to add guys who are going to be a contrast to bigger pieces... Fortunately for us, the logic paid off and we have Freddy back."

The three men played together for the Fire in the club's early years - Nowak and Marsch were roomates - and Sorber was one of Nowak's assistant coaches on the 2008 U.S. men's Olympic team.

"Knowing them, our thinking was [the Impact] would be looking for pieces," Nowak said. "The expansion draft is always tricky, because you want to add guys who are going to be a contrast to bigger pieces... Fortunately for us, the logic paid off and we have Freddy back."

Regarding Khalfan, he played a total of 1,066 minutes across 22 games this season, making nine starts. He recorded just one goal and nine assists, but his speed can cause some trouble.

Of more consequence is Khalfan's salary: $61,250 in guaranteed compensation. That's considerably less than Mapp's guaranteed compensation figure from this past season: $183,333.33. Khalfan will cost the Union an international player slot, but the money saved will help make up for that.

After acquiring Khalfan, the Union released two bench players: goalkeeper Thorne Holder and defender Juan Diego González. Holder never really amounted to anything, while González proved to be a considerable bust for his $193,462.50 guaranteed compensation.

The Colombian defender played a total of 630 minutes over seven league games for the Union. All of those minutes came in 2010. Which means the sum of his contributions this past season was: zero. All the way across his stat sheet.

I don't have Holder's salary figure because it wasn't included in the last round of numbers published by the MLS Players Union. What is certain, though, is that the Union have a pretty good amount of money to play with in the off-season.


The Impact made a total of 10 selections today, and there were some pretty big names among them. The full list:

1. F Brian Ching, Houston Dynamo
2. D Zarek Valentin, Chivas USA
3. M Justin Mapp, Philadelphia Union
4. D Bobby Burling, San Jose Earthquakes
5. D Jeb Brovsky, Vancouver Whitecaps
6. D Collen Warner, Real Salt Lake
7. F Josh Gardner, Columbus Crew
8. M Sanna Nyassi, Colorado Rapids
9. D James Riley, Seattle Sounders
10. D Seth Sinovic, Sporting Kansas City 

After the draft, Montréal made a few trades. They sent Riley to Chivas USA for forward Justin Braun and midfielder Gerson Mayen, then acquired defender Tyson Wahl from Seattle for allocation money.

The most intriguing selection on the board by far is Ching. He told the Houston Chronicle that he would retire if taken in the expansion draft. We'll see if the former U.S. national team striker stays true to his word, or whether he ends up playing elsewhere in 2012.

How do you think Mapp's departure will affect the Union? Are you relieved that the Impact didn't select Adu? Have your say in the comments.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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