James Riley, Tyson Wahl Leave Sounders On Expansion Draft Day

James Riley's speed in the attack will no longer wear Seattle's colors. Also lost is Tyson Wahl's set-play magic.

UPDATED with press releases on both transactions:

As the Montreal Impact look to build for their 2012 season they made two Seattle Sounders related  moves during the expansion draft to help their team. First they selected James Riley only to later ship him to Chivas USA for two players - Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen. After the expansion draft the Impact announced that they also traded for Tyson Wahl. The Sounders received allocation money in exchange.

On the field this puts the Sounders without one and a half starting fullback in their four man backline. The rebuilding and focus on defensive integration both into the attack and defending on the counter will be job one for Adrian Hanauer and staff this off-season. They do free up about 150k in order to make that a reality, not to mention the unknown allocation money. In Wahl they lose their best left footed set-play service. The loss of Riley will hurt the most in right sided overlapping runs. Riley quickly became a fan favorite through hard nosed filled play sprinting up and down the right touchline and was the first Sounder to get their own song purely based on MLS experience.

Off the field Seattle loses a true and genuine gentleman in Riley. James regularly helped out in numerous charitable causes, most notably the Renton Boys & Girls Club. He also aided efforts in breast cancer awareness, America SCORES-Seattle and other organizations. His presence as a person will be missed even more than on the field.

The Sounders lose two more players to expansion, but continue to have their core together. The spine remains whole, for now. Two open senior roster spots, cap room and allocation gains help to take the team to another level. Losing 5500 minutes puts them in a large hole though.

Now with the Riley press release

RENTON, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC defender James Riley was selected today by the Montreal Impact in the 2011 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft. Following the pick, Riley was traded to Chivas USA for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen.

 

Riley, 29, was a regular starter in his three seasons with Sounders FC. He started a career-high 29 matches in 2011, recording two assists, and appeared in 38 games across all competitions. He was voted the club's Humanitarian of the Year in 2010 and 2011 and was also named the club's Defender of the Year in 2010.

 

"It's not surprising that James Riley was picked by Montreal," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. "He's been our starting right back for three years and a quality player. We knew it would be a risk to not protect him. He's a veteran who can step in and help a defense right away."

 

Riley spent his first three MLS seasons with New England before being selected by San Jose in the 2008 Expansion Draft. He was then chosen by Seattle in the 2009 Expansion Draft. He totaled one goal and recorded five assists with Sounders FC, playing 84 matches and starting 83.

On Wahl

RENTON, WASH. - Seattle Sounders FC today traded defender Tyson Wahl to the Montreal Impact in exchange for allocation money.

 

Wahl, 27, started a career-high 22 games in his sixth MLS season. He was selected from Kansas City in the 2008 Expansion Draft and became the club's starting left back for much of his third season with Sounders FC.

 

"Tyson has been solid contributor, earning more minutes with each season," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. "We'll miss his value to our team, but this trade enables him to be a full-time starter and the allocation money will help us maintain the high quality in our team."

 

Wahl scored his first career goal on a direct free kick versus New England, a strike which was voted MLS Goal of the Week. He also had two assists this past season. He logged a career-high 1989 minutes and took a career-high 31 corner kicks. Over his three years in Seattle Wahl appeared in 39 matches, starting 33. He also started in the finals of both the 2009 and 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, each won by Sounders FC.

 

An All-American defender at the University of California, Wahl started every game during his four-year collegiate career. He was involved in the U.S. U-17 and U-20 residency programs and played in the U-17 World Youth Championships in 2001.

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