Sounders defense takes double hit

sounders fc: Original players Riley (draft) and Wahl (trade) now with Montreal Impact

DON RUIZ; Staff writerNovember 24, 2011 

Sounders FC parted with two of its original players Wednesday.

Defender James Riley was selected by Montreal in the expansion draft. The Impact then traded Riley to Chivas USA for Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen.

Seattle also traded defender Tyson Wahl to Montreal for allocation money.

Riley and Wahl each had joined Seattle as part of the 2008 expansion draft, selected from San Jose and Kansas City, respectively.

It was the third time Riley has been claimed in an expansion draft, having also been selected by the San Jose Earthquakes from New England in 2007.

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

Riley appeared in 84 matches for the Sounders, 83 of those as a starter. He recorded one goal and five assists.

Wahl appeared in 39 Sounders games with 33 starts. He played in a career-high 22 games in the 2011 season, scored his first career goal and added two assists.

“Tyson has been a solid contributor, earning more minutes each season,” Schmid said. “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 of our team.”

In addition to the undisclosed allocation sum, the moves take more than $150,000 in salaries off Seattle’s books. Riley made $97,962 in guaranteed compensation last season, while Wahl made $54,770.

The loss of two defenders and the retirement of goalkeeper Kasey Keller, however creates the need for Seattle to reconfigure its back line during the offseason.

The main offensive players remain after the Impact passed on unprotected players such O’Brian White, Mike Fucito and Roger Levesque.

Among Montreal’s other expansion picks was Sanna Nyassi, a former member of the Sounders who was selected off Colorado’s roster.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 twitter/donruiztnt

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