Having had a few days to let things sink in, this examiner is ready to talk. Put simply, I’m fine with the comings and goings that transpired last week. And here’s why:
James Riley comes to the Goats after three successful years up in Seattle. It’s true; the 29 year old John Legend impersonator is not a world beater. However with Michael Lahoud a midfielder by trade, Mariano Trujillo’s dip in form that has sent him to the bench, and Zarek Valetin’s (more on him in a bit) inexperience in the pro ranks, Riley provides a stable presence at the Right Back position. In his three years with Seattle, he was a consistent starter. I don’t have to post all the stats here, but if I did, they would point to a player that is something that’s desperately needed on the backline.
And now for the goings. Earlier this season, it was mentioned to me that there were rumblings that the Front Office and Justin Braun weren’t on good terms. Speculation ran rampant amongst the team supporters that with Jesse Marsch at the helm in Montreal, Braun would be left unprotected in the expansion draft. As was seen, the Goats did no such thing. Rather than let Braun go, they got something in return. And while some may cry foul about Gerson Mayen being sent away with Braun, let’s be honest, he was never going to get a fair shake with the Goats. For all the talk about his potential, he’d been here since 2008. In the 3 years since setting foot in the first team, hardly anything came from him. Sure he had a nice pass here and there, but that was it. And he certainly didn’t set the world a blaze while away on loan. So to get Riley in exchange for an allegedly disgruntled employee and a spare part, I say it was a great deal.
As for Zarek Valentin, he had his moments. But for every moment he had, he also suffered blunders. It’s not entirely his fault though. The management shouldn’t have put such a burden on a 19-year old. While it’s obvious that Valentin has potential, the Goats needed results now. So the best possible move for both Valentin and the Goats was for him to be selected by Montreal and for the Goats to be rid of his $132,000 salary for next season (please do something nice with that saved money Mr. Domene).
Add to Riley the acquisition of former Sporting KC midfielder Ryan Smith, and the Goats seem to be doing ok so far this offseason. Still though there is still a ways to go before next season. With a few diamonds in the rough in next year’s college draft, and next month’s re-entry draft, expect more shake ups for the Goats.