In the week leading up to Wednesday's MLS expansion draft for the Montreal Impact, Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey knew his team would lose a player.
With several connections between RSL's coaching staff and their counterparts in Montreal, Lagerwey said he fully expected Montreal's coaching staff to evaluate players similar to the way his own staff would.
Sure enough, Montreal snatched RSL midfielder Collen Warner on Wednesday afternoon with one of its 10 picks in the expansion draft.
"It stinks to lose Collen Warner. Having been through five of these it always stinks at the end of the expansion process," said Lagerwey. "You're losing a first-round draft pick, and it's not a good thing."
Along with Warner, Montreal picked Vancouver's Jeb Brovsky, San Jose's Bobby Burling, Houston's Brian Ching, Columbus' Josh Gardner, Philadelphia's Justin Mapp, Colorado's Sanna Nyassi, Seattle's James Riley, Kansas City's Seth Sinovic and Chivas USA's Zarek Valentin.
Eight MLS teams did not lose a player.
Warner was a first-round draft pick by RSL in 2010. In his two years with the club, he registered a goal and five assists in 37 matches.
But the 23-year-old Warner didn't develop as much as the coaching staff had hoped for in 2011. When Javier Morales went down with a broken ankle in May, Warner was given ample opportunities to step in and fill those shoes. He appeared in 14 of the next 15 matches, registering eight starts.
Eventually, though, the coaching staff saw 17-year-old Luis Gil as the better fit. Over the final 14 games of the season, Gil started 10 and appeared in all but one. Warner started just five of those final 14 games.
"The fairest way to say it is that everybody on our club had opportunities this year," said Lagerwey. "The protected list is obviously a reflection of guys who took that chance, and 'cause of that you have to make tough choices with guys who didn't make the most of their chances."
At a base salary of $42,000, selecting Warner was a fairly inexpensive pick-up for the Impact.
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