Impact head coach Jesse Marsch
Courtesy of Montreal Impact

Ching trade leaves Impact with unexpected outcome

The Montreal Impact might not have seen it shaking out this way, but Brian Ching’s brief tenure with the club has come to an end.

The club agreed to send the star striker back to the Houston Dynamo on Thursday in return for a conditional first-round pick in the 2013 SuperDraft, ending a nearly four-month soap opera that began when the Impact snagged Ching in the MLS Expansion Draft in November.

“I don’t think this was the outcome we expected at first,” Marsch told over the phone from the Impact’s preseason training base in Southern California. “But the present situation benefits everyone. Considering how Brian felt, maybe this is a logical outcome.”

Ching initially stated that he wouldn’t play for Marsch and the Impact but eventually backtracked and showed up for the club’s preseason workouts last month, publicly pledging his allegiance to his new club.

The veteran striker did take the time to praise the Montreal Impact after training with Houston on Thursday morning, later adding on his Twitter account that the fans in Quebec have “a great team and a good staff in place to be successful this season” and that he would “miss his Montreal Impact boys.”

He also had good words for Marsch, and Montreal's head coach appeared glad the feeling became reciprocal.

“From the beginning, I’ve said both publicly and privately to Brian how I respected him, how great a professional he's been throughout his career,” Marsch said. “Maybe he didn’t believe it at first, but I think he grew to understand.”

The trade leaves the Montreal Impact short on firepower, however, but an avenue to correct the situation might emerge as soon as Friday as former US international Eddie Johnson will be available through the league allocation process on Friday. Montreal are currently No. 1 on the list.

“We’ve known a deal with Eddie Johnson was in the works for some time,” Marsch said. “So until tomorrow, it’s up to us to work out what our options are. There are things we like in Eddie, and we’ll look at how he could fit with us.”

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