Chris Duvall's departure from the New York Red Bulls via the 2016 Expansion Draft probably wasn't a great surprise to him, since it wasn't a great surprise to almost anyone else. Nonetheless, it was not inevitable that he be scooped up by one of the Expansion Uniteds: as Atlanta (the team many had assumed would select the Georgia native) proved by picking a different full-back - Montreal Impact's Donny Toia - with its first pick.
It might not have been a great surprise to him that he was quickly flipped to Montreal by Minnesota, neatly filling the gap left by Toia's departure. The trade happened so soon after the Expansion Draft ended, it suggested Montreal didn't need much persuading - and that might suggest, to some, that perhaps the two clubs had discussed some sort of mutually agreeable post-draft maneuvering.
However it was engineered, Duvall is no longer a Red Bull. He leaves the only pro club he has ever known with three solid seasons under his belt. He contributed significantly to winning teams, and has the 2015 Supporters' Shield (and the 2016 Eastern Conference regular season title) to show for it. And now it is time to move on.
In a brief farewell note, he showed characteristic grace:
December 13, 2016
His teammates and colleagues reciprocated:
Sad to see you go big man. Wishing you nothing but the best. Thanks for everything you did for the club. #RBNY https://t.co/sus3s7cJ9a— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) December 13, 2016
I'm lucky to play in this league but I hate the expansion draft rn. Best of luck to one of the best teammates I've had @chrisduvall91— Sean Davis (@seanakiradavis) December 13, 2016
Good luck to @chrisduvall91 you will be missed...great teammate and friend— Sal Zizzo (@SalZizzo) December 13, 2016
All the best to @chrisduvall91— Gordon Stevenson (@gmksIV) December 13, 2016
Great guy on and off the field#RBNY pic.twitter.com/hKf7CFra9S
All the best my friend @chrisduvall91 ! A new chapter in your career ! Sad way to leave the team ... #RBNY #MLS— Damien Perrinelle (@DamP_92) December 13, 2016
As did many RBNY fans:
@chrisduvall91 I'll remember ur strength of character, as you had ur best #RBNY season after ending 2015 with a nasty injury. Much respect! https://t.co/sXswyIeEth— 7-0 (@THMFDRE) December 13, 2016
Thanks @chrisduvall91 . Stay warm up north. #RBNY #xRBNY pic.twitter.com/dJ1e0agmWy— Bill Reese (@ReeseCommaBill) December 13, 2016
Always class @chrisduvall91 best of luck - thanks again for the kit - enjoy the loons #RBNY pic.twitter.com/t9xUHcCDpS— kmPorter (@importerxporter) December 13, 2016
Good luck to @chrisduvall91! Your positive attitude & smile will be missed. #RBNY— Matt (@Metros96) December 13, 2016
Going to miss @chrisduvall91 thank you for all your hard work! pic.twitter.com/MKm0Y9DrvH— Kevin O'Connor (@konj83) December 13, 2016
Perhaps the best any player can hope for is to be fondly remembered by a former club. Duvall played for RBNY teams that won more games than they lost, and he leaves behind many more good memories than bad.
Best of luck, Chris - except, of course, when you're up against RBNY.