MLS Draft 2012: Wenger, Mattocks Are Top Two Picks; Biggest Surprise Was No Trades

The expansion Montreal Impact made Andrew Wenger their first ever MLS SuperDraft pick and the Vancouver Whitecaps were only too happy to snap Darren Mattocks at number two overall

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MLS Draft 2012 Recap: Biggest Surprise Was Lack Of Surprises

The biggest surprise in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft may have been the simple lack of surprises. During the build up to the draft, all the chatter was about how picks were going to be trading hands like crazy. Most seemed to expect at least three. It turned out, there was not a single draft-day trade of 2012 picks.

Aside from the New York Red Bulls sending their 2013 first-round pick to the Portland Timbers in exchange for Kenny Cooper, there was a remarkable lack of movement. It's hard to say what caused that, but it could very well be that the teams looking to trade down were looking for too much and the teams looking to trade up weren't all that enamored with what was available.

The first two picks of the draft went essentially according to plan, as well. Andrew Wenger going No. 1 may have been a minor upset, but no one expected him to fall beyond No. 2. Wenger would seem to be a solid fit with the Montreal Impact at either center back or midfielder. The reverse could be said for No. 2 pick Darren Mattocks, who the Vancouver Whitecaps are most likely expecting to replace Camilo Sanvezzo. It does create an interesting situation with last year's No. 1 pick Omar Salgado, who vocally chaffed at his lack of playing time during his rookie year.

None of this is to suggest everything went exactly according to plan. Chandler Hoffman, around whom the hype train had really started to build steam, fell all the way to No. 13 where he was grabbed by the Philadelphia Union. Hoffman could be fighting it out for minutes with the likes of former No. 1 overall pick Danny Mwanga.

Also stumbling down the draft order were fellow Generation Adidas class members Enzo Martinez and Tyler Polak. Martinez ended up in a situation that might end up being a great move for him longterm, as Real Salt Lake snapped him up with the No. 17 pick.

Polak was the final GA player to go off the board, as the Creighton defender went No. 22 to the New England Revolution. Polak fell so far, in fact, that he wasn't even the first Creighton defender to be taken, as teammate Andrew Duran claimed that honor when the Seattle Sounders took him with the No. 15 pick. He was actually the third Blue Jay taken on the day, with Ethan Finlay going to the Columbus Crew at No. 10.

In another mild upset, no school ended up producing more SuperDraft picks this year than Creighton's four. Only Louisville had as many. North Carolina produced three and some of the traditional powers like Akron (1), Maryland (1) and UCLA (2) had abnormally quiet years on this front.

The other notable absence from the SuperDraft was the names of international players. Despite guys like Jason Banton, Giener Garcia and Kohei Yamada getting a fair amount of press during the combine, none of them were picked.

First Round

1 Montreal Impact *Andrew Wenger Defender Duke University
2 Vancouver Whitecaps FC *Darren Mattocks Forward University of Akron
3 New England Revolution *Kelyn Rowe Midfielder UCLA
4 Toronto FC Luis Silva Midfielder UC Santa Barbara
5 Chivas USA Casey Townsend Forward University of Maryland
6 San Jose Earthquakes *Sam Garza Forward UC Santa Barbara
7 D.C. United Nick DeLeon Midfielder University of Louisville
8 Portland Timbers *Andrew Jean-Baptiste Defender University Of Connecticut
9 Chicago Fire Austin Berry Defender University of Louisville
10 Columbus Crew Ethan Finlay Forward Creighton University
11 FC Dallas Matt Hedges Defender University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
12 Toronto FC Aaron Maund Defender University of Notre Dame
13 Philadelphia Union *Chandler Hoffman Forward UCLA
14 Colorado Rapids Tony Cascio Midfielder University Of Connecticut
15 Seattle Sounders FC Andrew Duran Defender Creighton University
16 Sporting Kansas City *Dom Dwyer Forward University of South Florida
17 Real Salt Lake *Enzo Martinez Midfielder University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
18 Houston Dynamo Colin Rolfe Forward University of Louisville
19 Los Angeles Galaxy Tommy Meyer Defender Indiana University
Second Round

20 Montreal Impact Callum Mallace Midfielder Marquette University
21 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Chris Estridge Defender Indiana University
22 New England Revolution *Tyler Polak Defender Creighton University
23 Chicago Fire Luckymore Mkosana Forward Dartmouth College
24 Real Salt Lake Diogo de Almeida Defender Southern Methodist University
25 San Jose Earthquakes Jacob Hustedt Midfielder University of Washington
26 Columbus Crew Aubrey Perry Defender University of South Florida
27 Portland Timbers Brendan King Midfielder University of Notre Dame
28 Chicago Fire Hunter Jumper Defender University of Virginia
29 Columbus Crew Kevan George Midfielder University of Central Florida
30 Sporting Kansas City Cyprian Hedrik Midfielder Coastal Carolina University
31 New York Red Bulls Ryan Meara Goalkeeper Fordham University
32 Philadelphia Union Greg Jordan Midfielder Creighton University
33 San Jose Earthquakes Chris Blais Goalkeeper University of South Florida
34 Seattle Sounders FC Babayele Sodade Forward University of Alabama Birmingham
35 Philadelphia Union Raymon Gaddis Defender West Virginia University
36 Real Salt Lake Sebastian Velasquez Midfielder Spartanburg Methodist College
37 Houston Dynamo Warren Creavalle Midfielder University of Central Florida
38 Los Angeles Galaxy Kenny Walker Midfielder University of Louisville

* indicates Generation Adidas


MLS Draft 2012: Colorado Rapids Select Tony Cascio With No. 14 Pick

With the departure of Sanna Nyassi, the Colorado Rapids went about replacing him by making Tony Cascio the No. 14 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Cascio was primarily a wide player at UConn and will almost certainly compete for a starting spot right away.

Cascio won't really blow you away with his physical attributes, but he was being called the best pure winger in the draft. Considering he was playing almost exclusively out wide, his numbers weren't too bad at all at UConn.

The four-year starter had at least eight points (or 10 points if you go by the college system) every season. His best goal-scoring year was 2010 when he found the back of the net 10 times in just 19 games. Although his scoring regressed during his senior year to five, he did pick up eight assists.

Supposedly, he can also play in the middle, something that should help him get on the field a little more. During the combine he was doing a good job of picking up defensive responsibilities and that motor could really come in handy at the next level.

For live draft updates, be sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: Toronto FC Selects Aaron Maund With No. 12 Pick

In dire need of some quality defenders, Toronto FC went a little off the board to select Notre Dame's Aaron Maund with the No. 12 pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Maund did not really shine in the combine and was not considered a first-round talent by many draft analysts, but he is a solid player with the ball at his feet and could be useful for Aaron Winter.

Maund was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, starting at least 18 matches every year. Considering how much trouble Toronto FC had on defense, there's plenty of reason to think that he'll get the same opportunity there. That he was a decent passer should help his cause, as Winter looks to build from the back.

Maund has also played at a relatively high level, appearing in the U20 World Cup in 2009 and for the U17 World Cup team in 2007.

For more on the latest updates on the MLS SuperDraft, be sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: San Jose Earthquakes Select Sam Garza With No. 6 Pick

The San Jose Earthquakes selected Sam Garza with the No. 6 pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Garza could very well be a starter with the Earthquakes from Day 1 and the Generation Adidas player should feel perfectly comfortable out wide.

Garza is the prototypical winger who can hug the touchline fly into the attacking third. Blessed with great pace, Garza was actually primarily a forward at UC Santa Barbara, where he scored he scored 17 goals and added 10 assists in two years, but he projects as a winger in the pros and can play on either wing. That type of versatility gives him added value, as does his aforementioned pace, but he also possesses good skill on the ball that allows him to get past defenders with more than just pace.

The one downside about Garza is that he may not be ready to step in and make a big impact from the start, although his MLS Combine performance eased some of those concerns. He has some improving to do, which is why his Generation adidas status is so important. The Earthquakes can bring him along a little slower if need be as he develops without feeling the need to press him into action.

For live coverage of the draft, make sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: Chivas USA Select Casey Townsend With No. 5 Pick

Chivas USA picked Casey Townsend with the No. 5 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Townsend will likely fill the void left by Justin Braun's departure and could be a nice pairing with Juan Pablo Angel. Despite Chivas USA's struggles, there's a decent chance that he'll be allowed to come along relatively slowly, as Alejandro Moreno should still be able to provide decent minutes.

Townsend was widely considered to be one of the best pure scorers available. In his freshman year at Maryland, Townsend scored 11 goals for the Terps as they made a run to a national championship. His stock was high at the time, but he opted to stay in school. Injuries kept him from matching that goal tally in his sophomore and junior seasons, but Townsend finally became the healthy and consistent player he was in 2008 during this season, scoring 17 goals for Maryland.

Townsend has the size and pace to compete at the MLS level, but certainly isn't truly elite in either area. That's certainly not to say that Townsend won't be very productive as a pro. His goal-scoring record is excellent, and he was one of the most impressive players at the pre-draft combine.

For the latest updates on the draft, be sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: Toronto FC Selects Luis Silva With No. 4 Pick

Toronto FC selected Luis Silva with the No. 4 pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Silva will most likely be able to start early on, most likely in the middle of the midfield band of Aron Winter's 4-3-3 formation. While Silva showed a nice scoring touch during his senior year at UC Santa Barbara, he is comfortable as a playmaker as well.

Silva is a rare breed, indeed. In addition to his playmaker/scorer combination, he also has the kind of size that should make his transition to MLS relatively smooth. At 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, he's already got plenty of size and will surely be able to put on a few more pounds over the next few months.

At UCSB, Silva was pretty much unstoppable, at least during his senior year. After three years in which he showed promise but not necessarily star power, Silva busted out in 2011. with 17 goals and 10 assists, he was among the college points leaders.

The only question about Silva might be if last year was a men-against-boys situation. At 23 years old, he is a little advanced for some of his competition, but he showed well at the MLS Combine and seems to have answered any of those concerns.

For the latest updates from the draft, be sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: New England Revolution Pick Kelyn Rowe With No. 3 pick

The New England Revolution selected Kelyn Rowe with the No. 3 overall selection of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Rowe will be an interesting pairing with Benny Feilhaber in the Revolution midfield. The question will be where do the goals come from? As good as Rowe was, he was much more of a creative force than scorer.

At the start of the season, Rowe was expected to be one of the top players in the draft and is an incredibly skilled midfielder that can be the type of playmaker that is so difficult to find. He almost left UCLA for a Generation adidas contract last year, but chose to stay in college and picked up Pac-12 Player of the Year honors for his play. Rowe scored six times and added 10 assists as a sophomore in 2011, playing the lead creative role for the Bruins en route to the College Cup.

All was not rosy for Rowe in 2011 though as it was rumored that the fantastic midfielder let some of the hype get to his head, leading to him being dropped from the starting lineup. He took the move in stride though and still played the bulk of the matches after coming off the bench and thrived late in the season, proving to observers that he was every bit the player he was said to be.

While the former U.S. U-20 and current U-23 midfielder is on the small side at 5-foot-8, 150 pounds his skill and quickness more than make up for it. He's proven just how good he is on the ball at the youth international level and is among the handful of players most expect to not just be a good player in the long-term, but one that Revolution can also expect step in and make an impact as a rookie.

For live coverage of the draft, make sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: Vancouver Whitecaps Select Darren Mattocks With No. 2 Pick

After being thrown a bit of a curveball when the Montreal Impact took Andrew Wenger No. 1, the Vancouver Whitecaps selected Darren Mattocks with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. The pick is a bit of a surprise since forward seemed to be one of the few areas that the Whitecaps had some depth, but Mattocks could be used as a trade chip or, potentially, moved to more of a wide midfielder.

Mattocks was clearly the best pure scorer available. His 39 goals over the past two seasons at Akron (just 47 matches) were easily the most in Division I soccer and scouts seemed to love his scoring touch and speed. At 6-foot-0, 165 pounds has the kind of body that should eventually adapt to MLS's physical style.

As it is, Mattocks will probably want to put on a few pounds, but that's probably not entirely necessary for him to succeed. His first touch is considered strong and he's got decent enough passing skills for a player who will be expected to find the back of the net.

Mattocks' selection marks the fourth straight year that an Akron forward was selected within the first five picks of the MLS SuperDraft. He follows in the footsteps of Steve Zakuani (No. 1 in 2009), Teal Bunbury (No. 5 in 2010) and Darlington Nagbe (No. 2 in 2011).

Mattocks has been compared to fellow Jamaican Omar Cummings and team official would be thrilled if he can match that kind of production.

For live coverage of the draft, make sure to follow this StoryStream.


MLS Draft 2012: Montreal Impact Select Andrew Wenger With First Pick

In a bit of an upset, the Montreal Impact selected Duke junior Andrew Wenger with the first pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Wenger will most likely play center back at the MLS level, but he has played both midfield and forward in the past. Wengner, in fact, has expressed a desire to play midfield at the next level.

With outstanding versatility and technical skill for an NCAA product, Wenger was been pegged as a likely top-five pick for months. The former ACC Defensive Player of the Year was moved to striker this past season and excelled, notching 17 goals and eight assists as he was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. That brought up questions about what position he would play in professional soccer when he made the jump, but he looks much more likely to be a defender or midfielder than a striker.

At 6'0" and 185 pounds, Wenger is big enough to play in the center of defense, but doesn't have ideal size. More likely than not, he projects as a defensive midfielder at the next level, though he could play a number of positions. He's similar to the likes of Perry Kitchen and Geoff Cameron in that regard, and he appears to be around that level of talent.

For the latest updates on the draft, be sure to follow this StoryStream.

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