Zac MacMath is projected to go somewhere in the first round. (Maryland Athletic Media Relations)

MLS Draft Preparation: SB Nation Has You Covered

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RSL Soapbox: Nothing Super About Draft For Real Salt Lake

The importance of the MLS SuperDraft has not risen to the level of, say, the NFL Draft and doesn't seem to be on its way there. As Brian Straus at AOL Fanhouse pointed out, just one player drafted in the post-2000 SuperDraft era has gone on to win an MVP in MLS. That's not to say it's an irrelevant tool, just that championships are not often won and loss on draft day.

Case in point is Real Salt Lake, arguably the best run team in MLS today. RSL Soapbox's Denz points out that their draft history is littered with busts and that just one player who is expected to start next year has come out of the SuperDraft.

Over the years the players actually drafted by Real Salt Lake have had a very mixed impact, and while many players on our roster were drafted by someone (since that is the most common way of entering MLS) if you look at our roster today you will only see only one regular starter that was actually drafted by RSL, Tony Beltran.

Denz details the litany of failed prospects to wear the claret and cobalt. Nik Besagno was supposed to the next great American when he was drafted as a 16-year-old, but made just eight appearances of four seasons. RSL chose Mehdi Ballouchy with the second overall pick in 2006, but he was only useful as a trading chip that eventually brought Kyle Beckerman. Chris Seitz was the No. 4 overall pick in 2007, but he has never lived up to that lofty draft position and only made seven appearances for RSL over three seasons. Beltran, Jean Alexandre and Collen Warner were the top picks in each of the next three seasons, and while they haven't been bad, also haven't had huge impacts on the team.

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AJ Soares, Jalil Anibaba Go Under The Daily Wiz's Microscope

Picking at No. 10 in Thursday's SuperDraft, Sporting KC will likely miss out on some of the "can't-miss" prospects that are expected to be snatched up in the first five picks. And while the general consensus seems to be that once those guys are gone there are no sure things, there is an overarching belief that there are potentially another 20-30 guys that could be good MLS players. Among those players that could be very good is Cal center back AJ Soares, and that's who The Daily Wiz's Andy Edwards is really hoping to fall to them.

Sounds like he could potentially be the second coming of Jimmy Conrad - same type player: both athletic at a young age, threats to score on set pieces (something SKC could desperately use), similar size and a pair of SoCal boys. I don't think we should be too upset if Soares is the guy.

In recent days, though, another name has caught Edwards' eye: Jalil Anibaba. He has less pedigree than Soares, but has looked very strong in the MLS Combine. He is another player that could replace Conrad.

Personally, after further review, I've warmed on Anibaba. I watched bits and pieces of his Combine games and he surely impressed. That's not to say that Soares didn't; I just didn't get to see him play.

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MLS Draft Preparation: SB Nation Has You Covered

There is so much MLS SuperDraft information out there right now that it's actually getting hard to sort through it all. Luckily, SB Nation has your answer: Just stay here.

Over the last few weeks, this site as well as many of our MLS team sites have been conducting mock drafts, looking at the success of young goalkeepers and providing more profiles than you can possibly ever fully process. With that said, it's time to give you a one-stop shop where you can find out more of that information as we prepare for Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.

Profiles? We got your profiles

Black and Red United and Burgundy Wave have been going crazy looking at various players they think DC United and the Colorado Rapids will be targeting. With United holding the No. 3 pick and the Rapids all the way down at No. 18, the two sites have been looking at totally different players.

Darlington Nagbe: Whether or not he's the first overall pick, almost everyone seems to think Nagbe is the top player in the draft and certainly the top attacking player.

Perry Kitchen: If Nagbe doesn't get picked first, it will almost certainly be his Akron teammate. Kitchen is pretty universally considered the best defensive player in the draft.

Will Bruin: Unless United trade up, this is probably the first of the "can't-miss" players that they'll have a chance to draft. The Indiana forward had an almost unbelievable strike rate as a junior, scoring 18 goals in 20 matches. He's also shown well in the MLS Combine.

Omar Salgado: At 17 years old and once being the property of Mexican power Chivas, he's one of the most intriguing players in the draft. He'd be an interesting piece in DC, as they already are building around a host of youngsters, but is probably more of a project than they are looking for right now.

Joao Plato: Being an international, there's not as much known about the Ecuadorean. But after a strong combine, he's being projected by some to be a top 5 pick. He's small, quick and seems to have a nose for the goal.

Jalil Anibaba: Projected as high as the No. 5 overall pick, it's obvious that a lot of people like the center back. He also has United States U-17 pedigree.

Anthony Ampapitakwong: Prior to the combine, the player more commonly referred to as Ampi as seen as likely being a top 15 pick. But an injury limited his effectiveness in Florida and now his future is not as clear. There's even a chance he could still be around at No. 18.

Daniel Keat: At Dartmouth, he was a true box-to-box central midfielder. There seems to be some thought he'd be more of a CAM in MLS. The Rapids don't really play with a CAM after getting rid of Mehdi Ballouchy, but he could fit as a change-of-pace.

Michael Boxall: He's a big central defender that could probably contribute something relatively quickly. He's also the guy Chris "UZ" White took in our Mock Draft.

CJ Sapong: Prior to the combine, the James Madison striker was considered a early to mid-second rounder. But after a great showing, he's now breaking into the late first round in lots of mock drafts.

The Brotherly Game also got some guest commentary looking at two players they picked in our Mock Draft, Michael Tetteh and Levi Houapeu. Tetteh played most left back at UC Santa Barbara and Houapeu is a forward from little known UMBC. Both are intriguing players that could go anywhere from late first to mid second.

Zac MacMath: This isn't really a look at the Maryland goalkeeper, but rather focuses on the past performances of former U-20 goalkeepers. MacMath could, of course, end up being much better than any of them, but it's a mixed bag to say the least.

Getting Inside GMs' heads

Sounder at Heart and RSL Soapbox both recently discussed the trade with the front offices of their respective teams. Denz came away with the impression that Real Salt Lake is considering trading out of the first round, as they are more interested in creating some cap space. Dave Clark basically got confirmation that the Sounders are very open minded. They seem to be investigating trading up and see wide midfield, right back and goalkeeper as their biggest needs.

Dizzo, a Sounder at Heart reader, goes as far as to project the possible players the Sounders could select with each of their five picks. Prior to the combine, Dizzo also took a more generic look at forwards and outside mids, center mids and fullbacks, goalkeepers and central defenders.

Stumptown Footy's Geoff Gibson has the No. 2 overall pick effectively narrowed down to three players: Nagbe, Kitchen and Salgado. If Nagbe falls, he'll be the pick, Gibson says. Between Kitchen and Salgado, the smart money seems to be on the defender as he would be able to help the Timbers more immediately.

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