It's obviously way too early to figure out who the winners and losers of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft's first round, but there is still plenty to talk about. The draft started out with a huge surprise, as the Vancouver Whitecaps did something almost completely unexpected by making 17-year-old Omar Salgado the first pick of the draft. Some mock drafters had Salgado going as low as Nos. 7 or 8, and almost no one had him going before No. 3.
In Salgado, the Whitecaps have a player that has all the physical tools to be one of the next great American strikers, but also one who has shown little ability to find the back of the net while playing for the Chivas reserve team. At 6-foot-4, 170 pounds and left-footed, he certainly presents a unique body frame. Chances are, he won't play much his rookie year, but if he is able to develop in Vancouver, was almost universally believed to have the highest upside.
The next big surprise of the draft was Zac MacMath going to the Philadelphia Union with the No. 5 selection. MacMath was almost universally believed to be the top goalkeeper available in the draft, but was not expected by many to go in the top 10. The reason for this belief is mostly based on the fact that so few coaches are willing to roll the dice with young goalkeepers. With Faryd Mondragon rumored to be close to signing with the Union, little will be expected of MacMath early in his career. In two or three years, this pick may end up being lauded as one of the best.
MacMath's selection seemed to have a bit of a trickle-down effect, as shortly after the Seattle Sounders traded their first-round pick to the Portland Timbers for the second pick of the second round and allocation money. The Timbers eventually traded that pick to the Houston Dynamo, who used the No. 11 pick on Indiana Will Bruin.
The Dynamo, it should be said, came out of the first round looking very good. In addition to Bruin, believed by some to be the top forward available in the entire draft, the Dynamo also got Kofi Sarkodie with the No. 7 overall pick. Sarkodie was believed by some to be the best defensive player in the draft.
Sarkodie was one of five Akron players to be selected in the first round, a MLS record. He joined overall picks Nos. 2-4 Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen and Zarek Valentin and No. 8 overall selection Michael Nanchoff. Akron teammates Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Chris Korb are also believed to be likely second round picks.
Two more trades happened during the first round. Chivas USA acquired the No. 14 pick from Real Salt Lake and used it on Victor Estupina. The Columbus Crew picked up the No. 15 overall pick from the San Jose Earthquakes and used it on Justin Meram.