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When projecting the MLS Draft, there's an understandable inclination for us media types to look at a team's needs and draft accordingly. Problem is, as 86 Forever's Benjamin Massey points out, precious few of these players are ready to contribute right away. Unlike the NBA and NHL, MLS rookies rarely open the season as starters and often don't contribute significantly for a few years.
In an entry draft, barring unusual circumstances, a team should always draft the best player available even if they don't need to fill the position. Not to get too tautological, but if you have the best player that means you have the best player: You can trade one of your spare parts for whatever hole you need to fill plus a little extra, and you're not trying to play Nostradamus guessing your 2014 starting eleven in advance.
Of course, sometimes "best player available" and "drafting for need" happen to overlap, which led Massey to going with the conventional wisdom of picking Darlington Nagbe with the first pick of the SB Nation MLS Mock Draft.
On Wednesday night, 19 editors congregated online to perform SB Nation's one-of-a-kind MLS Mock Draft. Every team was represented by a different blogger (save for the New England Revolution, whose assigned blogger had to drop out with a illness) and the vast majority of them cover their teams on a daily basis. It took us almost exactly three hours to complete two full rounds.
There were some definite surprises - newly minted Generation Adidas signee Michael Tetteh going fifth overall and John Rooney being picked at the top of the second round were the biggest - but the draft played out in a largely believable manner. This draft is considered among the deepest in MLS history and, maybe because of that, has elicited a wide variety of opinion about who will go where.
Ours was no different. After Darlington Nagbe going first as expected, our draft does not look like many others. Omar Salgado, the 17-year-old striker who most recently played for Chivas de Guadalajara, went third. Zac MacMath, generally considered to be the best goalkeeping prospect to come through the draft in some time, fell all the way to 14th. The Union passed on Corey Hertzog, a player they recently tried to sign to a Homegrown Player contract.
Some other notes about the draft: our crew selected all seven University of Akron players that were eligible; Josh Ford and MacMath were the only two goalkeepers selected; two fullbacks were among the first five picks but the third wasn't picked until the seventh pick of the second round; three players from each the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina were chosen and two players from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and Indiana University were taken. No other school had more than one player chosen.
What follows in a quick reference guide to the Mock Draft. If you click on the player names, you'll be taken to the pick and get a full explanation, as well as some commentary from WV Hooligan's Drew Epperley. To get more, please check out the bloggers' individual sites which are linked with each pick.
6. New England Revolution: Corey Hertzog, forward, Penn State
8. Vancouver Whitecaps: Michael Farfan, midfielder, University of North Carolina
10. Sporting Kansas City: A.J. Soares, defender, UC Berkeley
1. Whitecaps: John Rooney, forward, Macclesfield Town
2. Timbers: Cole Grossman, midfielder, Duke University
3. Sounders: Josh Ford, goalkeeper, University of Connecticut
4. Timbers: Ryan Kinne, forward, Monmouth University
5. Union: LLevi Houapeu, forward/midfielder, UMBC
6. Revolution: Rich Balchan, midfielder, University of Maryland
7. Red Bulls: Chris Korb, fullback, University of Akron
9. Sounders: Amani Walker, forward, UC Irvine
11. Sounders: Bobby Warsaw, midfielder/defender, Stanford University
12. Red Bulls: Josue Soto, midfielder, Southern Methodist University
13. United: Daniel Keat, midfielder, Dartmouth University
14. Sporting KC: J.C. Banks, midfielder, UW Green Bay
15. Earthquakes: Jason Herrick, forward, University of Maryland
16. Galaxy: C.J. Sapong, forward, James Madison University
17. FC Dallas: Tyler Lassiter, defender, NC State
18. Rapids: Davis Paul, forward, UC Berkeley
Chris "UZ" White (Burgundy Wave): With a defensive pick in the first round it was pretty clear that I was going to pick somebody to contribute to the Rapids offense in the second. With one or both of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings most likely gone in 2012 the only options that will remain at striker are Mac Kandji, Andre Akpan and Quincey Amarikwa. While I love both Kandji and Akpan, I'd love a fourth guy to get in the mix there in case one of them doesn't pan out as planned to be the future of the position for the Rapids, especially since I put no trust in Amarikwa to exhibit that. Not that many players remain but Davis Paul was a 20 goal per year player at the University of California. He's about as undersized as Ashley McInnes at only 5'8'' but will have a full year to get his chops in the development league since there's so many options ahead of him at present at striker on the Rapids bench. A pick for the future more than anything else, but aren't most late 2nd rounders like that?
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Colorado needed some offensive depth and going with Paul is a nice move. Paul was a big time goal scorer at Cal and could translate that into success in MLS if given the right time. With extra games this year this is a smart move to make as Gary Smith is building towards the future here.
Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer): Dallas needs more depth at central defense and Lassiter is a four-year starter for the NC State Wolfpack. With six goals and six assists on the season, Lassiter is a good passer out of the back and a player defenses will have to account for going forward
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Nice steal for Dallas here. They needed depth at the center back position and Lassiter is one of the most mature players in this draft. He's an excellent passer out of the back and one that has no problem getting forward. He's a Hyndman kind of pick really.
Ryan Rosenblatt (SB Nation): You don't hear a ton about players coming from James Madison, but CJ Sapong will hop across the country to join a Galaxy team that really needs help up top. Last season, Edson Buddle took a pounding all season and began to wear down as the season went on because he just didn't have any help. Bryan Jordan and Landon Donovan, both of whom also play in the midfield, are the team's only two other forwards and it is unclear whether LA will be able to sign Juan Pablo Angel. At 6'1'', Sapong is a big kid who can take some pounding and he blends that with good speed as well. With 12 goals and nine assists as a senior at James Madison, Sapong showed he can be a real threat in the attacking third and LA would love to have that...or even just another guy to throw up top.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Another big target on set pieces for Bruce Arena's bunch. Sapong has good size and good speed. He'll need to develop his ball skills a bit but sitting behind guys like Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle should help him out.
Robert Jonas (Center Line Soccer): As mentioned previously, the Earthquakes will be looking at players in the SuperDraft that can provide some scoring punch. With all three of the current forwards on the roster versatile enough to also play midfield — and head coach Frank Yallop has shown he likes their positional interchangeabil
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Another forward for the Quakes in this draft? Can't blame them though, Herrick is easily the best option available at this point. He's a quality finisher and one that has no problems finding the back of the net.
Andy Edwards (The Daily Wiz): Midfield is a position where SKC are going to need a tremendous amount of depth in 2011. Midfielders Stephane Auvray and Craig Rocastle will be representing Guadeloupe and Grenada, respectively, for up to a month in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Banks would be a very different player than anyone on the SKC roster currently. If compared to anyone, I would be willing to take a flyer on someone like Banks, that he turns into a right-sided Ryan Smith. Likely, Banks would help to fill out the reserves roster.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Banks has plenty of upside here. SKC need depth and Banks could be the perfect player to back up Ryan Smith on the wings. Solid pick up for SKC.
Martin Shatzer (Black And Red United): For this pick, I searched far and wide for a player that exhibited the following traits: intelligent, hard working, aggressive, but not necessarily physically imposing. If you're a Black And Red United reader, then you know what I am describing. These are the traits of Olsen's Army, and Daniel Keat will fit right in. The New Zealand born senior played central midfield at Dartmouth, but projects more as a winger in the pros. Keat has an excellent crossing ability and a great understanding of the game.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): A very nice pick here by D.C., Keat is the kind of guy Ben Olsen will be looking for in this draft. He's an aggressive midfielder who isn't afraid to stick his nose into tough situations similar to Olsen as a player.
Ben Schneider (Once A Metro): The Red Bulls have one of the best and most physically robust central midfields in the league, but it is not the most creative. Mehdi Ballouchy has brought a bit more craft, and Matt Kassel (a homegrown player out of the University of Maryland) could add in some more attacking flair, but Soto can bring more goals to the Red Bulls' midfield. The four-year starter at Campbell and SMU will improve New York's offensive production from the center of the park and offer a different option from the likes of Tony Tchani, Rafael Marquez, and Carl Robinson.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I've seen plenty of Soto these last couple years and this is a nice pick for NY. He'll have plenty of time to learn under guys like Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez which is what a player like him needs right now.
Dave Clark (Sounder At Heart): A regular on the All-PAC-10 team Warshaw could study under Alonso, Evans and Riley. His ability to shift from defensive mid or central defense likely means that he can fit in at wingback as well. He also has the scoring touch that Seattle needs, and at 6'0 offers another option on set-plays.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I've been waiting to see where Warshaw would land. Seattle seems like the perfect fit too for him. He can play in the back or in the defensive part of the midfield, something Schmid has to be excited about.
Matt Barnhardt (Massive Report): Sippola showed well this season at Butler, and the Crew have watched him live during at least one scrimmage this spring. I think they'll go for forward help either in the first round or through other means, so this pick can be used for additional midfield players
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): A possible reach here but possibly a pick that could prove to be worth taking. Sippola was the engine that drove Butler this past year. The Crew need guys that can work in the midfield and bring lots of energy so this could work out nicely for them.
Dave Clark (Sounder At Heart): While some may doubt his speed, in Sigi's system the target man doesn't need to be fast. He needs to play broad, with good footwork and vision. Oh, and score. Walker does that, and let's face it Sigi will pick a SoCal guy.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I had a feeling Seattle would go this direction. Walker is a big target forward that will need some time to develop. Could be a nice change of pace off the bench for the Sounders.
Rudi Schuller (Canadian Soccer News): TFC needs a lot right now, but a naturally left-footed wide player who can play in the back is a no-brainer at this point. Toronto was forced to experiment a bit too much at left back last year, given that Raivis Hscanovics was a complete bust. The much-maligned Nick Garcia actually filled in quite admirably given his limited skill-set, and even Dan Gargan saw time on the left side of the back four. Murray is by no means the immediate answer here, but he will have a fair shot to prove himself under the new regime.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Rudi was correct in saying TFC needs a lot of work right now. Murray is a great pick for them too. He's a solid left back and one that could prove to be an instant upgrade over their current set of defenders. He won't start on day one but I wouldn't be shocked if we see him a lot this season.
Ben Schneider (Once A Metro): By far the biggest problem position for New York last season was the left back slot. Danleigh Borman performed reasonably well in the early part of the season, but was supplanted by Roy Miller, who showed exactly why he shouldn't be playing top-level professional soccer. As a fifth-year senior, Korb has plenty of college-level experience and should be able to slot in alongside the excellent Tim Ream and shore up New York's defense while providing more of an attacking outlet on the left.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Another defensive pick for New York but one I really like. Korb is the "other" Akron player in this draft and one that could prove to be a steal for anyone who gets him. He's the kind of player that bails out his team, and with Bouna Coundoul in net this is probably a wise pick to make for that alone.
Kevin McCauley (SB Nation): Let's face it, Shalrie Joseph isn't going to be able to play forever. While Balchan might not be as complete of a player as Joseph, he's certainly a very good tackler. New England and Balchan would benefit a lot from the player learning behind Joseph for a year or two. Between his current skill set and the tutoring of Joseph, Balchan can become a quality starting defensive midfielder in MLS.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I like this pick for the Revs. A smart, skillful defensive midfielder, one that will help Shalrie Joseph be himself again in the midfield. Possibly a huge steal for Steve Nicol here.
Scott Kessler (Brotherly Game): After surprising the world by selecting USCB Generation Adidas left back Michael Tetteh with the fifth overall pick, the Brotherly Game selections forward/midfiel
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Nice pick here by Philly with Houapeu. He's possibly the most underrated player in this draft according to some draft experts out there. After seeing some footage recently of this kid I have to agree with it.
Geoff Gibson (Stumptown Footy): I chose Ryan because, well, quite frankly we need a forward at this point. While Kinne certainly wasn't one of the best forwards in this year's SuperDraft he has time and again with Monmouth shown his ability to press and attack when needed. I would consider him to be a valuable player after some time spent developing him with professionals.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): This team needs forwards and why not go for the best out there? Nice to see Kinne go this early in the second round. This is a smart pick for Portland as Kinne is a polished striker and one that continue to develop into strong starter for John Spencer.
Dave Clark (Sounder At Heart): The UConn redshirt senior is the second or third best keeper in the draft but has a few years experience on a guy like MacMath. While he certainly doesn't have the peak, he could be a back-up next year. With more than 6,000 minutes played in college, his experience is his biggest strength. He's the stereotypical minimum height at 6'2. Pro Player Pipeline considers him the 22d best player in the draft
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I thought Seattle would go with MacMath when getting a keeper but I can't argue with them going for Ford in the second round like this. He's an athletic keeper that will have to learn quickly under Kasey Keller. I've seen plenty of him to know that he should be a solid MLS keeper at some point in his career.
Geoff Gibson (Stumptown Footy): I feel like Cole got a raw deal leading up to the draft and was judged unfairly by many people given his latest college performance. That said, however, Cole has consistently played a technical passing game that can be quite lethal in an attacking manner. Therefore I see him slotting in with the Timbers quite nicely.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Grossman isn'y a flashy pick but he's a solid one for sure. Portland needs a workman in the midfield and Grossman is the right guy for just that sort of thing.
Benjamin Massey (Eighty Six Forever): Please, save your giggles. Rooney is a marketing asset, of course. He'll get attention and put proverbial butts in proverbial seats. The sort of thing everybody hates. But he's also a fairly tall, athletic striker. He's twenty years old. People focus on his poor scoring record in limited action with Macclesfield Town, but he drew very good reviews. League Two has produced some very useful North American players out of its role players in the past, not least of whom were Vancouver's own Terry Dunfield. A sturdy, quick, relatively powerful striker who's only twenty years old, and I'm spending a second-round pick on him. Marketing aside, this is a pick worth risking.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Oh John Rooney. He's young, as fairly unknown other than in name. But he's earned some solid reviews on this side of the globe so why not? Vancouver doesn't have all that much to lose with a pick like this really.
Chris "UZ" White (Burgundy Wave): The Rapids could go so many ways with this pick, it's really hard to predict especially considering Gary Smith likes trading picks on draft day. With Julien Baudet leaving the squad for Seattle, the Rapids could use depth all along the defense but specifically could use a big guy at center back. Boxall fits that at 6'2'' and should quickly take over Baudet's big man off the bench role. Fairly polished from playing so much time in New Zealand including the U-20 World Cup for them, he should hopefully be able to adapt to the MLS fairly quickly in either the development league or on our bench. He won't need to start right away but under the tutelage of Drew Moor could become a good CB in MLS fairly quickly, adding to the young, talented defense that the Rapids have already put together. Tyrone Marshall being there will also push Boxall to try his hardest to earn that spot, competition makes everyone better. Although depth at left and right back is also lacking for the Rapids it's pretty obvious that anything they try and get - even this late into the round - would most likely be a reach. Gary Smith strikes me as a guy who wants the best players available and Boxall is one of them.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I had a feeling Colorado would go this direction after seeing McInnes go to Dallas. With Julien Baudet gone to Seattle, the Rapids need to bolster their defensive depth for a busy 2011. He'll have plenty of time to learn under some solid MLS veterans which is good thing for a young rookie. Colorado went for the best player available that fits their needs here as well. Can't argue with that.
Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer): McInnes, a speedy winger with lots of tricks in his bag will fit perfectly for Dallas. Schellas Hyndman loves versatile players and McInnes can play on the right or the left while teaming up with Eric Avila to provide an attacking punch off the bench while he is groomed to replace Brek Shea at left mid once he is sold on to Europe in a couple of seasons.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): McInnes could be a steal for Dallas. Schellas Hyndman loves versatile players and McInnes can slot in on the wings (Atiba Harris replacement possibly) or up top (Jeff Cunningham replacement). Either way this is a very solid pick for Dallas.
Ryan Rosenblatt (SB Nation): This is a situation of where need fits best player available. Anyone who watched the Galaxy in 2010 saw a team that was overly dependent on Juninho to play very well or be dominated in the center of the park so adding some help in the center of the midfield is vital for LA. McCarthy will be a welcome addition for LA and while he does not have the range that some might argue that Los Angeles needs, he is big and very smart. Because few teams have what is necessary to take advantage of LA's weakness in the middle, McCarthy will get time to develop as the season goes on, which he will need. At the very least, McCarthy will be an asset on set pieces and provide the club with some muscle, which is a solid return this late in the first round.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): LA needs depth in the midfield and McCarthy is the perfect fit for Bruce Arena. He'll have plenty of time to develop in LA but I love this pick for the very reason that he's such a set-piece threat. LA has plenty of solid set-piece takers and McCarthy is the perfect sized player to get on the end of them.
Robert Jonas (Center Line Soccer): The San Jose Earthquakes will be looking for depth at all postions in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, perhaps with the exception of the defensive back four. A proven goal-scoring forward tops the list, as the Quakes look at Justin Meram of the University of Michigan to help an offense that was very top heavy with Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski netting more than half the team’s goals in 2010. While current forwards Ryan Johnson and Scott Sealy will have the inside track on the #2 forward position in 2011, Meram can make an immediate impact with San Jose using the strength and instincts he so finely displayed in the recent NCAA tournament. With Meram’s dangerous runs at defenders, the rest of the Quakes counterattack-m
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Meram is a guy who's risen higher on folks draft board than anyone else over the last month. San Jose needs more goal scorers to go with Chris Wondolowski and Meram is a quality attacker that should fit Frank Yallop's system nicely.
Denzel Eslinger (RSL Soapbox): MacMath is the best available talent left in the draft, he is Generation Adidas so he won't hit the cap and RSL has always kept 3 keepers on their roster and with the reserve league and Zac likely getting some U-23 call ups he should have time to develop. He should be able to progress well learning from Nick Rimando and RSL keeper coach Jeff Casar.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Since trading away Chris Seitz, RSL really hasn't had much behind Nick Rimando. MacMath fits a couple needs in depth and a player that won't count against the salary cap. I love this pick for RSL as MacMath is a top-flight keeper with miles of potential.
Ben Schneider (Once A Metro): New York has the starting XI to contend for MLS Cup, but lack depth in some areas. With the retirement of Mike Petke, New York needs a back-up in central defence. The starting pair of Tim Ream and Carlos Mendes performed well for much of last season, but New York's only remaining backup is Andrew Boyens. Rafael Marquez has shown his quality in defensive midfield, and the selection of Anibaba allows Marquez to keep his role ahead of the back four and gives New York a solid back up for Ream and Mendes.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Love the defense pick for New York. Anibaba is the physical back that the Red Bulls need. He's possibly the most senior ready defender in this draft. Anibaba will allow Marquez to sit above the defense which has to be something Hans Backe is looking for this winter.
Ryan Rosenblatt (SB Nation): Nanchoff will give the Crew a good left winger and in a league where poor crossing is all too common, Nanchoff can play a very good ball in from the left and is very skilled on the ball. Nanchoff's biggest fault is that he doesn't have elite speed and won't run by guys regularly, but Columbus doesn't play at the quickest of paces anyways. He is a polished enough player that he can step in and contribute from the start, even allowing Eddie Gaven to move to the middle, so for a team looking to make some changes, but still has some good pieces and doesn't need anything close to an overhaul, Nanchoff is a good fit.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Great pick for the Crew. Its a pick for the future as Nanchoff is a work in progress. He's a polished winger that has a great work rate that Crew fans will absolutely love. His service from the wings will also be a massive upgrade for this club as well.
Dave Clark (Sounder At Heart): While Seattle has few needs, all of them feature depth. With nearly 50 games at the senior level and Seattle could use a player who can contribute off the bench and in Open Cup play. Anthony (I'm not spelling that name twice) can develop into a solid CM/CAM hybrid playing alongside Zakuani while learning from Montero and Fernandez. Eventually earning a starting role over Brad Evans.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Ampai is an amazing player that some will rate really high while others will have him a bit lower here. He's got plenty of experience that Sigi Schmid will love to have. Plus he's familiar with another Sounder in Steve Zakuani which has to be a plus. I see him as a replacement down the road for Brad Evans which is something Seattle needed to address in this draft anyways.
Andy Edwards (The Daily Wiz): Jimmy Conrad, Jonathon Leathers and Aaron Hohlbein - all defenders capable of playing the centerback spot, all gone from the 2010 roster. This is emphatically a pick of need. Currently only Shavar Thomas and Matt Besler on the roster, so there's going to be depth at the postition added somewhere along the way. Why not start with Soares? Thomas is on the wrong side of 30, and SKC head coach Peter Vermes has his questions about Besler. Soares will (with any luck) be a starting centerback for KC after Thomas is long gone. Soares size make him my personal preference over Jalil Anibaba.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): The need for defense in Kansas City is a big one and landing Soares is a huge pick for Sporting KC. Peter Vermes should be a First Kick starter for this club. His size is perfect for set pieces. He could be the Tim Ream of this draft.
Merwin Mixdorf (Hot Time In Old Town): See we like Valentin because he fills a spot of need, is young and frankly his GA status keeps more cap available to sign veterans who can contribute right away. We can build with Kwame Watson Siroboe and Valentin as part of a young and growing backline with Stephen Kinney. Hopefully to build a backline for years to come.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Once again the Fire get a steal in this draft. Valentin is capable of playing centerback or right back. He's possibly the best defender in this draft too. He'll help turn around a woeful defense.
Ben Massey (Eighty Six Forever): The advantage of having two first-round picks is that the Whitecaps can take risks. Having grabbed the excellent Darlington Nagbe first overall, Vancovuer can now follow up with attacking midfielder Michael Farfan. The 22-year-old Farfan is another pacey player with plenty of tricks and a natural playmaker, but unlike Nagbe he takes a more withdrawn role and prefers to knock through balls much like a young Martin Nash. Farfan developed less than expected in 2009, dropping him down from an expected top five position this year. However, he resurged in the 2010 season and I'm willing to regard his junior year as just an unfortunate aberration. Michael Farfan has every chance to be a game changer at the MLS level and if not, well, that's what we drafted Nagbe for.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Love the Farfan pick here. I've been high on this kid for a couple years now and again Vancouver goes for areas they need. Farfan is arguably one of the best attacking midfielders in this draft. He's one of the best passers in this draft and possibly the most talented senior in this draft.
Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory): The Dynamo need depth up front and bringing in a young talent like Bruin should give Dominic Kinnear some options, while not needing the rookie to play a vital role right from the start. The Dynamo don't have any position that needs someone that can immediately start, so they have the luxury of bringing in a player that can be a potential starter in the future. Bruin is a big, strong forward with a proven ability to score. A season working with Brian Ching and battling the experienced Dynamo defense in practice should help Bruin develop into a dangerous scoring option for the Dynamo. Calling a player a "can't miss" pick really isn't fair, but it's hard to not think that Bruin is just that, he's a steal at the seventh pick for the Dynamo.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I thought Houston would go toward fixing their defense but let's face it, their offense needs plenty of work too. Bruin is likely a starter right away for this bunch as he'll be a good compliment to Ching up top. Kinnear is good at getting the most out of young players and I gotta think he'll get plenty out of Bruin.
Kevin McCauley (SB Nation): It was a very difficult decision between two players, with Will Bruin being the more physical of the two top college strikers in the draft and Hertzog being a little quicker. I still think that Herzog is more than big enough to be successful, even if he isn't the ox that Bruin is. Additionally, Bruin is more MLS ready, while Hertzog has a higher ceiling. Once again, while Bruin is more MLS ready, this doesn't mean that Hertzog can't contribute next season. The Revs aren't winning MLS Cup next season, so I'm going with the guy that I think has a higher ceiling.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): I thought New England would go with Bruin but Hertzog is every bit as good as Bruin. The need for offense is obvious for Steve Nicol and this pick makes perfect sense. Hertzog is a clutch finisher, something that isn't always easy to find.
Scott Kessler (Brotherly Game): The Philadelphia Union have been lambasted by fans and media alike for the inconsistent play of the back four during its expansion season of 2010. The addition of right back Sheanon Williams helped to give the Union some sort of consistentcy but left back Jordan Harvey was lacking for much of the season, despite improvement amongst center backs Danny Califf (captain) and Michael Orozco-Fiscal. Tetteh gives the Union a quick, speedy left back who will provide plenty of cover for attacks down the left wing from midfielder Justin Mapp. With a back four of Tetteh, Callif, Orozco-Fiscal and Williams, Union fans should look forward to having a less nerve racking time while an opposing team is in its final third. Despite plenty of interest in Penn State striker Corey Hertzog, the team needs a veteran at the position, not its third Generation Adidas stiker.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Wow, first shocker of the night. Tetteh is an excellent left back but this could be a reach by some stretch. Tetteh's injury issues in the past worry me but if Nowak can get the most out of this kid then I look for big things this season from them. His abilities to get forward have to be a plus and a reason for this pick too.
Kevin McCauley (SB Nation): He's the best attacking fullback to come out of college in a long time, he's like the Six Million Dollar Man version of Jonathan Bornstein. We can rebuild him. Better, stronger, faster. And also he's black and right footed, for some reason. Anyway, Sarkodie can probably start at right back tomorrow for an MLS team and provide some quality offensively and defensively. I actually rated him as the second best prospect in this draft, behind Kitchen, so I'm happy that he fell to fourth overall.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Love this pick for Chivas. First they get Robin Fraser as their head coach and Jimmy Conrad from the Re-Entry draft. I really like the direction this team is taking with a pick like this. Sarkodie will step in for the departed Jonathan Bornstein. His abilities to get forward will also be a big plus for a team that struggles offensively too.
Martin Shatzer (Black And Red United): I don’t expect United to compete for MLS Cup in 2011. Rather, United’s young coaching staff is building a group of young hard-working talented individuals who can grow while playing together over the course of the next few years. Salgado will fit right in with that group. He even trained with them for a few weeks in November.
The team hasn’t been shy about saying that they desire an attacking player in the draft, which makes a lot of sense considering they scored the fewest goals in MLS last season. So even though I think that Will Bruin is more capable of starting in March 2011, and would make a more immediate impact on the scoring sheet, I’m selecting Salgado because I think he has a much higher ceiling. The young forward’s size and vision will be a fantastic addition for United for years to come.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): A very interesting pick by D.C. but the need at striker is greater than anything else right now for this club and Salgado has massive potential to be a big goal-scorer in this league. D.C. was awful in 2010 in scoring goals and Salgado gives them the best potential at correcting that problem for 2011 and beyond.
Geoff Gibson (Stumptown Footy): I selected Perry kitchen for a singular reason. in keeping with my club's mantra of choosing the very best players available Perry Kitchen most certainly is able to play right away on a first team basis given his experience. Beyond that, despite our relatively packed backline, I feel like he could be very useful in being a future leader for the team.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): John Spencer gets quite possibly the best player in the draft in Kitcken. Some rate Kitchen over Nagbe due to his ability to play multiple positions and for an expansion team that is a major plus. Kitchen has the most potential to be an All-Star right away in this league.
Benjamin Massey (Eighty Six Forever): Though a trifle undersized, Darlington Nagbe is clearly the most talented player available in this MLS draft. A highly skilled, ferociously-sco
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Nagbe was easily the best option available for Vancouver who need offense if you look at their current roster. He may not start right away for them this season but don't be shocked if he's a starter before the beginning of summer. Getting the top player in the draft is what you need to do with the top pick and the Whitecaps certainly did that with this pick.
At 9 p.m. Eastern, 19 bloggers will congregate online to conduct what is believed to be the first ever live MLS mock draft. The 18 teams will be represented by bloggers who know their teams well, presumably better than any one national pundit possibly could. We've also brought in WV Hooligan's Drew Epperley, one of the top draft resources, to provide some commentary.
The draft will follow the real-life version as closely as possible, with one difference being we'll only conduct two rounds instead of the three scheduled for Jan. 13. That means Benjamin Massey of 86 Forever, SB Nation's Vancouver Whitecaps blog, will be drafting first. He'll be followed by Geoff Gibson of Stumptown footy, our Portland Timbers blog, and so on.
While the draft may not be 100 percent accurate, we believe it will at least provide some insight into the mindsets of various teams. Will Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart go with a goalkeeper as so many are predicting the Seattle Sounders to do? Will Martin Shatzer of Black and Red United draft a forward the way the pundits all seem to agree United will do? Check us out tonight to find out.
Overall commentary: Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan)
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