Building from the front?
It is hard to read into the minds of Jesse Marsch, Nick De Santis and Matt Jordan, the soccer think-tank of the Montreal Impact. With no official signing of a Designated Player, I went with a mix of instinct, the team's needs and the availability of the best player at the moment of the pick. Marsch has always emphasized on building from the back and has shown that by selecting a few defensive players (Bobby Burling for example) in the 2011 MLS expansion draft and add to that the signings of CB Nelson Rivas, and CMF/DMF Patrice Bernier and Hassoun Camara.
The obvious debate for the 1st overall draft pick of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft is: Darren Mattocks vs Andrew Wenger.
1. Montreal Impact: Darren Mattocks, F, Akron
Mattocks has shown goal-scoring abilities in college soccer with great athleticism that includes an interesting vertical leap, speed and explosiveness even when at a full stop. The Montreal Impact already have Justin Braun and Brian Ching (whether he'll play is still an open question) as potential center forwards. But I don't think that the team will pass on a player like Mattocks that has a certain physical maturity and has the raw technical skills to be efficient in the MLS.
During the MLS combine first game, Mattocks was not fed many times from his teammates but showed soccer intelligence by playing a CF when getting the ball, protecting it and distributing it to the wingers. He also took little space given to him and stretched out his opposite CBs with speed, solid ball control skills while keeping his head up looking for either the shot or the pass. He is soccer smart and athletic and from there, it's all about development at the professional level with coaching, mentoring and surrounding him with the right players and assigning him the correct role for him and the team.
20. Impact: Kirk Urso, M, North Carolina
The senior and captain of the team is finishing off his collegiate career with a national championship. A no non-sense defensive midfielder, Urso resembles Marsch. He was seen playing as a CB and RB during the 2012 MLS combine next to Andy Rose which might prove useful for the Impact, an expansion team looking for versatility. Not necessarily known for his speed, Urso provides a physical presence in the midfield while still being a good passer. If available in the second round, he would be a good pick.
Sofiane Benzaza is a contributor to SB Nation Soccer and the manager of soon-to-launch Montreal Impact blog Mount Royal Soccer.