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MLS Draft 2011, Full Recap: Who Improved, Who Stagnated

A few hours after any draft is not the right time to assess winners and losers. In the case of the MLS SuperDraft, where teams probably won't know if the guys they picked are any good for at least a year or two, it's even sillier. But that shouldn't stop us from at least trying to assess who looks like a better team today than they did yesterday and which teams look pretty much the same.

Moving on Up

Portland Timbers: It's really hard not to like what the Portland Timbers did in their first ever SuperDraft. They didn't have to do much but wait for Darlington Nagbe to fall into their laps, but they did get the player almost everyone thought was the best in the draft. That may have only happened because of a whisper campaign that Nagbe was going to refuse to play in Vancouver (something he vehemently denied during a post-draft conference call), but how he ended up in Portland is less important than the fact that he did. I'm not sure how you assess the trade they made with the Seattle Sounders that got them the No. 11 pick because they almost immediately turned around and dealt that pick to Houston, but I'm not sure it mattes. You get the best player in the draft without holding the No. 1 pick, you win.

DC United: Again, this is really about the one big name they had just fall in their lap, but they did get the player that many people have been calling the best all-around-player in the draft. Perry Kitchen is going to start, probably in the midfield, almost right away. He's going to make DC better. Chris Korb, his Akron teammate, came later in the second round, but adding two players from arguably the greatest men's college team in history can't be bad can it? The answer is "no," in case you were wondering.

Houston Dynamo: Finally, a team that gets here by sheer force of will. The Dynamo did not start the day looking particularly strong, but they managed to come away with the player many dubbed the best pure defender in the draft and then followed that up with the one of the best scorers in the country. Kofi Sarkodie is going to help a defense that suddenly fell apart last year and Will Bruin seems to be the kind of player that is just built to score in MLS. Both players were almost universally picked among the top 5 in mock drafts. To get Sarkodie, they merely had to watch him fall to them. But to get Bruin, they wheeled and dealed and got the No. 11 pick from Portland for what appears to be allocation money that they can probably spare (considering they have tons of cap space).

Seattle Sounders: There were no doubt a lot of people scratching their heads when the Sounders traded their first-round pick, which eventually ended up in Houston's hands. But it's hard to argue when they still ended up getting Michael Tetteh with the second pick of the second round. Tetteh was widely projected as a first-rounder and was signed to a Generation Adidas contract. Whether or not you believe the Sounders when they say all five of their players were in their top 23, this pick combined with the allocation money they picked up when they dealt the No. 11 pick make this a clear win.


Vancouver Whitecaps: Look, I like Omar Salgado as much as the next guy. I think he could end up being the next great American striker. But no matter what you think of him, he's not going to be scoring buckets of goals in MLS next year. My assessment is based on improving your team, and the reality is the Whitecaps still have a major hole in the goal-scoring department despite having the top overall pick. Hopefully, they didn't make this pick based largely on the apparently unfounded belief that Nagbe would refuse to play for them. But shame on them if they bought that line of reasoning. They followed that up with taking Michael Nanchoff, a kind of undersized midfielder who is more of a "soccer player" than an athlete. Considering midfield seems to be one area where the Whitecaps already look reasonably deep, this was another pick that doesn't have "immediate improvement" written on it.

Philadelphia Union: If you didn't think Peter Nowak knew what he was doing with his goalkeeper position before, you're probably convinced of it now. This is a coach who went out of his way to acquire Chris Seitz last year, pulled the plug on him after 23 games, left him exposed in the Expansion Draft, pulled him back after one of his players was taken and then exposed him to the Re-Entry Draft where he was subsequently taken and then dealt for a draft pick. Now, we're hearing the Union are close to signing veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon to a Designated Player contract. So, obviously, the Union were going to take a goalkeeper with the No. 5 pick, right? I really do wish Zac MacMath luck in Philadelphia, but Nowak is not the guy I want handling young keepers right now.

Los Angeles Galaxy: Adam Cristman do anything for ya? How about Chad Barrett? No? Well, Galaxy fans, as of today at least one of those players is probably going to be starting for you next year. To address this issue, the Galaxy drafted a 5-foot-4 midfielder for a team that has two of the best outside midfielders in the league. Just to add salt to the wound, the draft-day acquisition of Barrett also seems to complicate efforts to sign Juan Pablo Angel as Barrett made more than $200,000 last year and the Galaxy were already running out of cap space.

Round 1

Pick Club Player's Name Position School/Previous Club
1 Omar Salgado* F US U-20 National Team
2 Darlington Nagbe* M University of Akron
3 Perry Kitchen* M University of Akron/US U-20s
4 Zarek Valentin* D University of Akron/US U-20s
5 Zac MacMath* GK University of Maryland/US U-20s
6 AJ Soares D University of California
7 Kofi Sarkodie* D University of Akron
(from TOR)
Michael Nanchoff* M University of Akron
9 Jalil Anibaba D University of North Carolina
10 CJ Sapong  F James Madison University
(from SEA1, POR2)
Will Bruin* F Indiana University
12 Rich Balchan D Indiana University
13 Corey Hertzog* F Penn State University
(from RSL3)
Victor Estupinan F LDU Quito (Ecuador)
(from SJ 4)
Justin Meram F University of Michigan
16 Paolo Cardozo M Quilmes (Argentina)
17 Bobby Warshaw D Stanford University
18 Eddie Ababio D University of North Carolina

Round 2

Pick Club Player's Name Position School/Previous Club
19 Jeb Brovsky M University of Notre Dame
(from POR1)
Michael Tetteh* M UCSB
(from DC)
Juan Leone Cruz M Southern Methodist
(from RSL, CHV)
Chris Taylor D University of Tulsa
23 Michael Farfan M University of North Carolina
24 Stephen McCarthy M University of North Carolina
(from HOU)
John Rooney M Macclesfield Town (England)
26 Demitrius Omphroy D University of California
27 Servando Carrasco M University of California
(from PHI, KC)
Cole Grossman M Duke University
29 Bryan Meredith GK Monmouth University
(from CLB)
Tyler Lassiter D North Carolina State University
(from NY)
Chris Korb D University of Akron
(from RSL)
J.T. Murray D University of Louisville
33 Anthony Ampaipitakwong M University of Akron
34 Hector Jimenez M University of California
35 Charlie Campbell M/F University of Louisville
36 Colin Givens D Michigan State University

Round 3

Pick Club Player's Name Position School/Previous Club
37 Bilal Duckett D University Notre Dame
(from POR)
Billy Cortes M University of Maryland
(from DC)
Steven Perry F University of Notre Dame
40 Jon Okafor M Brown University
41 Levi Houapeu F University of Maryland, Baltimore County
42 Ryan Kinne M/F Monmouth University
(from HOU)
Matt Gold D The Ohio State University
(from COL, TOR)
Junior Burgos M Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo
45 Jason Herrick F University of Maryland
46 Konrad Warzycha M The Ohio State University
47 Alex Caskey M Davidson College
48 Bernardo Anor M University of South Florida 
(from NY, CHI5)
Joao Plata M LDU Quito
(from RSL, LA, RSL, LA6)
Joe Willis GK University of Denver
(from SJ)
Davis Paul F University of California
(from LA)
Jarad vanSchaik M University of Portland
53 Scott Gordon D Lynn University
(from COL)
Alan Koger F College of William & Mary 

* Generation adidas

Draft-Day Trades

1 SEA trade No. 11 overall selection in 2011 and international spot (1 season) to POR for No. 20 selection in 2011 and allocation amount.
2 POR trade No. 11 overall selection acquired in trade with SEA to HOU for allocation amount.
3 RSL trade No. 14 overall selection in 2011 to CHV for allocation amount.
4 SJ trade No. 15 overall selection and allocation amount to CLB for Steven Lenhart.
5 Chicago trade #49 pick to Toronto for a player to be named later.
The LA Galaxy trade No. 50 overall pick in the #MLSSuperDraft to D.C. United for United’s two 1st-round picks in Supplemental Draft.