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MLS SuperDraft 2013: Grading the teams

Rapids, Real Salt Lake and Sounders are among the best performers in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

The Rapids' picking Deshorn Brown was just one of their clever moves.
The Rapids' picking Deshorn Brown was just one of their clever moves.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Please note these grades are not necessarily based on who got the best players, but who did the best with what they had.

Colorado Rapids - A

Oscar Pareja's side was perhaps the winner of this draft day. With two picks in the top 11, Colorado took a speedster forward in Deshorn Brown that should find a good spot in Pareja's 4-3-3 while Dillon Powers is a ready-made replacement for Jeff Larentowicz and a player Pareja is likely very familiar with from his days in Dallas. Second round pick Kory Kindle fits the mold of outside backs that Pareja loves.

Real Salt Lake - A-

With the No. 12 pick, Jason Kreis grabbed Maryland midfielder John Stertzer, a player who can back up Kyle Beckerman in midfield and should fit well into RSL's possession style. Where they really did well, however, is with the No. 29 pick taking New Mexico forward Devon Sandoval, a physical forward who should have plenty of fun clearing space for Javi Morales to exploit.

Seattle Sounders - B+

Well done Sigi Schmid. Seizing their opportunity, the Sounders traded up to No. 10 overall, selecting Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta, one of the highest ceiling guys of the whole draft. An absolutely prolific college forward, Zavaleta fell ridiculously far in the draft and Schmid said he sees him as a possibly elite level center back. Wherever he plays, Zavaleta has the skill and smarts to succeed and become a fan favorite. If second round pick Dylan Remick finds a home at outside back, it's just a cherry on top.

New England Revolution - B+

I really like what the Revs did in this year's draft. They traded up to grab Andrew Ferrell with the No. 1 pick at a relatively inexpensive price. With three second rounders, Jay Heaps grabbed a physical banger of a forward in Luke Spencer who should translate well to MLS and perhaps the best goalkeeper in the draft in national championship-winner Luis Soffner who should fit into the team and the locker room well. We will see whether Donnie Smith remains at forward or transitions to a wing position.

Toronto FC - B+

From a PR standpoint, TFC's draft is a grand slam. With the two best Canadian players from the draft now on their books, they've certainly pleased the home fans. However, beware the player who has his stock raised by a great combine and, of course, the NCAA attacking midfielder. Emery Welshman is a decent forward who should become a fan favorite at BMO, but the question is did the Reds get a truly impact player in this draft? TFC still gets high marks simply because they grabbed so much allocation money. Rumors are that they could be making a run for Kenny Cooper.

Vancouver Whitecaps - B

It's tough to really know how well the Whitecaps did. Unless you were one of the few at the combine, or follow the college game remarkably close, you've probably never seen Kekuta Manneh or Erik Hurtado in action. So then the question becomes, do you trust the evaluations of Martin Rennie and his staff? I like the odds of at least one of these guys to do well in the league so they get relatively good marks.

DC United - B

Sometimes it's best to not overthink things. DC United was short on bodies at outside back and grabbed a kid they'll be extremely familiar with in Taylor Kemp. A four-year starter at Maryland, Kemp should compete for minutes from day one. One pick, one need and it's filled, I like it.

New York Red Bulls - B

With one pick, the Red Bulls got one of my favorite central midfielders in the draft in Georgetown's Ian Christianson. One of the best players in the College Cup, Christianson is a compact central midfielder who reads the game well and gets the ball to the dangermen. He should be a fantastic backup to Dax McCarty at Red Bull Arena.

Sporting KC - B

There's simply no way that Peter Vermes thought a Generation Adidas player like Mikey Lopez would be available at No. 14 overall. Kansas City is a perfect place for Lopez to learn from a national teamer like Graham Zusi as he will need some reserve minutes and seasoning before he's ready for the MLS game. Any time you have one late first round pick and grab a Generation adidas player with future impact, it's a nice draft.

Portland Timbers - B-

You knew Caleb Porter couldn't completely stay away from his first draft. The Timbers sent Mike Fucito to San Jose for the No. 34 pick and grabbed center back Dylan Tucker-Gangnes. A celebrated senior from Washington, Tucker-Ganges shouldn't have too much trouble making the Timbers as nice defensive depth.

Chivas USA - B-

With the No. 2 overall pick, you absolutely have to take a player that will have a long-term effect on your club. In picking Carlos Alvarez, Chelis is handing the reigns to an attacking midfielder who has certainly proven himself at the college level, though as we all know, NCAA central attacking midfielders do not have a great track record translating to MLS. Alvarez was the sexy pick, but with needs all over the pitch, perhaps a safer pick would've been the smarter play.

Houston Dynamo - B-

Dominic Kinnear grabbed a GA forward at No. 13 overall with Jason Johnson and while there are major questions about whether he's an MLS caliber forward or just an athlete, it's a risk Houston can take with his GA contract.
Jimmy Nealis, a tricky outside back who showed very well in Georgetown's College Cup run, should provide quality depth from day one for the Dynamo.

FC Dallas - B-

This year's draft could end up looking genius or idiotic. Regardless of need, FC Dallas got what many believed to be the top central defender in the draft at No. 7 overall. Like drafting offensive lineman in the NFL, it's not sexy, but with George John, Matt Hedges and now Walker Zimmerman locked up for many years to come, center back is a long-term strength for FCD. With their second round pick, Dallas took UCLA winger Ryan Hollingshead, the Pac-12 Player of the Year. On the surface, it looks like a steal, but with Hollingshead currently in Haiti on a religious mission and rumors that he may never play, it becomes a head-scratcher. Still, if there's anyone who can convince him to join FCD, it's smooth-talking Fernando Clavijo.

San Jose Earthquakes - C+

Central defender Tommy Muller is a decent pick at No. 15 overall as a guy who should add some defensive depth but probably doesn't have a super high ceiling while Dan Delgado is an attacking midfielder who lit it up with San Diego and could find a nice home staying on the West Coast. Overall, however, it's just kind of a "meh" draft without anything to be super excited about...but then again their team is exciting enough as it is.

LA Galaxy - C+

Picking Charlie Rugg at No. 19 is certainly an intriguing selection and who'd bet against Bruce Arena? A big forward who earned First Team All-ACC honors the past three years at Boston College, it will be very interesting to see what he can do when he's not the focal point of an offense and doesn't have defensive double-teams on him at all times. Greg Cochrane and Kofi Opare are nice defensive depth picks in the second round and you'd imagine at least one of them can make an impact next season with the Galaxy's heavy fixture list. Still, there's probably not a player who will log major minutes among any of these three.

Chicago Fire - C

The Fire made their noise the day before the draft in acquiring Larentowicz to run their midfield. There really wasn't a whole lot of work to do today for Frank Klopas and company on draft day who selected Yazid Atouba Emane with the No. 30 overall pick. He's a boom or bust attacking midfielder who may not even make the squad.

Philadelphia Union - C-

It's tough to tell what the Union's plan here was. While you can't really go wrong with taking flyers on second round picks, Don Anding was a speedy college forward playing in a relatively weak conference who most think doesn't have a game that translates to MLS. Their second pick, Stephen Okai, was an NAIA player of the year, but perhaps a smarter pick would've been either Tucker-Gangnes or Sandoval.

Columbus Crew - D

I'm not really sure about their draft. Finley was a great NCAA poacher, but college forwards who thrive on instincts are extremely hit or miss in MLS. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who follows the college game closely that would've taken him over Johnson or Zavaleta who were also available and on cap-exempt Generation adidas contracts. Second round pick, defender Drew Beckie out of Denver, is a bit of an unknown, though it's tough to fault any second round picks too much.

Montreal Impact - D

Blake Smith is certainly an intriguing pick as a potentially MLS-ready winger with a lot of tricks, but with what was available on the board, I think it was a real stretch. Fernando Monge was a deep-lying midfielder at UCLA who was decent at a lot of things both not at all MLS-caliber at any one thing. For me, the only thing that earned him a first round selection were the four letters next to his name. In the second round, Paolo DelPiccolo is a speculative pick of a midfielder that just trialed in Germany and may never make it to MLS while Brad Stuver is a pick that almost certainly could've been held until much later in the supplemental draft. With four picks in the top 32, you hope to make a bigger impact than this.