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MLS Mock Draft 2016: Defenders a hot commodity in first two rounds

Bloggers representing all 20 teams select players for Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.

Yaro (in black) is the top pick overall.
Yaro (in black) is the top pick overall.
Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation is back with our now-annual MLS Mock Draft. As in previous years, bloggers representing our SB Nation MLS blogs get together and pick the first two rounds as though they were the general managers, with unique insight on their individual teams. Here are the results:

First round

1. Chicago Fire - Josh Yaro, D, Georgetown

Quite simply, Yaro is the best defensive player in the draft and the Chicago Fire had the worst defense in MLS last year, conceding a staggering 58 goals. Yaro has the potential to be a defensive cornerstone at the club for years to come and with only Eric Gehrig and Patrick Doody slated as defenders at the moment, bodies are needed. He might also be the best pure athlete in the draft, possessing game changing speed. - Jeff Englehardt, Hot Time in Old Town

2. Colorado Rapids - Jack Harrison, M, Wake Forest

It's no secret that the Rapids have a number of holes on the roster and the selection of Harrison addresses a significant need. Harrison will be able to play an attacking midfield role or play on the wing which should help the Rapids create chances and score more goals. - John Rosch, Burgundy Wave

3. Philadelphia Union - Brandon Vincent, D, Stanford

Left back has been a position of need for the Union for several seasons now, so drafting Vincent third makes sense (reports that Abu Danladi could still be signed to a Generation Adidas deal would certainly change that). Vincent would provide the Union with a solid left back who can be dangerous in the attack, has leadership qualities and experience playing in central defense his first two years at Stanford so he's a solid pick at No. 3. - Matt Ralph, Brotherly Game

4. NYCFC - Jonathan Campbell, D, UNC

New York City has a single pick in this year's SuperDraft. While the Blues need help everywhere, they really need it in defense. At number four, though, the best left back on the board -- Brandon Vincent -- likely won't be available. We went with Campbell. He's got the size and ball skills to start right away, and even though he's more of a central defender, he can deputize at left back should Chris Wingert be unable to play. - Rafael Noboa y Rivera, Hudson River Blue

5. Real Salt Lake - Julian Buescher, M, Syracuse

After losing Luis Gil and Luis Silva, RSL needs someone that can pass the ball and involve the wings, Buescher is the obvious choice even if he may take time to adjust to a 4-3-3, but, in the meantime, he can serve as an impact player off the bench. - Weston Jensen, RSL Soapbox

6. Philadelphia Union - Omar Holness, F, UNC

With the sixth pick of the draft, we selected Holness. The Jamaican international is leaving college early as part of the Generation Adidas class. While his college numbers might be alarming when considering him as an attacking option, Holness has an impressive combination of size, speed and skill that make him a worthwhile selection in the top 10. - Brotherly Game

7. Orlando City - Richie Laryea, M, Akron

A prolific midfielder for the University of Akron, Laryea can come right in behind Kaka, filling an important depth role that was essentially a revolving door of poor production our inaugural season. - Wade Williams, The Mane Land

8. San Jose Earthquakes - Jordan McCrary, D, UNC

McCrary is a fifth-year senior, forced to sit out all of 2014 recovering from a torn ACL, but he shed the "damaged goods" label with a solid senior season in Chapel Hill. A defender who can play effectively at either left or right back, the right-footed McCrary is the type of versatile talent the Quakes need to add depth to their thin roster of outside backs. His performances at the MLS Combine, the 5'9 fullback recorded the fourth-best vertical jump in fitness tests, highlight his athleticism and make him a no-brainer to get selected in the top 10 in the MLS SuperDraft. - Robert Jonas, Center Line Soccer

9. Toronto FC - Keegan Rosenberry, D, Georgetown

It might be an irrational fear, but considering Toronto FC's right back issues last season the club can never carry enough. Rosenberry is good enough that he can step in should anything go horribly wrong again in 2016 with Toronto's wide defenders. - Mitchell Tierney, Waking the Red

10. New England Revolution - Kyle Fisher, D, Clemson

Basically, the Revolution's greatest need for the first round of the draft is defense... so once the big defenders Yaro, Vincent and Campbell were off the board, it was taking the best defender in the second group mid-round. - Jake Catanese, The Bent Musket

11. Sporting KC - Tony Alfaro, D, Cal State Dominguez Hills

After a 2015 where Sporting KC needed more depth defensively and height, we selected Alfaro. The 6'2 center back is a bit of a risk as a Division II player, but one that could pay off if Sporting run into more injury problems. - Ben Gartland, The Blue Testament

12. LA Galaxy - Michael Salazar, F, UC Riverside

The Galaxy may opt for a defensive option with their lone first-round selection, but given his track record in the draft, Bruce Arena may opt to take a flier on Salazar, a mercurial striker from Southern California. If he is selected, he would head straight to LA Galaxy II, but if he impresses in USL, he would get some minutes at a higher level.

13. D.C. United - Fabian Herbers, M, Creighton

Herbers will almost certainly not be on the board when D.C. United is on the clock, but if he is there's no way the Black-and-Red can pass him up. The Generation Adidas signing and MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up is a top-four talent in this draft pool, and he addresses a need (United's youngest forward is 30). United has four free international roster spots, so they can comfortably afford to add the German-born Herbers, and the expectation would be for him to get minutes off the bench very quickly. - Jason Anderson, Black and Red United

14. Montreal Impact - Zach Carroll, D, Michigan State

The 6'3 central defender has been touted as being good in the air but has not shied away from being a very technical defender with an emphasis on ball control. That is something that the Impact would be looking for to prepare for the future. - Sofiane Benzaza, Mount Royal Soccer

15. Seattle Sounders - James Moberg, M, Washington

Sounders need CM depth. The team knows him. Cristian Roldan, a likely partner in USOC play and for depth, knows him well from playing together at UW. He fits the role of either Ozzie Alonso or the more offensive CM in the Sounders midfield or can play in a trio. He's a good player who should blossom and get minutes on this roster. Teammate Josh Heard could follow in round three. - Jacob Landsberg, Sounder At Heart

16. Vancouver Whitecaps - Ben Polk, F, Syracuse

The Whitecaps have seemingly always had the strategy of picking the best player available, and Polk has been very well received in several scouting reports. Some call him MLS-ready, some compare him to Dom Dwyer. Question marks abound in the Whitecaps attack, so Polk could find himself with some meaningful minutes if he does land in Vancouver. - Jon Szekeres, Eighty Six Forever

17. FC Dallas - Andrew Tarbell, GK, Clemson

FC Dallas fills a need by adding a Generation Adidas player in Andrew Tarbell. While defensive and forward depth are big for FC Dallas this offseason, adding a third keeper is also atop their list of must-do. Tarbell can come in and gain good experience in a busy year for FCD. - Drew Epperley, Big D Soccer

18. New York Red Bulls - Cole Seiler, D, Georgetown

New York's in need of young centerbacks with Matt Miazga possibly leaving, Damien Perrinelle aging and currently injured, and Ronald Zubar aging and often injured. This year's centerback group is very deep, and Seiler is a very talented player to be able to pick up at 18th, as he's shown partnering next to Joshua Yaro at Georgetown. - Jake Evans, Once a Metro

19. Columbus Crew SC - Dennis Castillo, D, VCU

Castillo is youthful depth to the wingback position. Not a position of need, but Harrison Afful and Corey Ashe are approaching 30 and Castillo will be given time to grow into the role. - Patrick Guldan, Massive Report

20. Portland Timbers - Michael Gamble, M, Wake Forest

With many of the minutes in Timbers 2's back six already accounted for, the Timbers look to give the technical Demon Deacon winger an opportunity to find a consistent starting spot in the second team. - Chris Rifer, Stumptown Footy

Second Round

21 (1). Columbus Crew SC - Timo Pitter, M/F, Creighton

An international may have a hard time sticking with the roster constraints, but Pitter has the field awareness to play in Berhalter's intricate offensive system. He's shown to be a good passer with an above average read on the game. A smart soccer player. - Massive Report

22 (2). Colorado Rapids - Vincent Keller, D, Creighton

It's also no secret that the Rapids have a number of holes on the roster and the selection of Keller addresses another significant need. And Keller has the leadership qualities along the back line that will help to anchor a Rapids defense that started strongly in 2015, but faded down the stretch. - Burgundy Wave

23 (3). Philadelphia Union - Liam Doyle, D, Ohio State

As much as I hate talking about a player's height, Doyle's size is an obvious strength. His 6'4, 200-pound frame have made him a nightmare to defend on set pieces. Doyle was the type of player in college who was difficult to nail down to a position because he spent a lot of time on the offensive side of the field and covered a lot of ground in the back as a center back. The England native can be lumbering at times at the back, so it remains to be seen what kind of impact he would have on the first team. He would most likely compete for a starting job with USL's Bethlehem Steel FC his first year. - Brotherly Game

24 (4). Montreal Impact - Hadji Berry, M/F, Central Florida

Athlete with an interesting touch inside the box. His calmness inside the box must have piqued the interest of quite a few clubs during the MLS Combine and during the NCAA season. Good gamble. - Mount Royal Soccer

25 (5). Real Salt Lake - Eric DeJulio, D, Creighton

After losing two center backs, the back line depth has been decimated. Needing a player that has height and can dribble, DeJulio has shown he could earn a spot on the squad -- even if he is used for depth. - RSL Soapbox

26 (6). Houston Dynamo - Josh Turnley, D, Georgetown

Houston has depth up top and in the midfield, but can use more depth on defense. Turnley is a solid defender who could do great things in orange. And -- oh, yeah -- he can play in the midfield and we know how much the Dynamo love a versatile player. - Alicia Tolar, Dynamo Theory

27 (7). Seattle Sounders - Todd Wharton, M, Virginia

Slightly more offensive than James Moberg and would likely be an attacking option similar to Erik Friberg. One more depth piece. Could be used out wide, like Friberg or Roldan, and can play in a three-man midfield. The team desperately needs CMs and I expect at least two in the first three rounds. - Sounder at Heart

28 (8). San Jose Earthquakes - Chase Minter, M, Cal Poly

Depending on how the partnership works this year, Minter, who scored at a decent rate from midfield his last two seasons in college, would likely land with USL affiliate Sacramento Republic this year.

29 (9). Vancouver Whitecaps - Tim Kubel, D, Louisville

The Whitecaps have a good crop of youngsters in their backline, but the right back spot has become a little thin with the trade of Steven Beitashour to TFC. Kubel obviously wouldn't step into Steven Beitashour's spot, but he's got plenty of upside and could become a useful player for the club down the road. - Eighty Six Forever

30 (10). New England Revolution - Patrick Hodan, M, Notre Dame

As I was checking off names of first rounders, I noticed one name still unchecked, and that was Hodan. And much to the dismay of those picking just after me, I accepted my fortune of value and didn't look back. - The Bent Musket

31 (11). Columbus Crew SC - Duncan Backus, D, UCSB

Backus provides size on the back line that can use a little size with the aging of Tyson Wahl and slow development of Sergio Campbell. - Massive Report

32 (12). Orlando City - Tsubasa Endoh, M, Maryland

A high soccer IQ paired with the kind of character that only comes from triumphing over adversity, Endoh can provide emergency depth in the midfield for the Lions, or feature on the right for USL affiliate Orlando City B. - The Mane Land

33 (13). Chicago Fire - Ivan Magalhaes, D, Maryland

If I wasn't clear about how badly Chicago needs defense, this pick should drive that point home. Magalhaes may not be a sure thing but he was the best defender left on the board. He brings the size and physicality some scouts fear Yaro lacks. He would be a different defensive option off the Fire's bench or to develop in St. Louis. - Hot Time in Old Town

34 (14). Montreal Impact - Eric Verso, M, Stanford

Yes, Montreal has tons of midfielders but having Eric Verso available late in the second round was a great opportunity. The Stanford player has playmaking abilities showcasing his portfolio during the 2015 NCAA season. - Mount Royal Soccer

35 (15). Seattle Sounders - Chris Hellman, F, Lynn

Who? Exactly. Late invite to combine and he started scoring like crazy in the combine and looked pretty good. Fairly traditional No. 9 and the Sounders need one, even at S2. Probably a draft for rights and he'll start at S2. - Sounder at Heart

36 (16). Vancouver Whitecaps - Max Lachowecki, D, Notre Dame

The Whitecaps could also use some depth at Left Back, where Sam Adekugbe is poised to have a breakout year. Jordan Harvey remains on the roster as a very serviceable backup and potential starter, but the pickings are slim after that. - Eighty Six Forever

37 (17). FC Dallas - Zach Mathers, M, Duke

FCD goes for the best available with this selection as Mathers adds to their center midfield depth behind the likes of Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta. - Big D Soccer

38 (18). New York Red Bulls - Thomas Libiih, D, International Player (Cameroon)

The number one rule in the draft is to draft for the best talent available, especially as New York had already filled the only real hole in the team -- center back depth -- in this draft. Libiih, a 20-year-old center back Cameroon youth international, was a player who I strongly considered taking in the first round. He's shown well in the combine and appears to have a lot of room to grow in his game. - Once a Metro

39 (19). Montreal Impact - Emmanuel Appiah, M, Cincinnati

A speculative pick, but Appiah was a five-year player in college and added a scoring and playmaking side to his game last season.

40 (20). Portland Timbers - Callum Irving, GK, Kentucky

Some rate the former Whitecaps academic as the best ‘keeper in a shallow shot-stopping pool, so, with the third goalkeeping spot open on the Timbers' roster, Irving is too much value for Portland to pass up near the end of the second round. - Stumptown Footy

41 (21). Columbus Crew SC - Elias Gomez, M, International Player (Argentina)

Faces long odds to make the team as a low draft pick international, but getting a left-sided player with skill and comfortable playing defense and midfield is work a small gamble. - Massive Report