How MLS clubs rank in recent draft-day performance

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With the NFL draft today, let’s not miss the opportunity to talk draft in soccer.

Clearly, this is a different animal. In professional football the college draft represents a far larger piece of the overall personnel acquisition equation. Soccer’s international transfer market, plus the emerging domestic academy system, significantly diminishes Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft as a means of collecting talent.

Still, the SuperDraft can certainly be an important part of the puzzle.  Omar Gonzalez (pictures), Tim Ream, Chris Pontius, Brek Shea, Joao Plata, Geoff Cameron, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Teal Bunbury, Zach Loyd are among the quality players plucked in drafts over the last five seasons.

So, here are my rankings of how each club has performed on draft day over the last five years, and how the clubs have performed on draft day over the last three years.

Team ranks over last five years (includes only clubs that drafted each year from 2008 forward):

  • T-1. D.C. United
  • T-1. FC Dallas
  • 3. Sporting Kansas City
  • T-4. L.A. Galaxy
  • T-4. New England
  • T-4. Toronto FC
  • 7. San Jose
  • T-8. Chicago
  • T-8. Chivas USA
  • 10. Houston
  • 11. Real Salt Lake
  • 12. Colorado

Team ranks last three years (includes only clubs that drafted each year from 2010 forward):

  • 1. Philadelphia
  • T-2. New England
  • T-2. New York
  • T-4. Chivas USA
  • T-4. Columbus
  • T-6. D.C. United
  • T-6. FC Dallas
  • 8. Toronto FC
  • T-9. Chicago
  • T-9. L.A. Galaxy
  • T-9. San Jose
  • T-9. Seattle
  • 13. Sporting Kansas City
  • T-14. Colorado
  • T-14. Real Salt Lake
  • 16. Houston

How I arrived at the rankings was fairly simple and a little less subjective than you might think:

Each draftee who stuck around was assigned a point value of (1). Each draftee who became a starter for any stretch of time got a (2). Each draftee that became a solid starter and valuable member of a team (in many cases, by the way, it was a different team) was assigned a (3). Star men like Ream or Gonzalez got a (4).

In each case, the point value was assigned to the team that drafted them.

You’ll notice that drafting high in the order has been a reliable predictor of success over the last few years. So, teams that haven’t done well in the standings lately tended to clump near the top.

I’ll have a few more notes from recent drafts on another post, in about an hour.

Day Six: All the action from the U20 World Cup

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For the second consecutive tournament, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is poised to qualify for the knockout stages of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

In its second match of this year’s edition in South Korea, the U.S. earned an important three points in a 1-0 victory over Senegal, while its main rivals Ecuador fell, 2-1 to Saudi Arabia. The win shot the U.S. up to first place in Group F with four points while Senegal and Saudi Arabia sit just below with three points. Ecuador occupies the final spot in the group with one point through two games.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Sargent scored for the second straight game and the defensive unit anchored by Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers in central defense held tight to earn the U.S. a clean sheet. The U.S. finishes up the group stage on Sunday against Saudi Arabia.

In Group E action, France thrashed Vietnam 4-0 and New Zealand defeated Honduras 3-1.

Click on the link above for all the latest news from the U-20 World Cup, while below are video highlights from Thursday’s four games in Groups E and F.

Group E

USA 1, Senegal 0

Saudi Arabia 2, Ecuador 1

Group F

France 4, Vietnam 0

New Zealand 3, Honduras 1

Rooney left off England squad for matches with Scotland, France

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This summer could be the start of a new era with the England National Team.

England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was left out of Gareth Southgate‘s 25-man squad ahead of a pair of international matches in June. England faces Scotland on June 10 in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park before traveling to the Stade de France three days later for a friendly match with Les Blues.

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While Rooney didn’t make the squad, his Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford did make the team, with Southgate preferring him to be with the senior squad instead of play for England’s Under-21s at the UEFA Under-21 Championship this June in Poland.

“He’s in the senior squad on merit, and has been for a year,” Southgate said to FA.com. “He had one game with the Under-21s when I was there in September and he was outstanding that day, but he’s not really been a part of the Under-21 squad. His performances warrant him being in the senior squad.”

Other notable inclusions in the squad are Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier, who is in line for his first senior international cap, as well as 34-year-old Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe, coming off back-to-back Premier League seasons with 15 league goals.

If Rooney’s time with the Three Lions is over, it would mark a true changing of the guard in the England squad. Rooney, who has 119 caps and is England’s all-time leading goal scorer with 53 goals, made his debut in 2003 in a friendly match against Australia, at the time becoming the youngest player to make his England debut at the age of 17. The record was broken by Theo Walcott.

Rooney came to prominence with the Three Lions with a burst in Euro 2004 in Portugal, leading England to the quarterfinals. Perhaps England could have gone farther if Rooney hadn’t broken a bone in his foot and had to limp off in the first half of England’s ouster against Portugal.

Since then, it’s been a mixed bag for Rooney. While he’s scored bags of goals, he’s never really lived up to the hype in the big tournaments.

Under his watch, England’s never made it past the quarterfinals in either the World Cup or European Championships and he’s been part of big disappointments, including failing to qualify for Euro 2008 and getting bounced by Iceland in Euro 2016. England also failed to make it out of the group stage at the last World Cup.

It’s possible that Southgate left Rooney off the squad purely based on form as Defoe was included, but it could be a sign of things to come, which is a chance for younger players like John Stones, Alli and Kane to take leadership positions within the team.

Stream Live: USA takes on Senegal at U20 World Cup

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The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is halfway home in its second game of the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup group stage, holding a 1-0 lead over Senegal after Josh Sargent’s left-footed blast.

[ LIVE: USA U-20 vs. Senegal ] 

Tab Ramos’ side came back to draw Ecuador 3-3 in a wild first game of the tournament but after losing central midfielder Gedion Zelalem, holding midfielder Derrick Jones has moved into the starting lineup and provided more stability in the center of the park.

Below you can watch a replay of Sargent’s first-half goal and above is a link to stream the U.S. game live via Telemundo Deportes.

LAFC makes plan for training complex east of downtown

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LOS ANGELES (AP) The MLS expansion Los Angeles Football Club plans to spend $30 million to build a training complex on the campus of Cal State LA.

LAFC revealed its proposal Wednesday after the plans were approved by the California State University Board of Trustees.

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LAFC will renovate the university’s stadium field while constructing a complex to house its players, staff and coaches, along with the LAFC Academy youth development team.

The team’s two-story training building will be financed entirely by LAFC’s deep-pocketed ownership group. LAFC also committed to donate $1.5 million to the university.

The complex will be located on the north campus of Cal State LA, just 10 miles east of Banc of California Stadium. LAFC will begin MLS play in its under-construction downtown arena in March.