Real Salt Lake Fabian Espindola battles Los Angeles Galaxy Omar Gonzalez for the ball during their MLS western conference playoff soccer game in Carson, California

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.

Argentine star Messi leaves Honduras match with back injury

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  (L-R) Jose Juan Vazquez #23 of Mexico and Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina during a international friendly at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi left the field with a back injury in the second half of a 1-0 victory over Honduras in a friendly Friday night.

The Argentine team captain and Barcelona star was hit on an apparently inconsequential play and immediately went to the locker room. He was replaced at the 62-minute mark by Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega and never returned to the field.

“Messi suffered a trauma to the left side of his lower back and rib cage,” the Argentine Football (Soccer) Association said in a statement, adding that doctors were looking at the injury.

[ MORE: Hull City snares last PL spot for 2016-17 ]

Messi is not a player who leaves the field with minor injuries like he did Friday at San Juan’s Bicentenario stadium.

“I would not dare to venture a diagnosis,” said a concerned Argentine manager, Gerardo Martino.

Gonzalo Higuain, who scored for Argentina, said it “was an important win and here’s hoping that what happened to Leo is nothing.”

Messi was scheduled to fly to Spain to resolve a tax issue and then rejoin the team in Santa Clara, California.

Hull City secures PL position next season

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Ross Wallace of Sheffield Wednesday make a break during Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Mohamed Diame was the hero on the day for Hull City, as the Tigers gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

The Senegalese attacker sent Sheffield Wednesday packing on Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium after hitting a scorching long-distance effort past goalkeeper Kieren Westwood in the second half.

After an initial back-and-forth spell of chances over the opening half hour-plus, Sheffield was drastically taken out of the match as Hull began to gain their composure on the ball.

Hull City will join Championship winners Burnley and Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2016-17 after being promoted. Relegated clubs Newcastle, Norwich City and Aston Villa will take their place in England’s second flight.

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UCL FOLLOW LIVE: Lineups as Atleti, Real duel in finale

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, fights for the ball with Atletico Madrid's Tiago Mendes during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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After their devastating defeat two seasons ago, Atletico Madrid looks for revenge and their first UEFA Champions League title on Saturday against Real Madrid.

Milan will be the site for the action, as Zinedine Zidane and Real are seeking their 11th title in the competition and have the opportunity to knock Atleti out in the title match for the second time in three seasons.

To follow live, click here.

LINEUPS

Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema Subs: Casilla, James, Nacho, Lucas Vasquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Filipe Luis, Godin, Savic, Juanfran; Gabi, Fernandez, Koke, Saul Niguez; Griezmann, Torres. Subs: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Thomas, Ferreira-Carrasco, Gimenez.

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Atlanta United actively pursuing Mexican duo Guardado, Vela

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 07:  (L-R) Former professional soccer player Carlos Bocanegra, MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank, rapper Ludacris, Commissioner of MLS Don Garber, and former professional soccer player Darren Eales attend the MLS Atlanta Launch Event at SOHO on July 7, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta)
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With Atlanta United FC set to make their MLS debut in 2017, the club is reportedly set to make a major splash with one or possibly two Mexican stars.

[ MORE: Agent: Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not join Man United ]

ESPN FC‘s John Sutcliffe reported from the team’s future home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on Friday, saying that the team is targeting both Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Edgar Castillo to replace Timmy Chandler for USMNT ]

Guardado, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven, has long been a staple of the El Tri midfield, making 124 appearances for the Mexican national team.

While Vela wasn’t included in Mexico’s Copa America Centenario roster, the Real Sociedad striker has every bit of talent you’d want from a future Designated Player, which is likely what either Guardado or Vela would be.

Atlanta currently has three players on their roster. Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tabakis, Junior Burgos and Jeffery Otoo currently round out the squad.

The potential addition(s) of an Andres Guardado or Carlos Vela would prove to be not only big for Atlanta but for MLS as a whole, more so with Vela though. MLS’ growth over recent years has brought young DPs like Sebastian Giovinco and Giovani Dos Santos to Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy, respectively.

Another league addition who is in the prime of their career will only continue to build the league’s reputation, and immediately put Atlanta on the map next season.

Follow @MattReedFutbol