Ian McGrath

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2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

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Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

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An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.

VIDEO: Evansville senior fires goal from halfway line

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College soccer is back, and one player kicked off his senior season with a bang.

Evansville midfielder Ian McGrath scored and posted two assists in a season-opening win over D-2 side Anderson, but saved his best for the Aces’ first D-1 opponent of the season.

[ PL PLAYBACK: 20 teams, 20 hot takes ]

McGrath spied Marshall’s goalkeeper well off his line in the 39th minute, and set himself up to launch a bold attempt from midfield. The backstop could only get a piece of the ball, which wound up as the match winner in Huntington.

The 6-foot-4 McGrath comes from the ranks of the Chicago Fire Juniors, and is coming off an 11-goal junior season. He’s played center midfield and center back during his time in college.

VIDEO: Evansville’s preseason goal from distance starts year in style

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It may only be preseason in the world of American soccer, but take a bow, Ian McGrath and your Evansville Aces teammates.

The Missouri Valley Conference side had a smashing goal off an excellent buildup through the midfield with a bevy of one-touch passes for Marshall Ray’s side.

[ MORE: College soccer news | SportsWorld on Clark ]

Coming off a season that landed him on the MVC All-Rookie Team, the sophomore from New Lenox, Illinois, finds a odd bounce in the midfield and absolutely belts an unstoppable laser into the goal.

It is, in two words, aesthetically pleasing.

McGrath scored another in the exhibition, a 3-2 win over Mercer. See a great goal in your college side’s match? Tweet @NicholasMendola with the video.