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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.

Stanford reaches third straight NCAA title match, will face Indiana

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Only one team has ever won three or more consecutive NCAA men’s soccer titles, and another side has moved one step closer to equalling that feat.

The Stanford Cardinal reached its third straight NCAA final on Friday night, after earning a 2-0 victory against the Akron Zips.

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Stanford has won the last two NCAA titles, but has a chance this weekend to become the second team to ever win three straight crowns (1991-94 Virginia Cavaliers).

The Pac-12 side scored on both sides of halftime on Friday, with Foster Langsdorf nabbing the opening tally after brilliantly executing a diving header past Zips goalkeeper Ben Lundt.

Meanwhile, Sam Werner doubled the advantage for the Cardinal, and ensured their place in the championship match, after brilliantly striking a left-footed shot from near the left end line with 11 minutes remaining in regulation.

In Friday’s other national semifinal, the Indiana Hoosiers topped the North Carolina Tar Heels, 1-0, behind Andrew Gutman’s second-half finish.

The Tar Heels fell asleep defending a corner kick early in the second stanza, allowing Gutman to sneak into the back post and bury his close-range opportunity.

Hoosiers goalkeeper Trey Muse performed admirably in net, picking up his NCAA record-tying 18th shutout this season.

Indiana will be going for its ninth NCAA soccer title in school history when they take on the Cardinal on Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium, while a win would be Stanford’s third-ever triumph.

NCAA D-1 Tournament bracket revealed

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The road to Philadelphia for the 2017 College Cup is set, with 16 seeded teams looking to hold off all comers for the top prize in men’s Division I soccer.

The top seed is Wake Forest, with the respective 15 other seeded programs Indiana, North Carolina, Louisville, Akron, Duke, Michigan State, Clemson, Stanford, Western Michigan, Virginia, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgetown, Dartmouth, VCU.

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Though the bracket is divided regionally, some schools face big trips. Colorado-based Air Force will have to beat Virginia Tech in order to hit Michigan State. The Washington-Seattle winner will head to Akron, and the Cal-San Francisco winner heads to Louisville.

Field. Stormed. Blue Green Rivalry sees 11,075 at Cal Poly (video)

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As the beautiful game continues to grow in the United States, we see more and more videos of big, passionate crowds.

We just don’t expect them to be this large when it comes to college soccer, and this one would’ve been the high season attendance for all but three USL teams and every team in the NASL.

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In what’s become an annually well-attended derby, the Blue Green Rivalry between UCSB and Cal Poly saw the largest crowd in NCAA Soccer this season, as 11,075 fans crammed into Spanos Stadium on Saturday. Cal Poly won 4-1.

The show is nothing new, but always impressive. Just listen to the roar when coach Steve Sampson’s — yes, that Steve Sampson — Mustangs equalized through sophomore midfielder Kenneth Higgins en route to a 4-1 win (about 40 seconds into the above video).

According to the Cal Poly site:

The best-attended sporting event annually in San Luis Obispo County, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 20 of the top 53 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous 11 seasons.

Not bad, and the match finished with Cal Poly fans flooding the field in what will be an enduring memory for the Mustangs (and surely the visiting Gauchos as well. The sides drew 0-0 at UCSB on Oct. 14).

Wow, this laser goal from Florida Gulf Coast is nice (video)

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Kareem Riley will never forget his first college goal, and we will remember it for some time, too.

The big Trinidad and Tobago-born freshman got off the mark for Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday in a match against NCAA No. 24 Nebraska-Omaha.

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Deadening the ball with a quick touch, Riley noticed that the midfield had left him a gaping hole and OH MY GOODNESS, AN ARROW!

FGCU would go on to win 3-2, and this post comes barely over a year since the Eagles hit our page by netting the fastest hat trick to start a game in D-1 history.