With the 2015 MLS SuperDraft just around the corner (Thursday, 12:30 pm ET) PST takes a look at each team’s biggest area need that they should be looking to address.
Disclaimer: Often times, taking the “best player available” (BPA) is the strategy teams implement most during the MLS SuperDraft — and very much rightly so. So with that in mind, these are below are each first-round-picking teams’ greatest area(s) of need which they are likely to be able to address in the 2015 SuperDraft.
Orlando City SC (1st overall) — Expansion sides, which are still far from having a complete roster, are the most likely to go “BPA” in the SuperDraft. Orlando City have the beginnings of a very strong spine — from back to front: Aurelien Collin, Amobi Okugo and Kaka — but who’s going to score the goals as a center forward (below, at right)?
New York City FC (2nd overall) — Jason Kreis has a long way to go in building his first team between now and March 8. With the No. 2 overall pick, he’d do well to snag a midfielder who can contribute as a rookie and grasp Kreis’s preferred 4-4-2 diamond setup.
Montreal Impact (3rd overall) — Frank Klopas has to do something about his backline, which conceded the third-most goals (58) in 2014. Drafting this early, he’ll likely have his pick of the entire pool of defenders.
San Jose Earthquakes (4th overall) — Another team with holes everywhere, new head coach Dominic Kinnear would probably like to trade back and pick up multiple pieces at this point of the first round. Take a young defender if you can’t trade down, as Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson aren’t getting any younger.
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Portland Timbers (5th overall) — Depth at any position. A team as talented as Caleb Porter’s bunch isn’t likely to find an immediate start in the draft, no matter how high they pick. A young full back or wide attacker who can keep the field stretched wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Toronto FC (6th, 9th and 11th overall) — There’s needs all over the field for new head coach Greg Vanney to target. With three out of six picks from six to 11, simply take the BPA every time, and chances are he’ll play a position TFC need to strengthen.
Chicago Fire (7th overall) — There’s a pretty strong midfield in Chicago these days, so again, if there’s any value whatsoever to be had in a defender, a team that gave up 51 goals in 2014 and shipped off most of the poor performers from that team, could use it.
Houston Dynamo (8th overall) — Owen Coyle could do absolutely anything with this pick. Grab the BPA, no matter where he plays, because the Dynamo can use him.
Sporting Kansas City (10th, 12th and 20th overall) — With so many middle-to-late first-round picks, packaging a couple in order to move up into the top five or six might make the most sense for an already deep team that doesn’t numbers as much as quality. BPA that fits Peter Vermes’ high-tempo 4-3-3 system.
Vancouver Whitecaps (13th overall) — An understudy for Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba. When the former went down injured in 2014, the ‘Caps struggled mightily and crawled over the line into the playoffs.
Columbus Crew (14th overall) — If the Crew can put together a package to move up and take one of the draft’s top center backs, they should. Michael Parkhurst and Emanuel Pogatetz aren’t likely to be healthy the entire season, and with little depth behind them, Gregg Berhalter needs all the depth he can get.
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FC Dallas (15th overall) — Nobody scouts the draft like Oscar Pareja, who will take no player that anyone anywhere suggests, so why bother? In this writer’s opinion, FCD need width in the worst way.
Real Salt Lake (16th overall) — No. 1 need this offseason: Replacing Nat Borchers (Jamison Olave will miss at least 10 games to injury), but there’s no way you’re doing that at No. 16 in the draft. Best case scenario: A top-10 player falls on draft day — a la Patrick Mullins — right into Jeff Cassar’s lap.
D.C. United (17th overall) — Ben Olsen has a solid squad all over the field. Perhaps the area of greatest strength is at goalkeeper. So it makes little sense on the surface to take a ‘keeper, but Bill Hamid will miss time for the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying this year, and he’s headed to Europe sooner rather than later.
New York Red Bulls (18th overall) — There’s a starting center back spot now open after Olave’s departure, but Jesse Marsch unlikely to be able to fill that at No. 18. At this point, it’s simply BPA for everyone.
Colorado Rapids (19th overall) — BPA with a defensive midfielder the greatest area of need.
LA Galaxy (21st overall) — BP(roject long-term)A. No rookie is walking into the defending champs’ starting lineup, but Bruce Arena will find a way to make him useful now and later.