Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft is set to being at 3 p.m. EDT, and some clubs will see their franchise altered with the addition of a future star.
That’s not overblown, not now, not ever, and it isn’t limited to the top picks. Without further ado, here’s what to know before the Draft.
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1) No.1 matters… — While it was certainly more of a crapshoot during its first few editions — the draft started in 2000 — the last few drafts have provided downright stars.
Jack Harrison’s performance after NYCFC selected him out of Wake Forest last season capped a three-year run that includes Jamaican superstar backstop Andre Blake (UConn) and Canadian whizkid Cyle Larin (UConn).
2) …But so do the latter stages — While Homegrown kids and young prospects from outside the United States can change the dynamic of a club, smart drafting gives teams an incredible edge (And we’re not just talking about probable bargains like Colorado taking Dominique Badji at 67th in 2015).
Here are some fantastic bargains, second round or later, in MLS history:
51st overall (2010) — Sean Johnson, Chicago
50th overall (2007) — Luis Robles, DC United
42nd overall (2008) — Geoff Cameron, Houston
37th overall (2006) — Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA
36th overall (2004) – Michael Bradley, MetroStars
35th overall (2000) – Nick Rimando, Miami Fusion
29th overall (1997) – Kevin Hartman, LA Galaxy
28th (2010) — Justin Morrow, San Jose
27th (2012) — Miguel Ibarra, Portland Timbers
27th (2001) — Edson Buddle, Columbus
23rd (2009) — Graham Zusi, Kansas City
18th (2010) — Tim Ream, New York Red Bulls
17th (2006) — Jozy Altidore, Metrostars
3) The Combine does matter — While a lot of leeway is given to players pushed out of position by the Combine, where center backs often are forced out wide and center mids out to the wings, you’re in a bad spot if you’re a forward who can’t generate a ton of offense.
Some players have dropped out of the first round for this reason, while the Combine has helped some players significantly. Daniel Johnson started the week as the 15th pick in my mock and Zeiko Lewis wasn’t in the picture. Their fortunes have changed significantly.
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4) Trades for days — With Minnesota United and Atlanta United picking first and second, those picks could be more likely used as currency. And even after the dropoff between franchise changers and longtime starters, teams will want their guy. Expect a lot of movement. In some cases, like last year’s trade between Chicago and Philadelphia, it may even be NBA-styled post-pick trades.
5) Final Mock SuperDraft —
- Minnesota United — Jeremy Ebobisse, FWD (Duke)
- Atlanta United — Miles Robinson, DEF (Syracuse)
- Chicago Fire — Jonathan Lewis, FWD (Akron)
- Houston Dynamo —Lalas Abubakar, DEF (Dayton)
- Columbus Crew — Jackson Yueill, FWD (UCLA)
- San Jose Earthquakes — Brandon Aubrey, DEF (Notre Dame)
- Vancouver Whitecaps —Abu Danladi, FWD (UCLA)
- Atlanta United —Daniel Johnson, MID (Louisville)
- Columbus Crew — Reagan Dunk, DEF (Denver)
- Portland Timbers —Brian Wright, FWD (Vermont)
- Chicago Fire — Shamit Shome, MID (FC Edmonton)
- DC United — Nick DePuy, FWD (UCSB)
- Real Salt Lake —Chris Odoi-Atsem, DEF (Maryland)
- Sporting KC — Napo Matsoso, MID (Kentucky)
- Colorado Rapids — Francis De Vries, DEF (St. Francis PA)
- Seattle Sounders —Jacori Hayes, MID (Wake Forest)
- New York Red Bulls —Eric Klenofsky, GK (Monmouth)
- FC Dallas — Niko Hansen, MID (New Mexico)
- Montreal Impact – Adonijah Reid, FWD (Canada U-20)
- New England Revolution —Russell Cicerone, FWD (Buffalo)
- Toronto FC — Zeiko Lewis, MID (Boston College)
- Seattle Sounders — Walker Hume, DEF (UNC)
And, since it’s insane to nab second rounders in order (though we’re insane), here’s the batch we expected to go in the second.
Brian Nana-Sinkam, DEF (Stanf0rd); Liam Callahan, DEF (Syracuse); Justin Schmidt, DEF (Washington); Julian Gressel, MID (Providence); Chris Nanco, FWD (Syracuse); Kwame Awuah, MID (UConn); Colton Storm, DEF (UNC); Wulito Fernandes, FWD (UMass-Lowell); David Goldsmith, FWD (Butler); Jordan Wilson, DEF (Kentucky); Jorge Gomez Sanchez, FWD (Temple); Jakob Nerwinski, DEF (UConn); Brandt Bronico, MID (Charlotte); Guillermo Delgado, FWD (Delaware); Daniel Deakin, FWD (South Carolina); Christian Flath, MID (Rider); Austin Ledbetter, DEF (SIUE); Alec Farrell, GK (Wake Forest); Eddie Sanchez, MID (Portland); Christian Thierjung, FWD (Cal); Eric Lynch, MID (Wright State).