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:
- LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
- LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
- DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
- Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
- Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
- Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
- Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
- New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
- New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
- Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
- FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
- San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
- Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
- Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
- Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
- New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
- Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
- Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
- New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
- Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
- Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
- Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
- 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.
Christian Pulisic is the best American soccer player in the world.
Of this, there is little debate.
But there is a debate to who is second, third, and well down the line, and we’ve got our last chance to really assess the full crop with Major League Soccer now out of season for a few months.
[ USMNT: Most to gain/lose from November ]
Let’s set some ground rules:
- The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
- Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one which could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
- Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Chris Richards of Bayern Munich II is a better long-term prospect than 32-year-old Tim Ream, but most would rather have the Fulham man in a big spot right now.
Top 25 USMNT players – November 2019
*not currently a part of USMNT squad due to injury
**not currently a part of USMNT squad due to coach’s decision
- Christian Pulisic, Chelsea*
- Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig*
- John Brooks, Wolfsburg
- Weston McKennie, Schalke
- Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf
- Sergino Dest, Ajax
- Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
- Matt Miazga, Reading (on loan from Chelsea)**
- Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen
- Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (on loan from Man City)*
- DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
- Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC*
- Tim Ream, Fulham
- Timothy Weah, Lille*
- Julian Green, Greuther Furth**
- Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders
- Ike Opara, Minnesota United**
- Michael Bradley, Toronto FC*
- Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach**
- Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (on loan from Spurs)**
- Tyler Boyd, Besiktas
- Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy
- Miles Robinson, Atlanta United*
- Paul Arriola, DC United
- Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes
Next up, established: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Bill Hamid (DC United).
Next up, youth: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona U19), Alex Mendez (Ajax U19), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund U19), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg U19), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich II), Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Donovan Pines (DC United), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
Frank Lampard‘s ready to go into his players’ wallets if they disobey his laws.
A posted list of fines for Chelsea players, signed by the manager, has been confirmed and we would completely understand if the Blues were on time all the time.
[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]
A player is fined about $640 per minute he’s late to a meeting, and if he misses a practice, well, wow: The fine is nearly $26,000.
If a phone rings during a meeting, that’s gonna be $1,300.
And if any fine isn’t paid within two weeks, it doubles! Seems like Christian Pulisic and his teammates will have a lot of alarms set on their phones.
From The Telegraph:
Lampard has also banned agents from the training ground, unless on official business, and players must inform the club if they intend to travel abroad, even on scheduled days off.
The average Chelsea salary last season was approximately $6.6 million, meaning players make on average $127,000 per week.
The full list of fines is below.
Vincent Kompany says history could help Manchester City climb back into the Premier League title race even after his former team dropped nine points back of first place Liverpool.
[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]
Now at Anderlecht, the center back also said history might’ve played a role in City’s 3-1 setback at Anfield. In a rare bit of explicit honesty, the often interesting Kompany said that players do deal with demons of a club’s past.
“We always struggle at Anfield,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I said that on Super Sunday, you’re fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that’s difficult, it’s two games in one game: You’re playing a great team and you’re fighting history.”
“Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool. They will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years. That should be to City’s advantage I still think.”
Do you buy that? Most of the buzz around the Premier League is that this Liverpool is a different team than even the dominant one of last season, and City has suffered big injury problems. The Reds players almost went out of their way last year to say they weren’t worried about blowing their table lead last season (which was bigger, later in the season).
Kompany also said that he believes City doesn’t need to add a center back in January, which is bonkers unless he’s coming back, but the Belgian has proven time and again that he’s one of the better minds in the game.
The guy did title his MBA dissertation, “How professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game-changing levels of improvement” after all. Then again, I’m not sure any of our dissertations on the same topic would’ve been approved had we done that.
Good news for Liverpool, not so much for Egypt.
Mohamed Salah will not suit up for the Pharoahs this month as Egypt begins qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
[ MORE: Will Zlatan rejoin LA? ]
Salah has been dealing with ankle problems since a rough tackle from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, and it’s acting up following a tackle from Fernandinho in the Reds’ 3-1 defeat of Man City on Sunday.
Egypt needs Salah, but it’s no surprise he’s erring on the side of caution given the tumultuous relationship between the superstar and his country (and Liverpool’s status as a contender in five (!!) tournaments).
Salah, 27, has 41 goals in 67 caps. The next five leading active Egyptian scorers have a combined 31 goals in their careers over 284 caps. The youngest of those is Aston Villa’s Trezeguet (25), followed by Besiktas’ Mohamed Elneny (27).
Egypt are heavy favorites to finish in one of the top two spots and qualify for AFCON 2020, even with the injury. The 49th ranked Pharoahs (FIFA ranking) are in a group with Kenya (108), Togo (124) and Comoros (142).
Egypt hosts Kenya on Thursday to kick off qualification, and visits Comoros on Monday.