By FRANCO PANIZO
The 2010 MLS Combine is history, but before it gets put to bed, we're going to look at the combine's top performers.
While several players impressed during the three days worth of matches in freezing Fort Lauderdale, FL., only a few can be labeled as the cream of the crop. Now this list is not a list of the most talented guys at the combine, nor is it a list of who will be selected first. This is simply just a list of the players with the best overall performances at the combine.
With that said, here are my top performers from the combine:
5. Drew Yates, M, Maryland
There was a plethora of attacking midfielders among the draft prospects, but Drew Yates was certainly among the better ones. Yates was confident on the ball, and constantly released dangerous passes to his forwards. Yates' always looked to be involved in his team's attacks, and his first touch was smooth for the most part. He also confidently claimed and converted a penalty kick on Day One.
4. Irving Garcia, M, UC-Irvine
Irving Garcia may be small, but he can play. Garcia looked good throughout his games, and scored a goal on Day Two. The quick 5'5 midfielder is confident with the ball at his feet, and can dribble through tight spaces, traits rarely seen among this pool of players. Along with taking players on 1-v-1, Garcia showed some mental toughness, playing through pain in the final game after a collision forced him out for part of Day Two.
3. Eric Alexander, M, Indiana University
Playing on a team that was stacked with talented midfielders, Eric Alexander still managed to shine. Alexander had a great combine, showing off a good first touch while also being able to make a tough tackle or two. Alexander also delivered good set-pieces, and scored two good-looking goals, including a game-winning, long-range blast on Day Three.
2. Justin Morrow, D, Notre Dame
Justin Morrow was all over the field in his three games at the combine, and MLS coaches likely took notice. Questions remain about how good he is defensively, but Morrow can motor up and down the wing and is a threat with his pin-point crosses. Morrow, who had a nice assist on Day One, played left back for much of the combine, but was deployed at left mid in the second half of the final match, where he was a constant threat.
1. Tony Tchani, M, University of Virginia
Tony Tchani is the real deal. The 20-year-old midfielder had a near-flawless combine, breaking up countless plays while also demonstrating an ablity to maintain possession and make nice passes. Tchani's fearless performances at the combine proved he will be ready to contribute to an MLS team from the start, so don't be surprised if you see the New York Red Bulls pass on defender Ike Opara in favor of Tchani with the second overall pick on Thursday.
What do you think of this list? Surprised by any of these players' inclusion? Think your team has a realistic chance of landing any of these players?
Share your thoughts below.