The 2012 MLS Draft is ten weeks away, and while we still have eight teams alive in the MLS playoffs, those teams that saw their seasons ended already have changed their focus squarely to the draft.
It is still a bit early to know for sure exactly which players will be available, which underclassmen will secure Generation adidas deals, and what kind of foreign talent MLS will squeeze into the draft. As we saw with Toronto FC and Joao Plata, there is a chance some non-college talent could be found in the draft capable of making an impact.
For now, what we can do is project the talent expected to be available in the draft, and consider the possibilities in the top half of the draft. In case you missed it, here is my first MLS Draft Big Board for Fox Soccer, detailing the Top 25 MLS Draft prospects as of now.
So what might the first half of the 2012 MLS Draft look like? Here is how I can see the Top Ten picks playing out in January:
2012 MLS MOCK DRAFT (First Ten Picks)
1. MONTREAL IMPACT
Andrew Wenger, Midfielder/Defender, Duke
Best player in the draft, can play in midfield and central defense. He's physically ready for the next level and can play almost anywhere on the field.
2. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
Kelyn Rowe, Midfielder, UCLA
Yes, Whitecaps already have Davide Chiumiento, but Rowe is best creative midfielder in the draft and an outstanding long-term prospect.
3. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Darren Mattocks, Forward, Akron
Best striker in the draft, Mattocks is the type of impact striker the Revs are desperate for.
4. TORONTO FC
Brian Span, Midfielder, Virginia
Could be the best long-term prospect in the draft, the impressive winger boasts freakish athleticism and is drawing comparisons to a young Brek Shea.
5. CHIVAS USA
Billy Schuler, Forward, North Carolina
The Goats need forwards, particularly if Juan Pablo Angel doesn't return, and Schuler is the best available player.
6. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Robbie Derschang, Midfielder, SMU
With Bobby Convey on the way out, San Jose needs some left wing help and Derschang is the best left wing prospect in the draft.
7. D.C. UNITED
Enzo Martinez, Midfielder, North Carolina
If D.C. decides to keep Dwayne DeRosario as a second forward, and finds room for a playmaker, Martinez is a perfect candidate for that role.
8. PORTLAND TIMBERS
Eric Schoenle, Defender, West Virginia
It's no secret the Timbers need some defensive help, and while they could be tempted to grab North Carolina centerback Matthew Hedges, John Spencer might find it tough to pass on a quality defensive prospect like Schoenle, who would be a Generation adidas player.
9. CHICAGO FIRE
Casey Townsend, Forward, Maryland
The Fire could use a natural right back (which would let Jalil Anibaba play his natural centerback position) but without a right back worth taking this early, Chicago grabs a promising forward in Townsend.
10. COLUMBUS CREW
Luis Silva, Midfielder, UCSB
The Crew need creativity in midfield and Silva is just the kind of player who can step in right away and contribute as a two-way midfielder.
What do you think of these projections? Who would you like to see your team select in the 2012 MLS Draft?
Share your thoughts below.