MLS Draft 2012

Impact take Wenger with first pick of 2012 MLS SuperDraft

Wenger (Getty Images)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The expansion Montreal Impact made Duke centerback Andrew Wenger the first selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, taking the versatile, U.S. Under-23 defender with its first-ever draft pick.

Wenger, the 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy winner, is the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year, a year after he captured the conference's Defensive Player of the Year honors. He plays centerback for the U-23s and projects to be a defender or defensive midfielder on the professional level.

He did not compete at the MLS Combine, as the current U-23 camp and the Hermann Trophy presentation prevented him from doing so. His prior body of work was enough for Montreal to see, though. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, a very capable distributor, a smart player who reads the game well and one who boasts polished attacking qualities, Wenger is as well-rounded a prospect in the draft pool.

Exactly where he'll play in Montreal will be figured out in the coming weeks. He met with Impact coach Jesse Marsch at the U-23 camp in Florida last month, where the two chatted briefly.

"We talked a little bit about my defending, but I don't really know what's going to happen," Wenger said. "We haven't spoken that in depth about it, but I'm looking forward to talking to him about it in the future.

"I'm honored, excited, ready to play."

Despite rumblings that Montreal was going to potentially trade its pick or use it to take Akron forward Darren Mattocks, the club opted for Wenger, the consensus all-around top talent.

Mattocks ended up going second to Vancouver, joining a forward corps that includes Eric Hassli, Omar Salgado and Camilo Sanvezzo.

"I didn't put too much thought into going 1 or 2 or 10 to be honest," said Mattocks, who scored 39 goals in two seasons at the University of Akron. "I just felt like my talent is going to do magic wherever I go."

Mattocks is the second Akron forward to be picked second overall in as many years after Darlington Nagbe was picked No. 2 by Portland last season.

The New England Revolution followed the Whitecaps by picking UCLA and U.S. U-23 playmaker Kelyn Rowe to help solve the team's offensive woes. 

The next four teams went the offensive route as well, with Toronto taking UCSB playmaker Luis Silva, Chivas USA grabbing Maryland striker Casey Townsend, San Jose going after UCSB attacker Sam Garza and D.C. United landing Louisville winger Nick DeLeon.

Four of the next five picks were centerbacks, with Generation adidas signing Andrew Jean-Baptiste going to the Portland Timbers, Louisville senior Austin Berry going to the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas landing North Carolina's Matt Hedges, and Toronto taking Notre Dame's Aaron Maund. Sandwiched between Berry and Hedges was Creighton forward Ethan Finlay, who was selected by the Columbus Crew.

Two other centerbacks were taken in the first round, with Seattle taking combine standout Andrew Duran from Creighton and the Los Angeles Galaxy starting to fill the void left behind by the injured Omar Gonzalez by taking Indiana's Tommy Meyer. 

The first fullback went off the board with the second pick of the second round, with Vancouver going after Indiana left back Chris Estridge. Creighton's Generation adidas left back Tyler Polak went the next pick to New England, the last GA member to go off the board.

  • chris

    Woah looking at the stats of RSL’s pick Sebastian Velasquez from Junior College. He has scored 35 goals and added 16 assists in 19 games played. That is pretty damn good even by JC standards, and only a sophomore too. Solid pick up for RSL though maybe he could have dropped a little lower in draft, dont know how many had him on their radar


  • Wispy

    What’s the 411 on Wenger? I’ve never seen him play besides some video from US U-23 camp, and he looks really stiff and super slow. Did I just get some bum footage or is he overrated?


  • Andy

    I really thought they needed to go CB or ST. They need to let Kitchen play in the midfield, and they also need a goalscorer to benefit from Ponius’s service.


  • Chris

    “I just felt like my talent is going to do magic wherever I go.”

    Isn’t that an exact quote from Chris Carrierri circa Project 40/pre-Don Garber era MLS?


  • abc

    The two picks I really don’t understand are
    Kansas City: 30 Cyprian Hedrik (Coastal Carolina)
    Salt Lake: 36 Sebastian Velasquez (Spartanburg Methodist)

    Why not draft some player who was projected to go in the first two rounds (for example Creavalle) and pick up the guy you were impressed with that no one else knows about in a later round?


  • abc

    Right but why not take some well known guy in the second round, whoever he may be, and take your secret out of nowhere guy later? I don’t think any other MLS team would have drafted Sebastian Velasquez, even if the draft went on for a dozen rounds.


  • marco

    Writer on ESPN site called Impact losers for picking Wenger over Mattocks. Winger won ACC player of the year as both attacker and defender, something that will probably never happen again.


  • Neruda

    Thanks for the info about valsquez. I’m so excited about Enzo Martinez being snagged by RSL deep in first round. Martinez is just what RSL needed after an eerily quiet offseason that saw the club do little in terms of adding talent. With Gil, Martinez and morales RSL has three attacking midfield.


  • liz

    completely unrelated to any of the other comments so far- Montreal has cool logo, and scarves :)


  • abc

    I think it’s pretty telling that Wenger’s U23 camp roommate, Zarek Valentin, suggested to Marsh that he draft Wenger, over Mattocks who was his teammate at Akron.


  • abc

    Actually there are some pretty decent players who have yet to be drafted, after two rounds, not only from college but internationals (like Yamada).


  • Hutch

    Interesting that all the teams passed on the internationals. They are probably looking to see what they can get in the transfer/free agent market first and then pick them up in the supplemental draft.


  • GS

    Everything I’ve heard suggests he is the next coming..lol

    I hope he is as good as they say. Perfect building block for an expansion team.

    Him and Ricketts will help them stay in games.


  • ostertag

    I believe wenger and valentin grew up in the same town as well, so I’m sure theyre quite familiar with each others games


  • Siberian

    If I recall CJ Sapong was a surprise pick by SKC last year, and he has turned out great. I assume the teams who actually pay the money do more homework than reporters.


  • Siberian

    I really hope a Canadian team can do well in MLS. It’s important for the league. I’m not that optimistic about next year though.


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