The SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 3.0)

The SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 3.0)

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The SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 3.0)

Schillo Tshuma (23), Joey Dillon (4)

By IVES GALARCEP

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.– The 2014 MLS Combine is set to kick off on Friday afternoon and the next five days will go a long way in helping shape the direction of Thursday’s 2014 MLS Draft. Before we get to those important Combine matches, it is time to have one last look at what the MLS Draft might look like based on player ratings as they stand before the Combine.

Plenty has changed since the previous Mock Draft last weekend. While no draft picks have been traded yet, we have seen movement on the Generation adidas front with centerback Damion Lowe landing a GA contract while UConn forward Cyle Larin has yet to sign. With that in mind, we are leaving Larin out of this Mock Draft since, at this moment, it appears he will not be signing.

It should be pointed out that we had a few later-round picks going to the wrong teams in recent mock drafts. Those have been corrected and the draft order you see here is the most up-to-date draft order.

This will be the next-to-last mock draft for us, with the final SBI MLS Mock Draft set for Wednesday, the day before the draft, and that will be one you definitely want to see as it will be based on final evaluations and input from coaches and general managers from around MLS.

Now, without further ado, here is the latest SBI MLS Mock Draft, version 3.0, including picks for the first three of the four total rounds:

SBI 2014 MLS Mock Draft (Version 3.o)

(*-Generation adidas player)

1. D.C. UNITED

Patrick Mullins, Maryland, Forward

This will be seen by teams around the league as a reach, but with the team making several additions to the defense, D.C. can’t be blamed for going with the best attacking player in college soccer over the past two seasons. Mullins has shown good touch and a nose for goal and should have a solid pro career.

Having said all that, it appears more and more likely D.C. United will trade this pick to a team looking for one of the top centerbacks in the draft, most likely Christian Dean. If Dean and Steven Birnbaum impress with strong Combines, a trade for this pick will become even more likely. If Mullins doesn’t go with this top pick, he could definitely slide a handful of picks out of the Top Five.

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2. PHILADELPHIA

Christian Dean, California, Centerback

The Union can flip a coin and go with either Dean or Birnbaum. Though Birnbaum is more prepared to help right away, Dean’s upside and left foot will be hard to pass up.

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3. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Steve Birnbaum, California, Centerback

The most pro-ready of all the centerbacks in the draft, Birnbaum can step in and start for the Whitecaps on Day One, assuming he slips this far. Birnbaum could also wind up going with the No. 1 overall pick.

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4. COLUMBUS CREW

Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina, Central Midfielder

With Cyle Larin still unsigned, the Columbus Crew look to boost their central midfield options and Ribeiro is arguably the best option to do just that. The tall and lanky Brazilian has impressive vision, passing touch and can also set up his own chances. The Union could also consider a player like Marlon Hairston.

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5. FC DALLAS

*Schillo Tshuma, Maryland, Forward

He didn’t have the best sophomore season, but Tshuma’s outstanding freshman campaign wasn’t easily forgotten and he remains one of the most explosive attacking players in the pool. For an FC Dallas team that can use some speed up top, Tshuma makes sense.

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6. PHILADELPHIA UNION

*Marlon Hairston, Central Midfielder, Louisville

The Union might find it difficult to pass on a talent like Andre Blake at this pick so don’t be surprised if the UConn goalkeeper is snatched here, but Hairston makes more sense given what the Union have on the roster and in the pipeline. Hairston still needs time to develop, but he has the talent to eventually be anchoring the Union central midfield.

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7. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

*Andre Blake, UConn, Goalkeeper

The Whitecaps parted ways with back up goalkeeper Brad Knighton, but could grab a goalkeeper of the future in Blake, who is clearly the top player in the draft at his position. The Jamaican-born Blake would join fellow Jamaican Darren Mattocks on the Whitecaps.

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8. CHICAGO FIRE

*A.J. Cochran, Wisconsin, Centerback

Having added an outstanding talent in Homegrown Player Harrison Shipp, who would have been a top two pick if he were in the draft, the Fire can look to grab the best talent available and find some quality centerback depth in Cochran. Frank Yallop could go with Eric Miller as well, but adding a Generation adidas player with very good upside makes sense here.

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9. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

*Eric Miller, Creighton, Right Back

The Earthquakes lost Steve Beitashour in the offseason to a free transfer and find a perfect replacement in Miller. If Miller can stay healthy– injuries have plagued his college career– the U.S. Under-20 fullback just might be able to step in and start for Mark Watson.

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10. MONTREAL IMPACT

Kevin Cope, Michigan State, Centerback

The Impact will be happy to be able to grab one of the draft’s best centerbacks at this selection, and we’ll project they grab Cope over Kyle Venter. Cope is polished enough to contribute immediately to an Impact central defense in dire need of help.

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11. COLORADO RAPIDS

Kyle Venter, New Mexico, Centerback

The Rapids may not know who their head coach will be in 2014 but they do know that Venter is a local product who can provide needed depth at centerback.

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12. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Steve Neumann, Georgetown, Forward/Midfielder

Though he could go as high as sixth overall, we can see Neumann sliding to the Revs, who would be happy to grab a player who has shown a real nose for goal, even if forward may not be his most natural position. The Revs could also consider Jared Watts or Joey Dillon to help the team’s defensive midfield depth.

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13. SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Nikita Kotlov, Indiana, Left winger

Sigi Schmid is a coach who isn’t afraid to reach for a player he likes, as we’ve seen in past drafts, and we could see Schmid being interested in a quick left winger like Kotlov, who can provide service and also score goals. This is early for Kotlov to go, but Schmid has done this before.

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14. LA GALAXY

Jared Watts, Wake Forest, Defensive Midfielder

The Galaxy have enough depth at centerback, and could use a defensive midfield prospect. Bruce Arena could go with Joey Dillon at this pick, or trade out of the first round, but we’ll go with Watts to provide some central midfield depth.

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15. TORONTO FC

Grant Van De Casteele, Notre Dame, Centerback

Even though the team has a handful of centerbacks, the recent additions of marquee talent in other areas makes centerback a position depth can be a focus. Enter Van De Casteele, who boasts size, maturity and intelligence and could play right away if needed.

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16. HOUSTON DYNAMO

Ben Sweat, South Florida, Left Back

Centerback is a need area for the Dynamo in terms of depth, but passing on a talent like Sweat at left back may be too difficult for Dom Kinnear. Other options at this pick include Joe Sofia and Romena Bowie.

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17. PORTLAND TIMBERS

Marco Franco, UC-Irvine, Centerback/Right Back

Caleb Porter loves technical defenders and there isn’t a more technical one in the draft than Franco, who is small for a centerback at 5-11, but would work well in Porter’s system. He could also help provide depth at right back as well. The looming signing of smallish and skilled centerback Bryan Gallego to a Homegrown Player deal might make this selection seem less likely, but I doubt Porter can have too many skilled defenders.

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18. REAL SALT LAKE

Romena Bowie, VCU, Defensive Midfielder

In a year where Kyle Beckerman could be away with the U.S. National Team for stretches, adding some defensive midfield depth wouldn’t be a bad thing. Bowie is a very highly-regarded option who would higher on most team’s draft boards if not for his international status as a Jamaican-born player.

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19. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Joey Dillon, Georgetown, Defensive Midfielder

The Revs spent the second half of the 2013 season playing without a true defensive midfielder, so grabbing one in the draft should be a priority for Jay Heaps’ squad. Dillon was a four-year starter for Georgetown and has the work rate and poise on the ball to be a successful pro.

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SECOND ROUND

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20. CHIVAS USA

Mamadou Diouf, UConn, Forward

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21. SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Joe Sofia, UCLA, Centerback

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22. NEW YORK RED BULLS

*Damion Lowe, Hartford, Centerback

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23. COLUMBUS CREW

Robbie Derschang, Akron, Left Winger

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24. TORONTO FC

Mackenzie Pridham, Cal Poly, Forward

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25. PHILADELPHIA UNION

Luca Gimenez, Wake Forest, Right winger

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26. PORTLAND TIMBERS

Mark Sherrod, Memphis, Forward

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27. PHILADELPHIA UNION

George Fochive, UConn, Defensive Midfielder

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28. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

J.J. Koval, Stanford, Central Midfielder

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29. MONTREAL IMPACT

Nick Hagglund, Xavier, Centerback

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30. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Reinaldo Brenes, Akron, Forward

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31. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Victor Chavez, UCLA, Forward

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32. HOUSTON DYNAMO

Taylor Peay, Washington, Centerback

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33. LOS ANGELES GALAXY

Justin Portillo, Coastal Carolina, Forward/Midfielder

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34. NEW YORK RED BULLS

A.J. Corrado, Indiana, Attacking Midfielder

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35. COLORADO RAPIDS

Rafael Diaz, St. John’s, Goalkeeper

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36. PORTLAND TIMBERS

Eric Stevenson, Akron, Left Wing/Left Back

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37. MONTREAL IMPACT

Aodhan Quinn, Akron, Right winger

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38. SPORTING KC

Thomas McNamara, Clemson, Central Midfielder

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ROUND THREE

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39. PORTLAND TIMBERS

Ryan Neil, California, Left winger

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40. CHIVAS USA

Enrique Cardenas, UC-Irvine, Forward

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41. SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Jimmy Ockford, Louisville, Centerback

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42. COLUMBUS CREW

Daniel Lovitz, Elon, Left winger

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43. FC DALLAS

Victor Munoz, UCLA, Midfielder

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44. PHILADELPHIA UNION

Pete Caringi, UMBC, Forward

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45. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Kingsley Baiden, UCSB, Defensive Midfielder

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46. PHILADELPHIA UNION

Bryan Ciesulka, Marquette, Central Midfielder

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47. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

Kris Tyrpak, Houston Baptist, Forward

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48. MONTREAL IMPACT

Kees Heemskerk, College of Charleston, Goalkeeper

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49. COLORADO RAPIDS

Fabio Pereira, Michigan, Attacking Midfielder

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50. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Wojciech Wojcik, Bradley, Forward

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51. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Tomislav Zadro, Wisconsin, Central Midfielder

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52. PHILADELPHIA UNION

Nick Walker, FDU, Centerback

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53. REAL SALT LAKE

Adnan Gabeljic, Saint Louis, Forward

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54. HOUSTON DYNAMO

Michael Kafari, New Mexico, Defensive Midfielder

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55. SEATTLE SOUNDERS

Kadeem Dacres, UMBC, Attacking Midfielder/Left Winger

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56. REAL SALT LAKE

Chris Duvall, Wake Forest, Right Back

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57. SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Zach Bolden, Denver, Left Winger

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