MLS Combine Day 1 Report
With day one of the MLS Combine in the books, its time to look at some of the the stand out performances and disappointments of Saturday’s matches.
Mac Steeves (F, Providence)
Mac Steeves showed why he will be a top forward in this draft class on Day 1, registering fifth in the vertical jump performance test and showing his 6’4, 215lb frame throughout the day. Having had great success at the alma mater of MLS Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel, Steeves looked strong on the day putting in a number of dangerous passes and being a goal threat all afternoon.
Chris Lema (M, Georgetown)
Former Red Bulls academy product and USYNT player Chris Lema did well for himself on Saturday as he looked in control seeing Team X to a 1-1 draw. Lema’s vision and movement stood out on the day, and Lema’s passing looked strong as he almost tallied an assist in the match finding Mercer product Will Bagrou with a pass to feet in the box.
Jon Bakero (F, Wake Forest)
Jon Bakero looked up to the task on Saturday as he helped his team to a 2-1 victory. While he was not the most athletic player on the pitch, his positioning, passing, spacing was all top-notch. The Mac Hermann Trophy winner also tallied an assist in game one, topping off a great first day for the Wake Forest product.
Lucas Stauffer (D, Creighton)
While Stauffer was not on many peoples’ radars going into the combine, he certainly made a name for himself to day. Showing his versatility at both fullback spots, and also in midfield, Stauffer will stand out given the scarcity of outside-back spots on a number of MLS rosters. With a team of quality players around him, Stauffer will look to continue his good form on Monday.
Mark Segbers (D/F, Wisconsin)
While Segbers impressed further up the pitch than in defense, his versatility will certainly be an asset going into the draft. The Wisconsin product is still young, and the potential to mold him into a quality MLS fullback certainly exists. Segbers played similarly to Jakob Nerwinski, who was picked 7th overall in the 2017 MLS Draft by the Vancouver Whitecaps – strong in the attack and promising defensively.
Tomas Hilliard-Ace (D, Stanford)
While Hilliard-Ace did not actively hurt his stock on day one of the Combine, solid performances from Stauffer, Segbers, and Joao Moutinho out of Akron made him look less impressive than his hype would let on. Already signed with Major League Soccer, Hilliard-Ace will be in the league next season, but if the margins between the national champion and the rest of the defensive pool continue to get slimmer, he might drop down the draft boards rather fast.
Mo Adams (M, Syracuse)
Adams did not do anything to hurt his stock today…but that is because he did not do anything at all. Adams ran into visa issues which prevented him from being at the combine on day one. While Adams is still a top talent in the upcoming draft, standout performances from others like Lema will certainly put more pressure on Adams to perform when he does get involved.
Gordon Wild (F, Maryland)
A Generation Adidas forward, Wild did not stand out compared to his GA counterparts on Day 1 of the combine. A striker who created space and scored goals for his three years at Maryland, the German-born striker did not perform. Pressure will be on the former Mac Hermann Trophy finalist to play well on Monday if he hopes to keep his spot on the draft boards.