Good afternoon folks. It took me a while but I have finally cranked out an MLS Mock Draft.
The mock draft consists of the first round and the first two picks of the second round (I had to include the Red Bulls pick in there for eager Red Bulls fans curious about who might fall to No. 12).
I don’t include trade possibilities but do have some potential deals for you to consider.
So here goes, the first SBI MLS Mock Draft. Enjoy.
2008 MLS MOCK DRAFT
1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES- PATRICK NYARKO (Virginia Tech). With Kei Kamara the only forward on the roster, look for Frank Yallop to take the best striker in the draft. San Jose could also trade down into a later spot with hopes of landing midfielder Pete Lowry.
2. FC DALLAS- JULIUS JAMES (University of Connecticut). The Hoops signed Duilio Davino but still need more defensive help and James is regarded as the best in the draft. Andy Iro is also a possibility.
3. REAL SALT LAKE- ANDY IRO (UCSB). RSL’s defense played better later in the year but Eddie Pope’s departure leaves the need for a central defender. Iro is a mountain of a player who would be an ideal centerback partner for the smaller Nathan Sturgis.
4. LOS ANGELES GALAXY- ERIC AVILA (UCSB) This is a tough read. Eric Avila is the most talented player left but the Galaxy has needs on defense. Does Ruud Gullit pass on the most skillful player on the board, or does he help fill a need by taking defender/defensive midfielder Pat Phelan? This one was tough but I see
5. COLORADO RAPIDS- PETER LOWRY (Santa Clara). The player the Rapids desperately need is Nyarko so a swap with San Jose would make sense for both parties. If Colorado stays here, it could go for Lowry, a forward/midfielder who has shown an ability score goals and set them up. He is polished and looks like he could step in and contribute this year. He isn’t a pure striker but grabbing any of the other strikers in the draft this early would be a serious reach.
6. COLUMBUS CREW- XAVIER BALC (Ohio State). I haven’t really been impressed with Balc but the Crew has seen enough of him to know that he’s better than he’s shown at the combine. Could he be tanking it so a Colorado or LA doesn’t swoop in and take him? Probably not, but it might wind up landing him on his hometown team. Who else might the Crew consider?
7. CHICAGO FIRE- PAT PHELAN (Wake Forest). The Fire could use a goal-scorer but the options are thin in that department. Phelan is the best defender available and is capable of playing defensive midfield as well. He has too much value to pass up. It wouldn’t shock me if Chicago and Houston complete a deal for Houston’s designated player slot that lands the Dynamo this pick (among other things). If that happens, you can rest assured that Houston will grab Brek Shea here.
8. FC DALLAS- BREK SHEA (U.S. Under-17 national team). No player increased his stock at the Combine more more than Shea, who went from unknown to hot prospect in one weekend. Shea is from Houston Dynamo territory but moving up this high to get Shea will be tough (unless the scenario listed above happens).
9. TORONTO FC- CHANCE MYERS (UCLA). Mo Johnston is one of the best drafters in the league and he’ll find a very good value in Myers. Several teams love Myers’ game and ability to play either fullback spot (which can help when Marvell Wynne is with the US Olympic team). This isn’t a need pick, but a value pick that Johnston could trade. Assuming he doesn’t trade this pick beforehand.
10. TORONTO FC- ERIC BRUNNER (Ohio State). TFC came into the draft needing defense and will add two solid prospects in Myers and Brunner. The OSU product can play centerback and some fullback, versatility Mo Johnston surely likes.
11. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS- ANDREW JACOBSEN (Callifornia). The Wizards have plenty of needs but some central midfield depth is one that can be addressed here with Jacobson, a highly-regarded prospect who hasn’t necessarily blown people away at the MLS Combine but who still has first-round talent. The Wizards could also be tempted to grab goalkeeper Dominic Cervi to serve as Kevin Hartman’s potential successor.
12. CHICAGO FIRE– JOSH LAMBO (US Under-17 national team)– The Fire is still hoping to re-sign Matt Pickens, and still has veteran Jon Busch, but it will be hard to pass up as good a prospect as Lambo. He’s a local kid and is considered the best young goalkeeper in the U.S. pipeline since Chris Seitz, with some saying he’s further along at his age than both Seitz and Brad Guzan were at the same age. The Fire might wait until the late second round to grab a goalkeeper but both Lambo and Dominic Cervi will be gone by then. If the Fire waits for a goalkeeper, then look for Chicago to consider grabbing Duke midfielder Mike Videira.
13. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION- MIKE VIDEIRA (Duke). The Revs always find quality prospects in the draft and will be pleased to find Videira here. The Duke central midfielder could go much earlier, but in this mock draft he slides to New England, which needs to make up for the loss of Andy Dorman.
14. REAL SALT LAKE- JON LEATHERS (Furman). Very impressive player is on the small side for a central defender but has shown an ability to play fullback. RSL might grab a Generation adidas player like Alex Nimo, but Leathers and Iro can help right away.
15. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES- STEPHEN KING (Maryland). Frank Yallop will be happy to find a player of King’s caliber in the second round. A U.S. Under-23 call-up, King is a smallish but skillful central midfielder.
16. RED BULLS- El-HADJ CISSE (North Carolina State). Juan Carlos Osorio is looking for athletic winger types and Cisse fits the bill. Cisse could slide in as a left winger for the Red Bulls and it doesn’t hurt that he has New York ties. The Red Bulls could be tempted to move up to make a run at Chance Myers, who the Red Bulls would like to add.
That’s all for now I’ll do at least one more before Wednesday (two rounds) and will do a final first round mock draft for ESPN.com on Thursday. Share your thoughts on these picks below.