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SBI MLS Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Marcus Tracy ( 

While it may just feel like yesterday when the Columbus Crew were lifting the MLS Cup trophy, it is already time to think about the 2009. The 2009 MLS Draft is just a month away, meaning it isn't too early to start thinking about how the draft may turn out once the league's 15 teams are done with what is being considered a deep and talented draft class.

That means it is time for the first SBI MLS Mock Draft. Yes, I know, we haven't even learned who MLS will sign with its Generation adidas contracts, or what trades involving veteran players and draft picks that may be pulled off in the next four weeks, but we can at least take a stab at what the first round of the draft might look like if it took place today. (Please keep in mind that the underclassmen named in the mock draft have YET to sign with MLS so they very well might not be available when the draft takes place on Jan. 15th in St. Louis).

With that in mind, here is the first of what should be several SBI MLS Mock Drafts. Enjoy:

2009 SBI MLS Mock Draft

1. Seattle Sounders- Marcus Tracy, F, Wake Forest

Sigi Schmid goes with the top striker prospect rather than the stud defensive prospects. Tracy would very likely have been the top pick in the 2007 draft if he had come out and the only real strike against him is that his contract (at least some of it) will count against the salary cap, unlike the top Generation adidas prospects. This pick is very likely to be Tracy or Opara.

2. Toronto FC- Ike Opara, D, Wake Forest 

Mo Johnston will be absolutely giddy to be able to grab Opara, a 20-year-old defender with tremendous upside who could play right away. If Seattle takes Opara, TFC will have a hard time passing on Tracey, though Omar Gonzalez would fill a more pressing need.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy- Omar Gonzalez, D, Maryland

Everybody knows what the Galaxy needs and Gonzalez is the best defender on the board. Bruce Arena will gladly turn to the ACC standout, though do not be surprised if the Galaxy deal this pick to FC Dallas for a package of first-round picks. The Galaxy need more help than one player can provide.

4. Toronto FC- O’Brian White, F, UConn

The word on the street is that TFC wants to deal away one or two of its first-round picks, but if White is here at No. 4 you can bet Johnston will pounce on the Toronto native and standout striker. The question at this point is whether White will actually sign with MLS.

5. FC Dallas- Steve Zakuani, F, Akron

As stated above, don't be surprised to see Schellas Hyndman package his No. 5 and No. 11 picks to move up to grab one of the Big Three. FC Dallas has plenty of quality prospects already and it wouldn't be a shock to see the Hoops package picks for some veteran depth.

6. D.C. United- Sam Cronin, M, Wake Forest

Whether or not Ben Olsen can come back this year it is clear that D.C. needs to replace him and Cronin is just the player to do that. A classy central midfielder who would fit right in at D.C, Cronin has the make-up to play major minutes as a rookie. 

7. D.C. United- Jeremy Hall, M, Maryland

Dave Kasper and Tom Soehn will jump for joy of they can pull off this ACC double. Hall was a left wing threat for the Terps and has a nice speed-skill combo who could be an impact player right away.

8. Kansas City- Baggio Husidic, M, Illinois-Chicago 

It isn't a stretch to say the Wizards attack could use a boost of creativity and Husidic could provide just that. Regarded as one of the most skilled playmakers in the draft, Husidic could go even higher than No. 8.

9. Chivas USA- Stephen Frei, G, California

The Goats struggled to replace Brad Guzan when he left for Aston Villa but Frei is just the type of goalkeeping prospect to potentially be the permanent replacement. Frei is a 6-foot-3 force in the net and is widely regarded as the best pro prospect in a good goalkeeping class.

10. New England Revolution- Yohance Marshall, D, South Florida

Replacing Michael Parkhurst is all but impossible to do in a college draft, but landing the best senior defender in the pool will help. Marshall has the strength, speed and leadership abilities to step right in as a rookie and start, which is why he could go higher in the first round.

11. FC Dallas- Graham Zusi, M, Maryland

As we stated above, look for this pick to be dealt, but if it isn't, Hyndman would be hard-pressed to pass on a player with Zusi's quality.

12. Real Salt Lake- Mike Grella, F, Duke 

Would you really be surprised to see Jason Kreis take a fellow goal-scoring machine from Duke? Grella is a proven finisher, something RSL could have used last season.

13. Toronto FC- Kevin Alston, D, Indiana

Johnston scores again by landing the best fullback prospect in the draft. TFC could also go with Canadian striker Toussaint Ricketts, but if TFC lands White, look for Toronto to add to its defensive depth.

14. New York- Michael Stephens, M, UCLA 

The Red Bulls would have much preferred to grab Alston here, but unless Alston slips, look for New York to grab Stevens, a playmaking midfielder who would be a Generation adidas player if he signs with MLS.

15. New England- Chris Pontius, F, UCSB

Having addressed a defensive need with its earlier pick, look for the Revs to grab the best attacker on the board. Look for Pontius to get the nod.

So there you have it, the first crack at an MLS Mock Draft. I can tell you that I doubt highly the first round looks like this because there will definitely be trades and there will definitely be players who don't come out, and some others who come out that weren't originally listed as potential Generation adidas signings.

Consider this mock draft a conversation starter and an early measure of what the talent in this year's draft may look like. We have a month to go before the draft so it's time to really start looking at what is shaping up to be a strong draft class.

Share your thoughts on the mock draft, and on the 2009 MLS Draft, in the comments section below.


  1. I had the opportunity to watch Akron and Zakuani just twice this year in New Mexico’s tournament. I’m not a coach or scout, but…Zaku made few vertical runs, instead depending on his ball skills to try and elude defenders one v one. That might have worked, except that both New Mexico (Akron’s only regular season loss, 1-0) and especially Missouri State (nil-nil with MSU playing purely defensively from start) in the second game of tourney were marking Zak with multitudes of close-on FBs, to take away his individual dynamite. But true — on the vids, he looks less like Donovan or Twellman and more like Messi! Ha,ha,ha. Can anyone tell I’m a Zips fanatic? I’d love to see Steve land in the #1 slot with Sigi having the job of raising him up, and trying to hold him in MLS. Clearly our league needs more super attackers like this Gooner phenom.

  2. What about Ryan Maduro? he was first team all american a couple of years ago and decided to stay in school. I have seen him play a lot and he has what it takes to play in the mls. Has anyone else seen him play and have an opinion on him?

  3. After watching that video I think Seattle would be crazy not to take Zakuani over Tracy. I think Zakuani is better at creating his own shot, but Tracy probably has him beat in the air with his head.

    I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Zakuani went #1 though. He should definitely win the Hermann though.

    I watched the video below too and this kid might impress at the combine. Not a #1 pick, but definitely has a chance to contribute at the professional level.

    This header is pretty sick as well

  4. I am very excited about this years upcoming draft. There is so much better depth compared to last years draft. Marcus Tracy is an absolute beast up top, he is bound to have an impressive combine. My hope is that he’ll stay in the states. There are some good Center Backs in this draft also with Gonzalez And Opara (whom I compare to Bakary Soumare!)

  5. I Agree Frei is a force, but Chivas have Kennedy. Who was in goal when the made thier run to the Play-offs. If wasn’t for the worst red card ever called by a ref -Terry Vaughn. Kennedy would have been thier Keeper for a longer run in the play-offs. Also I’ll bet Frei heads to Europe, based on his heratige

  6. What a tough draw by the English clubs compared to Spanish clubs (except Real Madrid)

    Inter vs. Man U

    Arsenal vs. AS Roma

    Chelsea vs. Juventus

    Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

    Lyon vs. Barcelona

    Club Atletico vs. Porto

    Villarreal vs. Panthaikos

    The other match is:

    Sporting Lisbon vs. Bayern Munich

  7. Ives, the Revs are going to take a player from the ACC. It’s a total given. Just look at their track record of Wake and Duke picks and how well the ACC did this year.

  8. -Has anyone heard about senior defender- Tyler Barry from Cal? He’s supposed to be one of the better underground defenders going in this draft.. Cal has had one of the best back lines led by him the past 4 years.
    -3 other center backs Tyler played with have gone pro and had success: Tyson Wahl to Kansas City and Steve Purdy to 1860 Munch and Troy Roberts to Galaxy. The kid must have some experience under his belt

  9. Is opinion of Peri Marosevic really so bad that he’s not going to be in the first 15? From what I could see he has been doing well for both Michigan and the U-20’s

  10. Agreed, United just re-signed Simms so Cronin isn’t much of a need for them, that is compared to their other many needs.

    De la Garza has surprised me in his improvement since his freshman year and I think he has a chance of a decent pro career, but I’m not sure he can attack as a fullback and probably wouldn’t take him in the top 20. Right after that spot he’s in the mix with a bunch of guys, many of whom almost none of us have seen!

  11. I think Stephens has a big role in MLS as a pure CM or a d-minded mid. Maybe can play on the flanks. I doubt he’ll be a primary playmaker and is probably best suited for other midfield roles anyways.

    Gotsmanov is a good prospect but right now I’m not sure he can go higher than the second round. The combine will be key for him.

  12. White’s injury seems serious enough to make him slip. Tracy is talented but not sure bet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell a few places. Opara and Cronin are immediate impact players. Stephens could be the Myers of 2009 and shoot up to near the top. Grella could push his way up toward the top few spots with a good combine.

    Anyone have a good scouting report on Zakuani and Husidic? Them and Frei are the ones listed I can’t rate yet.

    Rodney Wallace if signed is a guy you could put to use right away and he has upside.

  13. the final draft will be totally different than this. Half the players you have in here will not get drafted until later and some will be going overseas. two players I see going in the first round if they stay in the U.S are Gatsmanov for Creighton and Angus for SLU. I have seen both play and both are very intelligent on the ball which will put them above a number of other players who rely on their athletic ability. I see a number of players who will struggle based on their technical ability and others move way up because they have the technical ability that is needed in the pro game.

  14. I don’t see NY taking Phelps. In fact, if they do I’ll be sick. The draft is no place to find playmakers — MLS level playmakers just don’t exist in college soccer, at least not at this point.

    If NY wants to take a central midfielder, they can pick up Matt Kassel and take someone else with the #14 draft pick. I believe they’ll be looking at the defenders and I’d much rather they take Gale Agbossoumonde at pick #14 if the draft plays out like this.

    I also don’t think O’brian White will go first round given his injury and being a senior. He’ll fall in the draft. Mo may end up with him anyway, but not for a 1st round draft pick.

    Mike Grella, if he’s considering going to Europe, will also fall in the draft like Joe Lapira did. No point using a 1st round pick on a player who may not sign with the league.

  15. Alex, nowhere did Mo say he wasnt going to take white and he’d be foolish not to as he counts as a canadian. Sure hes out for 6 months but that may just mean he drops in the draft and we dont end up using one of our first rounders on him. His injury coupled with his season (so ive been told) has made his stock drop significantly. Id be amazed if Mo ignored him all together.

  16. oh yeah, how did I over look Frei? mea culpa.

    Sack: some of those players are the potential GenAd kids, including two of the top three (Opera and Gonzalez)

  17. FC Dallas Takes the best defenderwith what ever pick theyt can get. They also will be looking for a wide midfielder but supposedly are going in the league or out side to get a forward and midfielder.

  18. Doug: the draft is in St. Louis because it takes place at the annual winter meeting of the National Soccer Coaches Association (of America, natch) which happens to be in St. Louis.

    personally, it’s nice to see the idea at least that the draft is getting deeper, assuming most players sign. I also would like to see DCU move up to go after Gonzalez, I think he could step in pretty quickly, and it would continue to cement ties between the local community (at least in College Park)

    and interestingly? no keepers.

  19. Two top quality centre backs are a more pressing need for Toronto than one DP striker; having said that, there’s no way, given history, that Toronto is expecting to fill its backline problems with draft picks.

    So it seems somewhat doubtful that Mo would be overjoyed at the prospect of signing Ike Opara. It’s unlikely he would come in touted higher than Julius James was, and James wasn’t even in the top four choices for CB by the end of the year.

    If he takes Opara, it will be to trade him or to develop him, not to fill immediate needs. Same with Marcus Tracy and OB white.

  20. Toronto FC(or anyone for that matter) will most likely not be taking Obrian White, The guy just had a MASSIVE KNEE INJURY! Mo Johnston has already said that it was a tough break for the kid and its not looking good for his career at all!!

    Obrian White’s Knee injury is almost career ending….

  21. Jeremy Hall is the best of the Terps in the draft, and DC would be an awesome situation for him where they wouldn’t need to start him so he could ease into MLS. He’d be great off the bench on either the left or right, and be a great starter 2 years down the road.

    That would be hilarious to me if Trader Mo dealt one of the 1st rounders he somehow avoided giving Houston for something of value. Does it make sense though? If it’s a deep draft, it’s a great way to add decent guys on the cheap, which they’ll need if they add a DP on top of DeRo.

    I’m very curious who is expected to go overseas…

  22. Agree with Joe. Quaranta and Simms have filled in nicely in the two positions that Olsen has played. DC needs defenders – particularly central defenders as Namoff and Burch have the sides covered ok…I would say that DC is strongest in the midfield – maybe could use a striker.

  23. Re: your comment that “Dave Kasper and Tom Soehn will jump for joy . . .” — no, they won’t, no matter who they pick, since `jumping for joy’ would suggest some emotional investment in the draft and how it turns out, when in reality Kasper is openly contemptuous of the draft, much to my frustration. Sigh.

  24. So Ives – what are you hearing about Kassel? Is he really going to leave Maryland after only 1 year? If NYRB pass on signing him, who do you think will draft him?

  25. Too bad Houston couldn’t have gotten that #4 pick included in the DeRo deal so we could nab O’Brian White ourselves (assuming he signed with MLS). Then we could’ve dropped Kpene and used his SI spot on White (or do Canadians not count as SIs for American teams?). Would’ve loved to have a stud forward prospect to provide depth for whoever we get to replace Jaqua.

    Oh, well. Our later rounds picks (Ashe and Cameron) seem to do better than most first round picks, so I trust Kinnear and Co.

  26. I think DCU takes the best available defender with either 6 or 7, or deals both to get into the top 3 if Gonzalez signs Gen AD. Their needs in the back are even more pressing than in the midfield. They have a starting midfield in Gallardo, Fred, Quaranta and Simms, with Gurerro able to make it 5 or replace either wing player. They need to stop leaking goals.

  27. I hope MLS can keep Tracy and Zakuani around for a while, just to keep some young attacking talent in the league. It seems like these drafts get deeper every year. As a Revs fan, it seems like they could use a center defender, a big target forward, and an attacking center mid. I’m sure Nicol and Mariner have scouted the ACC and Big East pretty well.

  28. I see Ike Opara having an immediate starting position. He can be the Chance Myers of 09. To be a good defender coming into a league that top to bottom is weak defensively can be a good (or bad) thing.

    I don’t see anyone else having that kind of immediate impact. But who knows? One of these guys could be the next Clint Dempsey (8th overall pick if I’m not mistaken).

  29. Horrible mock draft.

    Marcus Tracy will most likely go overseas. Toronto isn’t going to draft anybody – they’ll trade their picks for players in the league. I have a feeling that Dallas trades up to get Ike Opara (if he comes out).

  30. It’s pretty sweet to see Graham Zusi making it big time. He played here in central florida for lake brantley, a High school we played often in soccer. Same goes with Dax McCarty, who along with the rest of that winter park team, knocked my HS out of the state playoffs in the second round 4-1 on PKs. Shame we didn’t win, but it’s nice to see locals thriving in the american soccer system…


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