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2009 MLS SuperDraft (Live commentary)


By Dylan Butler

Welcome to the Soccer By Ives live commentary for the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. The SBI brain trust is set up inside the ballroom and the there's a lot of discussions going on at the team tables, a lot of BlackBerry checking, surely some last-minute dealing going on.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome. We're about 40 minutes away from the first pick being selected. Will Seattle keep the pick or trade it away? We'll let you know when anything comes up.

1:26 p.m. — With a little more than a half hour to go before the first pick is selected, this is a good time to remind everyone about the procedural rules for the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.

There will be a total of four rounds and 60 seletions. Teams will be permitted four minutes to make selections in the first two rounds and three minutes in the final two rounds. Each team is allowed one five-minute timeout. There is a five-minute break between each round.

The Seattle Sounders FC earned the first pick as the latest MLS expansion team. The next six selections are from teams that did not qualify for the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs beginning with the team with the fewest points in the 2008 regular season. The remaining eight positions are ranked by fewest regular season points among the teams that were eliminated in the same round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

As of right now, here is the draft order.

1. Seattle

2. Toronto

3. Los Angeles

4. Toronto

5. FC Dallas

6. D.C. United

7. D.C. United

8. Kansas City

9. Chivas USA

10. New England

11. New York

12. Real Salt Lake

13. Toronto

14. FC Dallas

15. New England

1:45 p.m. — Hey Simon, thanks for checking in. No word on any trades of yet, but judging from past drafts, there is usually a late flurry of activity just before the first pick is selected. There are some conversations going on right now, including one between Steve Nicol and Mo Johnston. Perhaps they are just talking about old times or the happenings around the EPL, perhaps it's more than that.

Steve Zakuani is still projected to go first despite having a lackluster Combine. But then again, he signed his check so perhaps the motivation to impress wasn't there.

1:51 p.m. — We have our first supporters' club chants via the hometown fans who cleverly chanted "All we want is a team of our own" to the tune of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine.

1:55 p.m. — Don Garber is on the podium with some introductory. The St. Louis fans with some "We want a team!" chants to the commish.

2:01 p.m. — The Seattle Sounders are on the clock.

2:04 p.m. — One minute left on the clock. Chris Henderson has already handed in a piece of paper. Is it their pick? A trade? We're seconds away from finding out.

2:05 p.m. — Time is up, Garber to the podium and Seattle's first pick is indeed Steve Zakuani from Akron and Generation adidas.

2:06 p.m. — Zakuani thanked Jesus Christ, Akron and family and friends for adive and encouragement, as well as the Seattle Sounders. Brief comments from the soft-spoken Zakuani. Toronto is now on the clock for the first of three first-round selections.

2:09 p.m. — Well that was anticlimatic wasn't it? Toronto selects Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin. Galaxy are on the clock.

2:21pm — LA takes Omar Gonzalez, who is just the type of big central defender the Galaxy needs.

2:21pm — Toronto FC takes O'Brien White with the No. 4 pick. WOW, pretty gutsy.

2:25 p.m. — FC Dallas takes Peri Marosevic, a Gen Adidas forward from Michigan.

2:30 p.m. — Rodney Wallace goes to D.C. United, probably higher than a lot of people expected

2:31 p.m. — To answer an earlier question about the draft pick in the Dema Kovalenko deal, it's a conditional 2011 selection.

2:32 p.m. — D.C. is back on the clock and they select…five-minute timeout.

2:37 p.m. — D.C. picks UCSB forward Chris Pontius. And Kansas City is on the clock.

2:39 p.m. — I've got to say, the first 30 minutes of the draft has been unusually quiet on the trade front. Maybe its the economy, LOL. Nothing like the energy of the 2006 draft when the then-MetroStars made noise by trading up to get the No. 1 pick.

2:50 p.m. — Sorry for the delay, some wireless problems there. Matt Besler, a Notre Dame defender, goes to Kansas City, midfielder Michael Lahoud to Chivas (a bit surprise it's not Frei, they do need a goalkeeper, no?) and Kevin Alston, who I think is the top outside back available, going to New England.

2:52 p.m. — Red Bulls are on the clock and I wouldn't be surprised if it's Jeremy Hall from Maryland. It would be a huge pick for New York. I don't think they thought he'd fall this low.

2:54 p.m. — Indeed it is Hall, who could probably vie for a start for New York. Osorio was a big fan of Hall, who was the highest rated left winger in the draft. Van den who?

3:12pm- Apologies for the delay, doing some interviews. RSL took Jean Alexandre (reach), TFC grabbed Stefan Frei (great pick) and FC Dallas took George John (very solid pick).

3:24 p.m. — Had an interview with Hall. He was seated right next to Osorio on the flight here so they were able to already get a good conversation going. No word on if Osorio's wife works for Continental Airlines.

University of Tampa midfielder Ryan Maxwell was the final pick of the first round, going to the Revs. Wake Forest defender Evan Brown goes to Seattle to open the second round. Indiana's Brad Ring is picked up by San Jose and the Red Bulls are on the clock. 

3:35 p.m. — After a five-minute timeout, which was of course booed by the fans here, Red Bulls take Santa Clara defender Babajide Ogunmade. Also we have a trade — finally — but blockbuster it is not. The two Los Angeles squads made a deal with the Galaxy trading a player to be named later, the fifth pick of the third round and the fourth selection of the fourth round to Chivas for the fourth pick of the second round. Therefore the Galaxy are the clock.

3:44 p.m. — Galaxy take Maryland defender AJ Delagarza. Another trade. The Fire give up a player to be named later and the 13th pick of the second round to Colorado for an allocation and the fifth pick of the second round. So the Fire are on the clock.

3:57 p.m. — Just got back from availibility with Garber in the back, here's a quick update of where we are. Baggio Husidic, a midfielder from Illinois-Chicago to Chicago and Kansas City takes Doug DeMartin, a forward from Michigan State, and Maryland midfielder Graham Zusi.

The Revs are on the clock.

4:01 p.m. — Revs take Creighton midfielder Andrei Gotsmanov with the 24th pick.

4:05 p.m. — Revs select St. Louis University midfielder Denaldin Hamzagic. A golf clap from the fans in attendance.

If your first question is who? You're not the only one, but remember the Revs have a history of some great sleeper picks in the draft.

A few quick notes on Garber's quick presser. He had a lot of nice things to say about St. Louis (of course), said there are some concerns about the stadium situation at Florida International University (turf field), Becks is absolutely coming back (his words) and he believes the same about Landon.

4:09 p.m. — Wake Forest defender Lyle Adams goes to D.C. United, a great grab this low.

4:11 p.m. — FC Dallas selects North Carolina forward Ryan Shriver. Rapids are on the clock with No. 28. Might we see a goalkeeper here? Or perhaps UNLV midfielder Danny Cruz.

4:16 p.m. — George Mason forward Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe is selected by the Rapids. Red Bulls are on the clock with their last selection.

4:19 p.m. — Notre Dame defender Jack Traynor is picked by the Red Bulls.

4:27 p.m. — My bad, Red Bulls have one more selection in the fourth round. Paul Gerstenberer is the final pick of the second round, the Boston College defender going to the MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew.

4:36 p.m. — Jared Karkas from soccer powerhouse Asuza Pacific is the opening pick of the third round and he goes to the Seattle Sounders. I suppose he's a sleeper because Karkas is not on any player lift we've been handed.

4:38 p.m. — San Jose selects UC Davis forward Quincy Amarikwa. Galaxy are on the clock.

4:43 p.m. — Galaxy select Josh Boateng, a midfielder from Liberty and TFC just took a flyer on Duke forward Mike Grella. He's got European aspirations, but if those don't pan out, this is a fantastic selection. But for sure it's a gamble.

4:46 p.m. — Denver forward Kyle Christensen is picked by Chivas USA with the 35th overall pick.

4:50 p.m. — St. Louis midfielder Brandon Barklage is selected by D.C. United. Rapids are up at No. 37.

4:53 p.m. — Well the Rapids get their goalkeeper and its Albany's Steward Ceus. The Revs are up.

4:56 p.m. — New England takes Chris Salvagionne, a forward from UNC Charlotte and Toronto picks up Syracuse forward Kyle Hall. I've got to say I'm liking Mo Johnston's selections today.

5:03 p.m. — Revs get a great pick with Duke defender Darrius Barnes and Daniel Cruz from UNLV and Gen adidas heads to Houston.

5:05 p.m. — Neal Kitson from St. John's goes to Kansas City. He had a great College Cup and a not so great Combine. I've seen a lot of him and I think he could be a good call here.

5:08 p.m. — David Sias, a defender from UC Irvine, goes to Chicago. Red Bulls are up at 44.

5:11 p.m. — Red Bulls take James Madison right-sided midfielder Kyle Zimmerman. 


  1. With both LA and Toronto wanting Cronin as first pick Seattle should have gotten something from Toronto and still could have taken Zak with 2nd pick. Looks like MO Johnson bluffed them out.

  2. what happened to Calum Angus!??!! i hope the red bulls can just sign him outright now. He was very good when i saw him play this year (IU vs SLU in playoffs)

  3. Marshall apparently shocked everyone at the combine with how epically bad he was. Word is his athleticism let him cover up his shortcomings in college, but he was completely exposed for not being able to avoid mistakes at the combine – everything from poor positioning to tripping over the ball.

  4. Dare I say that Mo and TFC did OK today?

    White was a suprise at 4 but we did need to get him. Perhaps Mo had a sniff that he was going to be snagged by someone else and he did not want to take the chance tht he was going to go elsewhere.

    Frei is Gen Adidas and that makes Edwards redundant and tradeable. On top of that the money paid to Edwards can now be redistributed.

    Cronin is either a prospect we can groom to replace Robbo or someone that can be packaged up and traded elsewhere.

    Don’t know squat about Hall or Grella…crap shoots in the lower rounds I suppose. At least Hall is a Canuck!

    I am just suprised I guess that there were no trades. We got some good parts today and have a bit more flexibility I guess to do some deals later on but the gaping hole at centre back still exists. DeRo is still unsigned. There is no DP on the horizon and there looks like to be some more significant flux in out team’s roster before the season starts…In fact you might argue that once again TFC’s roster at the mid point of the upcoming season may be dramatically different that it is now.

    I think Mo needs to realize that the flux and upheaval that comes as a result of his management style can have a very significantly negative impact on results in and of itself. Get a good quality centre back and getting the rest of the roster settled before training camp starts in a couple of weeks and we might live up to our collective expectations for season 3. Don’t do it and god knows.

  5. I can’t believe that a team like DC or LA didn’t take Darrius Barnes. They need good athletic defenders and the guy fits the bill to the letter.

  6. Why would the Sounders take Karkas from APU? They probably could have gotten him as an undrafted free agent. If he’s not on anybody’s list, then who else would take him? I’m scratching my head on that one.

  7. For RB, the Hall pick seems very good. Ogunbiyi could be a useful player, though we’ll have to wait and see. The Traynor pick seems questionable. Buzz Carrick had him rated as the 21st defender on the board, while he had Hertel 5th. Hm…

  8. You’re speaking far too generally, Marc. If you’re talented, you’ll get noticed. Take Jorge Flores, Felix Garcia, or even Tristan Bowen. These are guys who never went to college and are now either playing on MLS rosters at teenagers or like Garcia, part of the US20 pool as a USL player.

  9. “the American players that don’t go to college simply get lost, no matter how talented.”

    You mean like Adu, Bradley, Howard, and Altidore? I’m sure there are more. I honestly can’t refute anything else you said, merely because I am ignorant of this entire situation. But it seems clear that if you are talented, you will get noticed.

  10. Eric, here’s the thing – until/unless US Soccer comes to grips with the fact that the dynamics of international soccer are not the same as that for other sports, nothing will change. What needs to happen is for US Soccer along with MLS to say out loud and without equivocation that making it to the Pros and onto the MNT is probably not going to happen through the college ranks. 

    It won’t happen, mostly because US Soccer makes money from USYSA, which is at its heart a feeder system for college, a way for kids to perhaps get a college scholarship one day. thus, USSF has a tacit interest in making sure that USYSA continues on its current path.

    We have to break the paradigm. part of it would be for MLS to stop the draft system in favor of each club scouting for talent. this has the additional benefit of increased exposure for local players. why? because it’s so much cheaper for every club to simply have their scouts drive around to the soccer fields around each and every soccer field. 

    Each club must have its zone of exclusivity, within which no other MLS club is allowed to poach talent. it can be refined by age, and by circumstance. but the talent level would increase.

    That’s because a) the best players don’t necessarily go to college, in no small part because the scholarships are not what they are cracked up to be, leaving many players unable to accept less than full rides, and 2) because scholarships are going to European and LatAm players, ironically, as coaches look to win their respective leagues. This latter is particularly ironic because each foreigner signed is one less American spot, but worse, that spot goes to a player that is not worth playing in his own professional league – otherwise he wouldn’t go into the NCAA.

    Never mind that the college system doesn’t develop players – the American players that don’t go to college simply get lost, no matter how talented. But they do typically wind up playing in the USASA, the adult leagues. 

    Close the circle.

  11. No one in the draft got swagga like Clint. But I’ll say George John, for the hell of it. It’s not like I’ve known of most of these guys for any more than a couple weeks.


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