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2010 MLS Draft: A look back

Zach Schilawski (

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So what will the 2010 MLS Draft be remembered for?

Will it be remembered for the fans from Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. converging on the Philadelphia Convention Center? Or will it be remembered for the plethora of young talents who helped make this draft one of the most promising in recent years? Hopefully for Zach Schilawski (pictured), the draft won't be remembered for him forgetting which team he was drafted by.

The 2010 MLS Draft will definitely be remembered for Philadelphia's truly impressive haul, but it could also be remembered for the number of teams that passed on playmaker Corben Bone (much like the 2009 draft should be remembered for the number of teams that passed on Stefan Frei).

Here is a closer look at the draft, including some thoughts, projections, and great picks and terrible picks:

Let's start with FC Dallas, which made the interesting decision to sell a first-round pick. You can understand FCD not needing two first-round picks considering how young the team's roster already is, but selling a high pick for what sources tell me was a $150,000 allocation seemed like a waste. Let's remember this deal four or five years from now, when Amobi Okugo is moving to Europe for a seven-figure transfer.


No draft pick left observers more perplexed than the Columbus Crew's selection of Notre Dame striker Bright Dike. How low was his stock in the eyes of other teams? Officials for three teams told me they thought Dike would go in the fourth round, if at all. So why did the Crew reach so badly? Columbus can use a holding forward and the Crew liked Dike's strength and ability to hold the ball (they apparently had no issues with the awful finishing that had turned scouts off even before the MLS Combine).


On to the good picks. Here is our Top Five 2010 draftees most likely to move to Europe on a big transfer in the coming years:

1. Tony Tchani

2. Amobi Okugo

3. Ike Opara

4. Danny Mwanga

5. Teal Bunbury


Wondering which picks were the best and worst of each round? Here is a rundown of the picks that left me impressed and surprised:


Best Pick– Corben Bone, Chicago Fire. Top five talent slides to the Fire, who can use his creativity.

Worst Pick– Bright Dike, Columbus Crew. The Crew reach badly for a player who, at best, was projected as a third-rounder.

Sleeper pick– Collen Warner, Real Salt Lake. Could wind up being the best value as Warner will challenge for the starting right wing job.


Best Pick– Toni Stahl, Philadelphia Union. A first-round talent, Stahl could wind up being first Union draft pick to become regular starter.

Worst Pick– Steven Beitashour, San Jose Earthquakes. A 30th pick is already pretty late, but there was little reason to believe San Jose couldn't have landed Beitashour later in the draft.

Sleeper Pick– Zac Boggs, South Florida. Has bounced around at three schools but his story is an impressive one and he could just be Steve Nicol's latest draft gem.


Best Pick– Chris Schuler, Real Salt Lake. A big centerback who moves well, Schuler could wind up playing more than expected if the rumors linking Jamison Olave to River Plate are true (and yes, we know, they're probably not).

Worst Pick– Kevin Tangney, Chivas USA. Made a great recovery from multiple knee surgeries to play his last season at Maryland, but looked very slow at the Combine and will struggle to make this team.

Sleeper Pick– Andrew Hoxie, San Jose. Combine standout is a good passer and moves well for his size. Could he wind up being what the Earthquakes were hoping Cam Weaver would be?


Best Pick– Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire. Johnson is a project, but has more upside than the rest of the players left in the fourth round. He'll be an MLS starter in three years with the right coaching.

Sleeper Pick– Irving Garcia, New York Red Bulls. Super skillful and dangerously quick, Garcia will be fun to watch if he can handle the physicality of MLS.


So what did we think of the RSL-LA trade that sent Clint Mathis to the Galaxy? It was a classy gesture by Real Salt Lake to let Mathis head to LA to close out his career where it began. In the process, RSL was able to land the player in the draft best equipped to challenge for a starting right midfield roll in Collen Warner. The Galaxy added UCLA midfielder Michael Stephens to Mathis for a nice upgrade in midfield.


And the New England-New York trade for Chris Albright? The Red Bulls had more draft picks than they needed (seven) and was able to unload two of them for a player in Albright who could wind up being very helpful at right back if he can get healthy.


Some other bests and worsts:

Worst Speech mistake: Zach Schilawski thanking the Columbus Crew for drafting him, before realizing it was the New England Revolution that actually took him.

Worst-planned trip: D.C. United sent a bus full of fans to Philadelphia for the draft, but traded away the one pick the club had in the first three rounds (No. 7 overall) before the draft. Trip wasn't a complete waste. D.C. fans got the chance to heckle Philly and Red Bulls fans.

Best Speech: Trying to think of one that stood out, but nobody could deliver a speech like Richard Jata did last year.

Best attempt to win over new fans: Red Bulls draft pick Tony Tchani doing the Jersey Fist Pump as happy Red Bulls fans looked on.

Best attempt to attract a player back to a team: Houston drafting Euan Holden, brother of free agent midfielder Stuart Holden, who looks destined to leave the Dynamo for England. Could Houston lure Holden back with the temptation of being able to play on the same team as his younger brother? It was worth a fourth-round pick for Houston to find out.

Worst use of a draft pick timeout: The Crew were picking at No. 12 and called a timeout, leading many to believe they were ready to trade the pick to a team coveting Corben Bone. Rather than deal the pick or take Bone, Columbus took Bright Dike.


What did you think of the 2010 MLS Draft? Happy with your team's picks? Surprised to see certain players slide? Who did you see having the best and worst drafts?

Share your thoughts on these observations, as well as your own, in the comments section below.


  1. What percentages do you think the youth academy hit at ?

    Plus what percent of the best 60 players said don’t draft me, because I am going to Europe ?

    IF, big IF, MLS actually gets support, those would be included.

  2. I thought Houston drafted Holden so casual fans wouldn’t think that the other Holden left for Europe.

    It seemed for a while the plan might backfire, with Stuart staying, as they would have two Holdens, exposing their scheme.

  3. I think that Euro-bound picks stink for a handful to 1/2 of the teams.

    What is Seattle going to do with more money?

    The league max in salary is so low for a team like Seattle and they are making so much, it doesn’t improve anything but the owners pocketbooks.

  4. Out of the 60 players drafted (4 rounds X 15 teams), I would be willing to bet that after the first three MLS seasons we will never hear from 80% of these kids again.

    That leaves 12 players from hundreds of colleges across the nation.

    Not a whole lot to celebrate.

    This is where youth/reserve teams come into play. I can’t believe that the MLS doesn’t have the money to get academies in every city. If they don’t, perhaps they should team up with European Teams in some type of sharing arrangement.

    This whole draft thing is getting pretty old, pretty fast.

  5. Compared to Ohio State’s Greg Oden (now in the NBA with Portland) Mwanga looks like Oden’s son. Note Oden is 20 or 21 compared to Mwanga 18.

  6. Well I do think it’s interesting, it’s one of the reasons why I read Ives daily. It just doesn’t sit well with me to read bloggers and reporters handing out grades and who got the best pick and worse when the teams haven’t even started preseason yet. A nice look back at some point of the season would be a great piece and I hope I get to see that from Ives.

    (SBI-Handing out grades after drafts is something that happens in all sports and something done by all forms of media. The grades are based on how the graders believe the picks will pan out. Not sure why it doesn’t “sit well” with you. Not sure what your issue is with it, but to suggest that it shouldn’t even been done seems like a bit of a stretch.)

  7. no mention, for better or worse, of the wolverines’ own mauro fuzetti. he’s been around for a while and scored a few goals, so i can’t believe nobody wants to even say that he was a useless pick.

  8. The coaches and GMs had something in mind when they made their decisions, so the correct time to truly judge the picks is 5 or 10 years down the road.

    However, its not that fun to wait that long.

    Thats why you read Ives to hear his take now and add your two-cents. You are free to post an updated list after the preseason, and after the season. That doesnt mean that it isnt fun to talk about it now.

    If you dont think its interesting, dont post.

  9. The Columbus pick of Dike is hugely disappointing. Not only did we pass on Bone, but we allow him to go to the Fire. We need a playmaker far more than a holding forward. GBS has only got one more year left in him. Lenhart and Renteria will take care of the spot vacated by Moreno’s departure, but we have done nothing to prepare for the loss of Scheletto.

  10. Ives, I don’t get this love for Bone. If he was touted as a top 5 pick, don’t you think he would have went. And certainly with the Revs at #9 and their notorious record for picking WF players. Perhaps the coaches don’t rate him as high as the “pundits” do.

    Plus I think all these “best, worst, and sleeper” picks are too soon to call, after all the preseason hasn’t even started. A fair evaluation should come at the end of the season.

    (SBI-The Revs needed forward help more than midfield help so they took the Wake forward. As for your “coaches don’t rate him as high as pundits” comment, it can be said that most of the teams that passed on him did so to fill other needs. The only team that took a similar player to Bone was Columbus in Dilly Duka. We’ll find out just how smart a move that was.

    Also, a player sliding doesn’t mean a thing with relation to whether they were properly rated. Stefan Frei was widely-regarded as a Top Three talent. Guess what pick he was? No. 13. Frei was a top rookie of the year candidate and is a safe bet to be the first member of the Class of 2009 to leave for Europe on a big transfer.

    Am I as sold on Bone as I was on Frei last year? I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think Bone should have gone ahead of a handful of the players ultimately taken.

    As for the best, worst and sleeper picks, the point of making them now is to see how close they are to accurate by season’s end. If predictive picks aren’t your thing, then feel free not to read them.)

  11. Kevin Tangney to CUSA is about as bad as it gets. We really need center backs here in LA. We passed on Nick Cardenas in later rounds thinking that Kevin is better.
    I’m not sure about this pick at all.

    CUSA is in full re-building mode.

  12. Chicago had a great draft this year. Frank Klopas has been on top of his game this off season. I bet we are better this year than last year. And we were the best team in the league last year. With the way the reports are we lose Segares and get Krol. Lose Rolfe and get Martinez from El Salvador. Lose Blanco and get Bone. Get Tim Ward back from injury. Resign Pappa, McBride, Brown. And the best thing that happened to us this off season is losing Denis “The Menace” Hamlett!!!

  13. On paper, at least, this year’s draft class (along with last year’s) appear to be the best classes in recent years. I took a quick glance at some of the prominent names projected for next year’ draft, and I just don’t think next year’s class will be as strong. Stay tuned…

  14. “Houston drafting Euan Holden, brother of free agent midfielder Stuart Holden, who looks destined to leave the Dynamo for England. Could Houston lure Holden back with the temptation of being able to play on the same team as his younger brother?”

    Probably not.
    Euan is trialing at Vejle, in Denmark, right now and looks promising.

  15. DC United continue their shopping in the offseason with acquiring 31 year old Australian striker Danny Allsopp. They have a striker to slide next to Pontius now! DC is going to be quite good next season.

  16. Here’s a theory: Euro-bound picks aren’t “the best” picks.

    A good MLS roster usually has a few stars — DPs and discoveries heavily contribute — and a relatively deep bench. The draft seems like a good place to find solid players who will contribute for years, but not a place to go gold-mining.

    As soon as you strike gold with a young player, he’ll look to leave.


  17. haha, the best part of this post is the analysis on Steven Beitashour. Ives got a nastygram in the mls draft q&a for not mentioning Steven Beitashour, so in ‘mls draft a look back’ Ives calls Steven Beitashour the worst pick of the second round. classic.

    (SBI-Hey, not saying the guy can’t play, but when you use a second-round pick on somebody who wasn’t on anybody’s radar that is the definition of wasted value. Of course, the kid could become a star, and I’ll hear about how I ripped the pick, which is fine. I’m all for motivating people.)

  18. Ives – good call on the second round sleeper. was a little surprised my hometown boy zac boggs didnt get much mention pre-draft, but then according to the local paper he was a bit surprised to be taken himself (didnt attend draft). i dont know the makeup of the Rev’s roster but having seen him play i have no doubt boggs could be a starter in MLS in very short order.

  19. Look also at Mwanga — How great a pick is it, if he’s using Philly to skip the “reserve team” years when he moves to Europe? If they don’t have him any more in or 5 years, maybe we could argue they wasted the 1st pick in the draft…

    (SBI- If Philly gets three productive goal-scoring years from Mwanga, and a seven-figure transfer on top of that, I don’t think anybody from the Union will call it a wasted first pick if he leaves after three or four seasons.)

  20. About players going to Europe — Ives makes a decent point about getting big bucks for selling the players, but there’s another way to look at it. Money doesn’t win games; players do. My guess as to why Dallas dealt the pick for what seems like a small allocation sum is that Dallas has an immediate need for the money. My guess is that they need the money to land Lee NGUYEN. So, let’s see that Okugo goes to Europe in 4 to 5 years…. Maybe the measure of that trade is whether FC Dallas has a productive Lee Nguyen on their team, while Philly gets only a percentage of the money MLS gets for transferring Okugo’s contract. Who says that deal wouldn’t work out for Dallas, then?

  21. 3 out 5 of the players from Ives list are foreign born. US soccer needs to step it up to produce top quality home grown players. People are already talking about cap tying Mwanga and Tchani. This is just ridiculous.

  22. Ives, you may already know this, but Clint Mathis’ wife is from the Los Angeles area (Orange County actually), so that may have had something to do with his trade… just a thought.

  23. Wow I can’t believe he forgot who drafted him. Yeah its an exciting moment and he was probably in a daze but come on kid. You have a scarf around your neck for reference.

    (SBI-When he realized his mistake he checked the scarf. To be fair, Columbus picked just before he went, so perhaps he still had that on the brain.)


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