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MLS Combine Day Two sees prospects improve



The second day of the MLS Combine is complete, and as expected, there were much better performances from a team and individual standpoint.

The weather conditions improved in Ft. Lauderdale and so did the level of play, with some of Day One's top performers continuing to impress.

Midfielder Tony Tchani continued to deliver the goods, as did defender Ike Opara, who only played the second half of Condivo's 2-1 victory over Predator X. F50i forward Teal Bunbury and Jabulani midfielder Drew Yates also enjoyed strong second day showings.

One player who did well during Monday's matches after being quiet on Day One was midfielder Austin da Luz. The Wake Forest product delivered some deadly crosses and also had a pair of precise long passes. Along with his sharp passes from distance, da Luz also showed off an ability to take his opponents 1-v-1. He credited his performance, as well as the day's overall play, to the better understanding the players had with one another.

"Everyone settled down a bit and found a rhythm, and that made the game better," said da Luz.

While da Luz had a good day, his teammate, midfielder Corben Bone, did not play as well as he would have hoped. Bone felt that the day's overall play improved, but that he did himself no favors by trying too hard.

"I think I got a little away from myself. I started to play too tricky, and for the third game I will probably go back to the basics," said Bone. "Pass and move is the best thing you can do here, and not do any of the tricky sutff I tried today. That kind of got me in a rut."

Other players who struggled on Monday were Jack McInerney, Kevin Tangney and Andrew Wiedeman.

As for other lesser-touted players that impressed, Eric Alexander looked good as did Dilly Duka, who was among Monday's best. Duka bounced back from a slow first day by terrorizing U-17 USMNT defender Zac Herold, and wreaking havoc against Jabulani's back four. Duka also demonstrated some bite to his game, a surprising trait considering his size.

Duka and the rest of the prospects have one final shot to leave lasting impressions on MLS coaches on Tuesday, before finding out their fates in Thursday's MLS Draft.


What do you think of some of these Day 2 performances? Happy to hear Duka impressed? Think Bone will see his stock plummet? How do you rate da Luz?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It is this exact idea/focus on size, strength, speed, etc … that keeps US Soccer down.

    People please stop talking about physical attributes! Holy crap!

    If this were actually the critical elements of a baller, then Iniesta, Xavi, Messi et al wouldn’t make the cut!

    WAKE UP!

  2. Thanks for the updates…interesting to read how things are playing out. But, and in this may seem nitpicky, please stop cutting and pasting “Dilly Duka has surprising bite for his size.” Considering I’ve read this 9x in the past few months I’m not surprised.

    Keep the fresh updates coming.

  3. Hey are you really John O’Brien incognito? If not, what are your qualifications to make such judgments? Why should anyone believe a word you say?

    You sound like someone who just got back from knocking a case of beer down at the Rathskeller.

    You might want to think about sleeping it off and going to classes tomorrow.

  4. Matt, I think that the gen addidas players are naturally overvalued.

    I don’t mean the Zakuani’s of the world aren’t good players. I mean they are overvalued because the Sounders and other richer teams are not going to take a non Gen Ad player….they don’t count against salary cap.

  5. Do they not test players speed, acceleration, strength, jumping, etc ?

    IF so, MLS should be promoting the heck out of it.

    People want to hear their future superstars are fast, they eat it up.

    IF not, what the heck are the teams thinking ? This is 2010, not 1880.

  6. Not sure how much can be built from the combine. Soccer is a team-driven sport. MLS needs to come up with A: a longer combine, or B: completely different way for scouts to look at their draft class. It seems that players aren’t getting what they deserve from the combine by only having 3 days to impress.

  7. Very simple. There are only a handful of players that have true quality.
    * Mwanga is the best. Technical Quality & Soccer IQ is superb. If MLS does not ruin him, he has world class potential.
    * Austin da Luz is the best creative midfielder of the lot (BY FAR)!
    * Bunbury is good, has a quality touch and good decision making, but not ridiculous like Mwanga.
    * Tchani is decent, but has showings of the American way of going forward too much.
    * Okugo has developed quite nicely as a D-mid. Talks his ass off! Reads the game better than most, good at tracking and tackling then playing the simple ball. He’s already good enough to start, and is a tremendous investment for the future.
    * Nakazawa is on the bubble.

    Everyone else is either mediocre or quite frankly junk!

    And the worst thing of all:
    Ike Opara is the most overrated player ever! Yes, big-strong-fast, but as far as actual soccer goes…
    He has horrific technique and a sub-par soccer IQ.

  8. I know the two Gauchos are having difficulty getting going. Martin actually has a stomach flu and is playing sluggish. Walker is more of a release and run forward like Rooney, and his team is playing very East Coast soccer with a lot of knocking the ball around the midfield and having the forwards check back with their backs to goal. The combine coaches can really screw the future of some of these players if they don’t play to their strengths. Hoping tomorrow the Gauchos can perform b/c they definitely are talents that deserve their shot in the MLS.

  9. yeah, where is the wonderlic?

    in the history of the mls draft how many generation adidas kids have slipped to round 2?

    since interest of mls teams/gen adidas offers clearly go hand in hand, as evidenced by the projected #1 being offered a sweet deal at the behest of the union. does a team basically have to guarantee adidas that they will take a given player in rd 1 if he were signed to a gen adidas deal?

  10. Any idea of why NFL type drills are not included in MLS? While it is a bit of a side show, it definitely helps cement physical talent, and as a bonus, gives coach potatoes more to talk about…

  11. I wouldnt be so harsh on Herold, and I certainly wouldnt call the decision to sign him to a gen adidas deal a ‘flyer’.

    I had the chance to see the u17s up close against stronger opposition before the team departed for the world championships and he was easily the most impressive defender in the squad. you look at his body, and while he is still a bit wiry, you can tell there is room to grow, he also moves very elegantly along the backline, both in possesion and in defence. I think he will be successful in the long run.

  12. MLS could do a better job selling in-depth coverage of the Combine to the diehard fans. SBI is doing a great job with the coverage btw.

  13. apologies if this should be obvious…..but besides playing 11v11 games during the combine, do the players take part in other drills or even a 7v7 session? i hadn’t been a follower of the combine but this group has me interested given the talent-level this year.

  14. I’m also really interested in where Austin da Luz goes. He’s got such natural composure and creativity on the ball. The kind of technical ability and technical awareness that this kid possesses almost reminds me of, and this might just be a stretching it, of Claudio Reyna or John O’Brien.

  15. As a Union Fan my pick is basically settled but I can hope that they do not draft Herold. I understand the kid is young but no part of his game during the U17s made me think he could make the leap to the MLS and I am still shocked they gave him a Gen. Adidas deal. Duran and Polak both stood out much more in my eyes and I still don’t think either of them deserved to be offered a gen. deal- without the reserve league the MLS is no place to develop 17 yr olds who arn’t ready for the next level, therefore, it made sense to go after Jozy and Bradley in the past and now McInerry and Gill but not a flyer on Herold. I hope I eat my words but I think 1 or 2 years in college would have served him well.

  16. Ives, great coverage of the combine – a big thank you for that.
    Andrew Wiedeman, seems to have had a rough trip so far, what do you attribute this to? His position in the “pre-draft” puts him somewhere within DC United’s picking range…its a little worrying that he is not doing better.

  17. Too bad that McInerney didn’t play well. I kind of feel like McInerney should go to either Chicago. At Chicago, they’ve developed good players since their first season, and he has the tutoring of Brian McBride, who can help McInerney learn the tactical and technical aspects of being a target forward and add that to McInerney’s skills. Plus, they could use a young player to replace Chris Rolfe.


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