The 2012 MLS Draft is ten weeks away, and while we still have eight teams alive in the MLS playoffs, those teams that saw their seasons ended already have changed their focus squarely to the draft.
It is still a bit early to know for sure exactly which players will be available, which underclassmen will secure Generation adidas deals, and what kind of foreign talent MLS will squeeze into the draft. As we saw with Toronto FC and Joao Plata, there is a chance some non-college talent could be found in the draft capable of making an impact.
For now, what we can do is project the talent expected to be available in the draft, and consider the possibilities in the top half of the draft. In case you missed it, here is my first MLS Draft Big Board for Fox Soccer, detailing the Top 25 MLS Draft prospects as of now.
So what might the first half of the 2012 MLS Draft look like? Here is how I can see the Top Ten picks playing out in January:
2012 MLS MOCK DRAFT (First Ten Picks)
1. MONTREAL IMPACT
Andrew Wenger, Midfielder/Defender, Duke
Best player in the draft, can play in midfield and central defense. He's physically ready for the next level and can play almost anywhere on the field.
2. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
Kelyn Rowe, Midfielder, UCLA
Yes, Whitecaps already have Davide Chiumiento, but Rowe is best creative midfielder in the draft and an outstanding long-term prospect.
3. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Darren Mattocks, Forward, Akron
Best striker in the draft, Mattocks is the type of impact striker the Revs are desperate for.
4. TORONTO FC
Brian Span, Midfielder, Virginia
Could be the best long-term prospect in the draft, the impressive winger boasts freakish athleticism and is drawing comparisons to a young Brek Shea.
5. CHIVAS USA
Billy Schuler, Forward, North Carolina
The Goats need forwards, particularly if Juan Pablo Angel doesn't return, and Schuler is the best available player.
6. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Robbie Derschang, Midfielder, SMU
With Bobby Convey on the way out, San Jose needs some left wing help and Derschang is the best left wing prospect in the draft.
7. D.C. UNITED
Enzo Martinez, Midfielder, North Carolina
If D.C. decides to keep Dwayne DeRosario as a second forward, and finds room for a playmaker, Martinez is a perfect candidate for that role.
8. PORTLAND TIMBERS
Eric Schoenle, Defender, West Virginia
It's no secret the Timbers need some defensive help, and while they could be tempted to grab North Carolina centerback Matthew Hedges, John Spencer might find it tough to pass on a quality defensive prospect like Schoenle, who would be a Generation adidas player.
9. CHICAGO FIRE
Casey Townsend, Forward, Maryland
The Fire could use a natural right back (which would let Jalil Anibaba play his natural centerback position) but without a right back worth taking this early, Chicago grabs a promising forward in Townsend.
10. COLUMBUS CREW
Luis Silva, Midfielder, UCSB
The Crew need creativity in midfield and Silva is just the kind of player who can step in right away and contribute as a two-way midfielder.
What do you think of these projections? Who would you like to see your team select in the 2012 MLS Draft?
Share your thoughts below.
Rowe I think will be just like Bone and Ampai – will fall due to the unsureness of taking a playmaker thats young
I see Rowe dropping just like Ampai and Bone – picking up a playmaker in the draft is always risky
I would like to see more young players from other countries in this mix. Players like Plata and Cardozo have shown they can come in and make an impact.
Can you put out a list of players coming into MLS this year that are potential pick ups through each team’s homegrown system?
The young Sounder DeAndre Yedlin has been doing great at Akron, any chance he will leave early for a professional career?
I can’t imagine DC going after a college AM. Between Boskovic and DeRo, DC already has two seasoned pros capable of pulling the strings in midfield.
What DC really needs is an outside back that can play defense and provide offense. Tyler Polak is the best choice if he comes out. The other option would be a CM like Dillon Powers. Either way, I think DC gets aggressive with the draft and tries to pick up a few potential impact players in the first round.
I know that Silva spent 2 years playing for Chivas USA U-19 after spending a few years playing with Pateadores. I’m not sure if playing for a team makes you a homegrown or not.
Yes, Benny is that player for the Revs. IMO, their needs fall in this order: 1) CB 2) LB 3) winger 4) forward. I’m not saying Caraglio/Lekic is a dream pairing up top but the back line has to be the biggest concern. Overall their lack of depth is a huge problem as well, so they are in a position to draft the best player available, regardless of position.
Ives and SBI thank you for the insight. Can I just ask for a little bit of more info or favor. Can you put what their nationalities are? Their age and any experience in the U-23, U-20 or U-17 systems? Thanks!
In all fairness, if he has figured out how to make himself 30 years younger, increasing his athleticism should be a snap.
I knew a Brian Span once — roomed with him at school, 30 years ago. Not freakishly athletic.
I’d love to believe the front office is doing serious scouting work in Central and South America. They’re performance the last 2 years suggests to me that they are way behind the rest of the league now in this respect.
This is one of the two biggest factors in the team’s ongoing decline, along with the mess that followed Perkins’ move to Norway (trading Boswell, then trading the first-rounder and Fred to get Perkins back, and then dealing a high second-rounder to get Fred back, not to mention desperately trying to fill Boswell’s slot — hard to overstate how all that impacted the team).
Depends on whether you believe in Boscovic. However, he’s signed thru July, so it’s likely the team will look at other needs.
My thinking — if he gets a Gen Ad deal — is Tyler Polak. Could be DCU’s left back for a decade or more. It might be a reach at #6, but it’s the most pressing need. Of course, since he’s not likely to start right away, that still leaves a problem at the position for 2012.
If they’re looking at central midfielders, my hunch is Silva gets the nod over Martinez (unless Kevin below is correct about Silva being a Chivas Homegrown player).
Would have thought Dillion Powers would have made the top 10. Had the pleasure of watching him a few times this year. Came away very impressed. A future USMNT player in my eyes.
If NY goes out in this round of the playoffs, their 1st round pick will be #12 — which will then belong to Toronto.
I thought Luis Silva was designated with homegrown status by Chivas USA. Has there been a change in his status that I am not aware of?
Toronto has the 10th pick from the NY Red Bulls. TFC got the pick in the Dero trade.
John Stertzer from Maryland? Not for top ten, but top 25.
Ives, are you hearing of any GA interest in Memphis’ Mark Sherrod, a redshirt sophomore who currently leads the NCAA in goal-scoring with 19 through 16 games?
He’s a big kid in the Will Bruin mold.
I think the front office is in South America looking for anyone named Gonzalo
C’mon Tony, the Quakes did a much better job of playing the ball on the deck this season, especially through the wings. That became even more the case once Lenhart took leave.
Isn’t Feilhaber (sp?) that guy for the Revs. I would think they’d need either a forward or someone to fill Shalrie’s role if indeed he isn’t coming back
C’mon Tony, the Quakes did a much better job of playing the ball through the midfield, especially out on the wings this season. That became even more true once Lenhart took leave.
Agreed. However, most of the best forwards will be gone before it is our turn, and I think the FO is going to have to look outside the draft. Our team is already very young and inexperienced, our academy pretty sound.
As a Revs fan, I’d rather see us look at Kelyn Rowe if Vancouver passes on him. I’m not convinced we have answers up top, but a creative midfielder might help gel the mids and forwards a bit more.
Why would the Quakes draft a mid? So he can watch long balls lofted over his head by the defenders?
DC needs forwards and outside defenders more than a creative midfielder
Unless the pick is incredible, DC wants another central box to box player so De Ro can move up front. If Bosko stays, even more complex.
Dude is 4 days short of 2 yrs younger than Shea
how young is a young brek shea? brek is only 21!