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2012 MLS Mock Draft With 1st 2011 College Soccer Regular Season Update

The opening games are over and were starting to see some underclassmen that could emerge as potential Generation Adidas Players.  Anyone who is not a senior could end up being a Generation Adidas player at season’s end in December.  What will be difficult is determining how many of these players live up to the hype by seasons end.

Even if some of these underclassmen return your getting a glimpse of potential 2013 prospects.

After 3 games this year I will post an MLS Draft update.  Those games are the Louisville VS North Carolina which aired Sunday.  The second game occurs on September 30th when California travels to UCLA.  The final game that I will keep an eye on is an October 18th game between the Akron Zips and the Michigan Wolverines college soccer teams.

#1 Louisville lost to #2 North Carolina Sunday making North Carolina the new #1 team.

My original top 5 preseason rankings had Louisville at #1, UCLA at #2, North Carolina at #3, Akron at #4, and Maryland rounding out the top 5.

After the Louisville UCLA season opener I moved everyone up a spot and moved California into my top 5.  #5 California lost to Connecticut who I ranked 6th so this is what my new top 5 looks like.  I’m not bumping last years National Champion Akron down until they lose a game.  Ties don’t count as losses in my opinion.

1. North Carolina 3-0-0

2. Akron 2-0-1

3. Maryland 3-0-0

4. Connecticut 3-0-0

5. Creighton 3-0-0

Louisville has dropped to #7 with a 3-0-0 UC Santa Barbara now ranked 6th in the country.  UCLA has dropped out of the top 25 all together despite returning all 11 starters this year.  This UCLA team got the hype of a contender and the Bruins have not lived up to the hype so far.

1. Montreal Impact Darren Mattocks Forward Akron Sophomore Teams usually draft strikers #1 overall with their expansion franchises.  The Seattle Sounders took Steve Zakuani #1 overall in 2009.  The Philadelphia Union took Danny Mwanga #1 overall in 2010.  In 2011 the Vancouver Whitecaps took Omar Salgado #1 overall.  Ironically the other expansion team who joined the MLS in 2011 the Portland Timbers also took a striker at the forward spot with their first pick by taking Darlington Nagbe #2 overall.

Mattocks scored 18 goals as a freshman which means he should be a Generation Adidas player this season if he makes Generation Adidas in 2012.  I still believe Austin Berry is the best player in the 2012 MLS Super Draft draft.  I just get the feeling that Mattocks may go #1 overall due to the tendency of expansion teams drafting strikers at the forward position with the #1 overall pick.

Mattocks is playing on an Akron team that came off a National Title and lost 7 starters to the 2011 MLS Draft with 5 of those 7 starters going in the top 8 of the 2011 MLS Super Draft.  3 of those 5 starters were projected to go in the top 3 overall and ended up going in picks 2-4 overall.

Mattocks had 18 goals as a freshman and is a complete prospect that you can build your MLS team around.  Akron’s soccer coach loves the leadership that Mattocks displays.

Mattocks has 3 goals, 1 assist, and 7 points so far for Akron this season.  There is no reason why Mattocks should not go #1 overall.  Expansion teams usually take Strikers with the #1 overall and Mattocks is starting to solidify himself as the clear cut prospect in this draft class.

Unless Michigan’s defense stops Mattocks on October 18th I will probably keep Mattocks at this spot.  The fact that Soony Sadd left Michigan to go to the MLS kind of sours the excitement of this game to a certain degree because Saad and Mattocks were the 2 best freshman strikers in 2010.

Soony Sadd a Michigan forward would have been the top pick if he returned for his sophomore year, but the freshman is doing wonders in the MLS putting Sporting Kansas City on the Map.

Mattocks is now the clear cut #1 pick in this draft class thanks to Sadd leaving Michigan.

2. Vancouver Whitecaps Austin Berry Defender Louisville Senior The Louisville Cardinals were the #1 team in the country in 2010 before Akron defeated them to win the National Title.  Louisville was also the #1 team in preseason polls before their loss to North Carolina that caused them to fall down to #7 overall.  Lousiville returned 9 starters including 2 top 5 picks with Berry and Rolfe.  Louisville lost to North Carolina and now the draft stock for a few Tar Heels is going to rise big time because these strikers stepped up against the best defender in college soccer.

The Whitecaps offense is starting to build some chemistry with the team understanding their concept as a team.  Vancouver’s forwards and midfielders are clicking so now the primary needs for Vancouver are defense and finding a long term goalie in the later rounds.  Maybe the Whitecaps should get Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.

All kidding aside with Vancouver, the Whitecaps defense needs a complete makeover because handing your opponent free scoring chances by committing turnovers and playing sloppy defense as a team is simply unacceptable.  Its practically a recipe for defeat.

Berry is one of the best center backs in the country.  I have him ranked as my top defenseman and 3rd overall on my current MLS Draft board for best players available.

Austin Berry  should be able to plug himself into Vancouver’s center back role allowing Vancouver’s defense to commit fewer errors and perform better as a team moving forward.

Best Case Scenario for the Vancouver Whitecaps Austin Berry makes Vancouver’s defense a top 5 defense in the league.

Worst Case Scenario for the Vancouver Whitecaps Austin Berry flops as a center back and makes the transition to the left wing back with Bilal Duckett being the teams right wing back.  If Berry plays the left wing back role then teams will have to shoot from inside because the shooting area from the outside will be contained very well.

Berry is a safe pick for Vancouver. The Whitecaps have to do something to reduce the number of scoring chances that their opponents are getting thanks to Vancouver’s defensive performance.

3. New England Revolution Mamadou Diof Forward Connecticut Sophomore Mamadou Diof has to be the coolest name for a soccer player ever.  Diof has scored 4 goals in 3 games so far as a sophomore.

Diof should be a Generation Adidas player at Season’s end.  there is always a guy who gets no respect in MLS Mock Drafts then that player goes on to have a big year.  This year that player is Mamadou Diof.

Diof’s performance against the California Golden Bears has propelled the Connecticut Huskies into the top 5 of College Soccer polls.  Diof’s performance may even propel him into the top 5 of MLS Drafts.  After Mattocks I think Diof has to be the best player available at this point.

Sometimes society needs competition Diof is to Mattocks as Jet Li is to Chuck Norris.  I could think of more pop culture analogies, but I want to post the next pick.

4. Toronto FC Colin Rolfe Forward Louisville Senior Back in March I predicted that Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto would all pick in the top 3 of the 2012 MLS Super Draft in that order.  Its ironic because there are 18 teams in the league and a sixth of those teams play in Canada.  I also predicted that the Seattle Sounders would defeat Real Salt Lake to win the 2011 MLS Cup.

My two favorite teams the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City seem to be the two hottest teams in the league right now in terms of winning streaks.  When I lived in Kansas as an MLS fan I rooted for the Wizards and the Galaxy because I enjoyed watching Cobi Jones play soccer.

Toronto has a goalie and the midfielders in place to contend for a playoff spot.  This team is tied for fewest goals scored and has allowed more goals than any team in the league.  That means that Toronto FC needs to upgrade their strikers at forward and their backs at defense.

Colin Rolfe is a player who was in the discussion to go #1 overall at one point.  I have him at the best player available after Mattocks, Diof, and Austin Berry.  Rolfe provides good value for a top 5 pick at #4 overall.

Toronto FC has 2 top 10 picks with one coming from the New York Red Bulls after having 0 first round picks in 2011.  Toronto should get Rolfe with this pick and get a defenseman with the #10 overall pick.

5. San Jose Earthquakes Enzo Martinez Midfielder North Carolina Enzo Martinez scored 10 goals as a sophomore for North Carolina last season.  Martinez exposed some defensive flaws in Austin Berry’s game during the #1 Louisville VS #2 North Carolina contest in Chapel Hill on Sunday.

Martinez scored a goal against Louisville and is starting to showcase his potential as a complete midfielder.  Martinez has been passing the soccer ball to teammates more often this season and he has stayed consistent in terms of attacking the net.

Martinez has evolved from being a borderline first round pick going 17th overall in my original mock draft to being a borderline top 5 pick.  Want a second opinion that confirms my beliefs on the potential of Enzo Martinez?  Go talk to UNC’s soccer head coach I bet he or she would give you the same answer about Martinez that I gave you during one of their press conferences.

6. Chicago Fire Matt Lampson Goalie Ohio State Junior Redshirt So far this season Chicago’s goalie has only tallied 50 saves so far this season.  An MLS season starts in mid to late March and ends in Mid to late October?  Having 50 saves entering September is simply unacceptable in terms of standards for a goalie.

Lampson can record 10 to 12 saves a game.  Lampson is the kind of goalie who can record 50 saves within a 5 game span rather than a 5 month span.

Lampson had a 0.72 GAA along with an .852 save percentage while recording 10 shutouts for The Ohio State University in 2010.

Drafting Matt Lampson would give the Chicago Fire a franchise goalie for the first time since Zach Thornton left the Chicago Fire.  Thornton may be a shadow of his former self now, but he was a beast for the Chicago Fire when he played for the Fire.

The last time a goalie failed to make Generation Adidas was 2006.  Lampson has the best chance among current goalies to make Generation Adidas at this point.

7. Chivas USA Billy Schuler Forward North Carolina Junior Redshirt Schuler has scored 4 goals and no assists so far this season.  Schuler may be a product of Enzo Martinez, but something tells me Schuler’s name will get called early because he was a part of that North Carolina offense that picked apart Louisville defender Austin Berry.

I have another Tar Heel going 11th and he has the same last name as a Simpsons Character.  Before you proceed with reading the mock draft ask yourself what Simpsons character I am using a pop culture reference on.

8. DC United Ryan Finley Forward Notre Dame Junior Finley scored 17 goals as a sophomore at Duke before transferring to Notre Dame this season.  Had Finley stayed Duke would probably be in the ACC Conversation with North Carolina and Maryland for top ACC team.

Finley provides amazing value at #8 overall so DC United drafts the best available player.  I doubt that Ryan Finley fails to make Generation Adidas since he scored 17 goals last season.

Its still kind of early in the season so until someone gets 10 goals you really cannot put them in the Generation Adidas Conversation for this season.

9. Portland Timbers Sebastian Ibeagha Defender Duke Sophomore  Sebastian Ibeagha played for the Houston Dynamo Academy.  John Spencer was an assistant coach for a Houston Dynamo team that won back to back MLS Cups.  Spencer used year one as the Timbers head coach to focus on boosting the play of the forwards considering the fact that Spencer is a former forward as a pro soccer player.

In year 2 Portland will shift their focus to defense.  Like Andrew Wenger Ibeagha can be used as a center back or a defensive midfielder.  Finding two way defenders who can contain the strikers or the midfielder is key.  Ibeagha missed 4 games due to injuries, but has the talent and skill set to be the Portland Timbers defensive anchor at center back.  John Spencer got a glimpse of Sebastian Ibeagha at a Houston Dynamo soccer Academy so he has better insight on him than any other team in the league.

If one team passes on Andrew Wenger for Sebastian Ibeagha it will be the Portland Timbers.

If the Houston Dynamo and  Dynamo Academy owns Ibeagha’s rights making Sebastian a future Dynamo prospect then I will change this pick to Wenger.  Until then Ibeagha stays in my 2012 MLS Super Draft.

Sebastian Ibeagha is the younger brother of Duke center back Christian Ibeagha.  I don’t know if Christian will get a medical redshirt because he only played 5 games before getting injured in 2010.  If Christian does get that medical redshirt than this Duke Blue Devils defense will be very scary to face if both Ibeagha brothers and Andrew Wenger are healthy.

I have no doubt that Sebastian Ibeagha will be a Generation Adidas player in 2012 as long as he can declare for the draft.  The only way Ibeagha doesn’t get a Generation Adidas spot is if Dynamo Academy maintains his rights in 2012 or if Ibeagha performs poorly.

10. Toronto FC from New York Red Bulls Andrew Wenger Defender Duke Junior This would be a huge steal if Toronto FC got Rolfe and Wenger.  Rolfe, Austin Berry, and Andrew Wenger were all projected to be 2011 Hermann Trophy Finalists this preseason.  Rolfe was a finalist in 2010 as Berry and Wenger were both semifinalists for the award.

11. Philadelphia Union Kelyn Rowe Midfielder UCLA Sophomore Rowe is an effective attacking midfielder.  Rowe could be a huge asset to the Union offense.  Rowe can be a forward, a center forward, or an attacking midfielder

12. Houston Dynamo Rob “Reverend” Lovejoy Forward North Carolina Junior Redshirt If you guessed Reverend Lovejoy as The Simpson’s character I was making a pop culture reference to earlier in this draft then your right.  Lovejoy is such a complete forward on the field with his field vision, goal scoring ability, and the playmaking skills like passing the soccer ball to succeed in the MLS.  Sometimes I actually wonder if Rob Lovejoy is paying homage to Simpsons character Reverend Lovejoy by performing goal scoring miracles of his own on the soccer field.

Lovejoy has really managed to make plays happen this season.  He has recorded 8 points in 3 games.

People may get offended by the fact that I am nicknaming  Rob Lovejoy after The Simpsons character Reverend Ben Lovejoy.  The reality is The Simpsons is the longest running show on the air.  This season will be The Simpsons 23rd season on the air.  Its kind of offensive not to pay homage to The Simpsons when given the chance because its been on the air so long.  The quality of the show may not be what it was 10 years ago, but your clearly doing something right if you make it 22 seasons on the air without getting cancelled.

Even if you hate The Simpsons you have to respect their show because they have made it so long.  When you were a kid 10 years ago someone like your parents would say that the Simpsons is not a real TV show its just a stupid cartoon stating how Seinfeld is the greatest show ever.  That’s a really ignorant statement in my mind even though Seinfeld is the better show in my eyes.

Okay I am done with this Simpsons rant.  Lets move on to the 12th pick.

13. Sporting Kansas City Aaron Maund Defender Notre Dame Senior Maund is a center back who could provide a defensive presence for Sporting Kansas City.  The offensive pieces for this team are already in place.

14. Columbus Crew Dillon Powers Defender Notre Dame Senior Powers is a defensive midfielder.  The Crew could add a defensive midfielder.

15. Colorado Rapids Casey Townsend Forward Maryland Senior Townsend would have been a Generation Adidas player last year had he declared.  Townsend is a top 5 talent, but he falls because there are so many underclassmen emerging in this draft.

16. Real Salt Lake Ben Speas Forward North Carolina Junior Speas can play forward and midfield.  He played for Akron last year before transferring to North Carolina this season.  Speas has potential to be a Generation Adidas player after being considered a early 2nd round prospect earlier this season.

17. FC Dallas Tony Cascio Midfielder Connecticut Senior Cascio is the goal scorer on Connecticut’s #4 overall ranked team.

18. Seattle Sounders Carlos Alvarez Forward Connecticut Senior Alvarez is the assist man for Connecticut’s college soccer team passing the ball to Cascio even though Alvarez plays forward while Cascio plays midfield.

19. Los Angeles Galaxy Ethan Finley Forward Creighton Senior Creighton is ranked in the top 5 and its pretty much due to Ethan Finley.  There were a ton of players that I could have put on the LA Galaxy with this final pick in round 1 rather than Finley, but I felt like Finley stood out the most among those players which is why he gets the 19th pick.