In 2012 the Montreal Impact will be the 19th team to join the MLS. The 2012 MLS Draft is still more than a month away. One frontrunner is beginning to emerge in Montreal that player is Akron’s striker forward Darren Mattocks.
As a freshman Darren Mattocks scored 18 goals on an Akron Zips squad that won the 2010 College Cup. That Akron Zips team featured tons of talent on it.
Secondary Striker/Attacking midfielder Darlington Nagbe, defensive midfielder Perry Ktchen, center back Zarek Valentine, center back Kofi Sarkodie, and left wing forward/midfielder Michael Nanchoff were 5 of the 18 first round picks in 2011. Two of those five players Nagbe and Kitchen were in the discussion with Omar Salgado to be the #1 overall pick. Three of those players Nagbe, Kitchen, and Valentine went in the top 4 overall.
All five of the Akron players I mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph went in the first 8 overall picks of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. That’s pretty historic folks. There has never been an NFL Draft where 5 of the first 8 players selected were all from the same school.
Akron also lost outside back Chris Korb who had the versatility to play right back and left back. Playmaker midfielder Anthony Ampaiptakwong was another critical loss for Akron.
Two other reserve players Ben Speas a reserve forward for Akron and reserve forward McKauly Tulloch transferred because neither player was contempt with the minutes they were receiving.
After North Carolina defeated Louisville, I told myself Montreal is taking a striker #1 overall due to the trend of expansion teams adding strikers. I start watching Darren Mattocks highlights on youtube and I am hooked folks.
I got another chance to watch Mattocks in the NCAA Tournament VS Northwestern before Akron managed to knock off #6 seed SMU. I was very impressed with the way Mattocks performed against the Northwestern Wildcats attacking the net creating scoring chances at will. Darren Mattocks would follow the Northwestern game up with a 2 goal performance against SMU.
Akron made the round of 16 in the 2011 College Cup before losing to the Charlotte 49ers who have been the Virginia Commonwealth of College Soccer. Charlotte comes in unranked, then they beat one of the top 16 seeds, Akron, and then the top seed in their bracket Connecticut to make the final 4 for the 2011 College Cup.
Immediately after the highlights I wrote a scouting report of Mattocks and I simply stated that this is going to be the most unanimous #1 pick since Freddy Adu back in 2004.
Put yourself in Darren Mattocks shoes for a second. You lose all that talent as the teams main striker and the only returning key players are Scott Caldwell and your starting goalie.
There were huge fans of Darren Mattocks who generated a very strong impression about Mattocks being a leader in 2011. There were also some skeptical critics who said things like Mattocks won’t do as well with all of his lost talent, there are some maturity issues,blah blah blah.
Mattocks used that negative feedback as motivation to boost his game in 2011 and really did an amazing job carrying the Akron Zips on his shoulders with a very limited supporting cast exceeding his total of 18 goals as a freshman from last season to 21 goals in 2011.
Most people have Duke defenseman Andrew Wenger as the consensus #1 overall prospect on their MLS draft board. I will tell you first hand that both Akron forward Darren Mattocks and Duke defenseman Andrew Wenger have immense potential to become signature superstars in the MLS.
Andrew Wenger may have immense potential. That does not change the fact that he is more of a project player at this point hoping to max out his upside down the road.
Darren Mattocks is a sure fire game changer because he lost an immense amount of talent in 2011 and continued to perform at a high level silencing critics as he showed signs of leadership. While lots of pundits say that Wenger is the consensus top prospect I strongly disagree with that assessment. Mattocks is a franchise player who can change the fortunes of an MLS team.
Based on what I’ve seen from both Mattocks and Wenger I strongly believe that Mattocks is the clear cut superior prospect. As much I love watching Duke as a fan I don’t even think the gap between Mattocks being the better prospect than Andrew Wenger is worth debating. Darren is clearly the better player in my mind and that’s not changing.
Andrew Wenger announced last week that he is forgoing his senior year at Duke to sign a Generation Adidas contract. I hope everyone at Akron enjoyed the honor of watching Mattocks because Darren is going pro folks.
Thanks to a credible website source that posted a video reporting Darren Mattocks draft status, I have credible proof that Akron forward Darren Mattocks will go pro for the 2012 MLS Super Draft.
In the video Darren Mattocks states that he believes he has a very strong chance to be the #1 overall pick. I buy that because of how he has performed for Akron this season.
While most pundits continue to label Duke defender Andrew Wenger the top prospect multiple people from within the Montreal Impact front office who would rather have Akron’s Darren Mattocks with the first pick in January’s 2012 MLS Super Draft.
This adds up to what I have been saying about Montreal selecting a striker #1 overall all along. Montreal had a center back, 2 midfielders, and a potential goalie along with some holes to fill heading into the 2012 MLS Expansion Draft.
You go back a few weeks ago to after the MLS Cup and Montreal had 2 midfielders, center back Nelson Rivas, and a goalie from their current roster.
Montreal took 10 players in the 2012 MLS Expansion Draft. The Impact’s first 5 picks look like potential players.
Montreal took striker forward Brian Ching who wants to get traded. The Impact added a second center back with Zarek Valentine. Montreal added 2 more potential starting midfielders with Justin Mapp and Jeb Brovsky. Finally Montreal took Bobby Burling hoping to make him a right back on their defense.
After the Expansion Draft, Montreal managed to make a big move for goalie Donovan Ricketts who was a goalie for my favorite team the Los Angeles Galaxy. Montreal used the offseason wisely to add depth at goalie, defense, and midfield. The Impact can contend sooner rather than later if they find a way to draft the right strikers at forward in this draft. Montreal’s expansion draft is better than any of the expansion drafts I’ve seen expansion teams make over the past 5 years.
Montreal added a surplus of midfielders and defenseman which leads me to believe they will run a 2-4-4 scheme. The 2-4-4 uses two forwards, four midfielders, and four defenseman.
Af forward you have the striker and the secondary striker as the two primary scoring targets. The four midfielders consist of the left wing, the attacking midfielder, the defensive midfielder, and the right wing. On defense you have the left back, 2 center backs, and the right back who plays behind the right wing. The 11th man is the keeper at goalie.
Its not a matter of whether Mattocks is the #1 pick its a matter of whether he plays for Montreal in the MLS folks. Mattocks impact at Akron is getting noticed on a global scale rather than getting viewed from a pure MLS standpoint. Teams overseas are beginning to take notice of Darren Mattocks.
As many as 5 English Premiere League teams want to bring Darren in for tryouts. International soccer teams in Brazil, Spain, and Germany are even making attempts to bring Darren Mattocks in for team tryouts. When a player like Darren Mattocks decides to enter the MLS Draft and he is getting this kind of publicity you have to take him #1 overall if you have the first pick.
Only one player managed to outscore Darren Mattocks in 2011. That player was Ashton Bennett who tallied 23 goals in 2011. There is talk that Bennett could be treated as a designated player who would be a separated from the other Generation Adidas prospects.
I’m not buying this hype about Bennett yet. If this designated player hot stove talk is true Montreal could draft Darren Mattocks and sign Ashton Bennett thus obtaining the top 2 goal scorers in college soccer. Bennett and Mattocks combined for 44 goals in 2011 as both players were the only players in College Soccer to eclipse the 20 goal mark. Its an accomplishment if you just get to 10 goals. Getting to 2o goals that is a milestone.
Imagine how disgustingly amazing Montreal’s offense would be if they added not one, but two 20 goal scorers. Its simply unfair, its like putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line in the NHL.
Whether Ashton Bennett ends up joining Darren Mattocks as a future MLS teammate remains to be seen. One thing that is beginning to look certain is the odds of the Montreal Impact selecting Akron superstar forward Darren Mattocks with the top pick.
If Mattocks goes #1 then Wenger should go second to Vancouver. If Montreal takes Wenger then Darren Mattocks could slide out of the top 2 potentially falling to the New England Revolution with the 3rd overall pick.