Each of the 19 teams made certain decisions on MLS Draft day. I realize I didn’t have the best MLS Mock Draft. I managed to correctly get the Colin Rolfe pick right at #18 overall. Which professional soccer teams reaped the benefits of the 2012 MLS Super Draft?
Philadelphia Union A+ Draft Grade The Union drafted Danny Mwanga with the #1 overall pick back in 2010. Philadelphia was the doormat of the MLS as an expansion team two years ago. Two years later the Union are beginning to make themselves known.
Chandler Hoffman the 3rd best available player, Cfalls to their lap when the Union pick 13th overall out of 19 teams. The Union also added defensive midfielder Greg Jordan and West Virginia outside back Raymond Gaddis in the 2nd round.
Philadelphia has most of the pieces in place. Great center back play will be enough to carry the Union to their first MLS Cup Final because most of the Championship components are there in Philadelphia.
Portland Timbers A Draft Grade Portland got a steal with Connecticut defender Andrew Jean Baptiste at #8 overall. Andrew Jean Baptiste is listed as my 4th best available. Andrew Jean Baptiste is a top 5 talent. Jean Baptiste is more mentally disciplined than Andrew Wenger at this point. Andrew Jean Baptiste also has the size that you look for in a center back.
Besides Jean Baptiste, Portland also got winger Brendan King in round 2. Portland dealt Kenny Cooper to the New York Red Bulls for a 2013 first round pick.
The 2012 MLS Super Draft is only 2 rounds this year with 19 teams and it was 4 rounds 2 years ago with 16 teams. Kenny Cooper scored 8 goals and no assists in 2011. Portland got a 2013 first round pick for Cooper’s services.
Portland had to take this deal. It would be like the Miami Dolphins taking a 2012 first round draft pick for Matt Moore.
Los Angeles Galaxy A- Draft Grade The Los Angeles Galaxy took Indiana center back Tommy Meyer 19th overall. Los Angeles Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez may miss the entire 2012 season. I can completely understand why the Galaxy went out to get a center back. Meyer was my top center back on available even though he was a major reach. Meyer was graded out as the 27th best player.
Defensive midfielder Kenney Walker also provided good value at 38 overall. Los Angeles really addressed some critical defensive needs in the 2012 MLS Super Draft. The Galaxy use the MLS Draft to continue to add youth to their defense. That’s why the Galaxy out draft everyone each year.
Sporting Kansas City A- Draft Grade Sporting Kansas City was able to land Dom Dwyer with the 16th overall pick. Sporting Kansas City lost Omar Bravo and replaced him with Dom Dwyer who ended up scoring 16 goals. Sporting Kansas City used round 2 to add a defensive midfielder to develop.
The reason Sporting Kansas City got an A- instead of an A grade is because they failed to address weaknesses on defense. Sporting Kansas City has a deadly offense along with a dreadful defense to compensate for this.
Toronto FC B+ Draft Grade Toronto FC only had 2 draft picks. Toronto FC took Luis Silva 4th overall. Silva was a midfielder with 17 goals and 10 assists in 2011. Wenger, Mattocks, and Rowe the top 3 players on most MLS draft boards were all gone. Can you really blame Toronto FC for ignoring the best player available to add another attacker at midfield?
Toronto also picked up Notre Dame center back Aaron Maund with the 12th overall selection. Toronto FC can make a playoff push if their team stays healthy. Will it be enough to win a playoff game in 2012? This question to Toronto’s 2012 season remains unanswered.
Chivas USA B+ Draft Grade Chivas USA only had 1 draft selection. Chivas USA had draft needs everywhere. Chivas USA passed on Chandler Hoffman for Maryland forward Casey Townsend.
Townsend can be a complete player like Hoffman. Chandler Hoffman is more of an immediate impact player than Maryland forward Casey Townsend. I see slightly more long term potential with Chandler Hoffman. That’s really why Chivas USA got a B+ draft grade rather than an A for a draft grade.
Columbus Crew B Draft Grade The Columbus Crew had a solid draft. The Crew got Ethan Finlay who scored a hat trick during the 2012 MLS Combine with the #10 overall pick.
Columbus also added Kevan George in the 2nd round. Columbus got George with the #29th overall pick. I had George going 26th overall.
Columbus had a pretty good draft day. Hoffman and Enzo Martinez were both available at Columbus’s pick which is why the Crew ended draft day with a B grade.
FC Dallas B Draft Grade FC Dallas only had one draft selection. FC Dallas decided to select North Carolina center back Matt Hedges. Hedges is 6 foot 4 200 pounds. Hedges is MLS ready. His long term potential is limited.
If FC Dallas believes Hedges is a short term answer that helps them contend now I won’t fault the selection. FC Dallas made a poor decision if they believe Hedges has any long term ability.
DC United B Draft Grade Like FC Dallas, DC United only had one pick. DC United went with Nick DeLeon at #7 overall. DeLeon can play forward, midfield, or defense. DC United had needs at secondary striker, midfield, and left back.
DeLeon provides nice value at #7 overall. I will not lie, I sort of have mixed feelings about this selection.
Real Salt Lake B Draft Grade Real Salt Lake would get an A+ grade if I were solely grading each team by their first round selections. Real Salt Lake landed midfielder Enzo Martinez the 8th best player in the draft with the 17th overall pick.
The problem is Real Salt Lake used their 2 2nd round picks on two complete unknowns. The fact that Real Salt Lake blew a chance to land more steals in the 2nd round is the reason why Real Salt Lake got a B grade.
New England Revolution B Draft Grade New England got two of the nine underclassmen who got offered Generation Adidas deals with both of their only first and second round picks. Kelyn Rowe is a project player that will need 2 years to reach his full potential. Tyler Polak will likely not see the field for at least two years with the depth the Revolution have at left back.
New England may have drafted premium talent. My biggest problem with their selections is that you will not see either player contribute early. New England will need to add a striker in 2013 before Rowe begins to show flashes of his potential.
New England’s defense has improved. How will the Revolution win games if they cannot score goals? That was one of their issues in 2011. The Revolution’s new regime did not address that in 2012 which may lead to another rebuilding season for the Revolution.
New England won an MLS low 5 games out of 34 in 2011 and ended up with the 3rd overall pick because Montreal was an expansion team and Vancouver won a tie breaker.
Seattle Sounders B Draft Grade Seattle took two unknowns. They got great value with their unknowns. Creighton center back Andrew Duran can play anywhere on defense.
Duran can play left back, center back, right back, fullback, or defensive midfielder. Duran can do it all. Andrew Duran may be an unknown. He will be a depth player with a chance to make himself known in Seattle.
In Round 2 Seattle went with Babyele Sodale. Sodale was projected as a late first round pick. Seattle got him in the late second round. There is no excuse for Seattle not to win it all in 2012. The Sounders were my 2011 preseason pick to win the 2011 MLS Cup before Steve Zakunai a 2009 #1 overall pick got injured after 6 games. Then I went with the Los Angeles Galaxy believing they had one more chance.
The Seattle Seahawks or Seattle Mariners are not getting to the postseason anytime soon. Its all up to the Seattle Sounders to give the city of Seattle some optimism for massive fan base in 2012. Anything less than a championship for the Sounders soccer squad is unacceptable. Its all or nothing with Seattle’s pro soccer team.
The Sounders play in Qwest Field the same stadium as the Seahawks. The Sounders need to win a Championship for their city because some Seahawks fans will get tired of attending games if their team does not find a long term answer at quarterback soon.
Drew Carey is a partial owner of the Sounders. Maybe its just me, I think Carey is a much better game show host than Alex Trebek.
Houston Dynamo B Draft Grade The Houston Dynamo took Colin Rolfe 18th overall. That’s who I gave the Dynamo in my final mock. The Rolfe pick makes complete sense with Brian Ching gone. Houston will need another striker for depth and Rolfe can fit the bill.
The Dynamo screwed up their 2nd round pick. Houston picked second to last in the 2nd round. Can you really blame the Dynamo even if they did make a poor selection?
Vancouver Whitecaps C+ Draft Grade The Vancouver Whitecaps got the Andrew Luck of the MLS Super Draft in Akron forward Darren Mattocks. Mattocks lost 7 starter on Akron’s starting lineup and scored 18 goals in back to back seasons after Akron won the National Title during Mattocks freshman season.
Mattocks is clearly the best player available. He does not address a need for Vancouver. That is my biggest problem with the pick.
Camillo led the Whitecaps with 12 goals as the #1 striker. Secondary striker Eric Hassili scored 10 goals. You have not one but 2 goal scoring forwards that can dish out 10 goals. Vancouver also has 2011 #1 overall pick Omar Salgado is a striker for the future who is getting limited time as a reserve player. Mattocks is a pure striker like Salgado. Why is Vancouver continuing to add forwards when they have dire needs to address at midfield and defense?
Its sort of irresponsible to have all these strikers on offense when your team could use upgrades a midfielder, defense, and goalie. Vancouver may have got a future franchise player with Mattocks. Vancouver’s biggest need was adding a center back and a defensive midfielder to keep opposing offenses in check. 2012 will be another rebuilding year for Vancouver.
It did not get better in the second round for Vancouver. Vancouver passed on Tyler Polak to take Indiana left back Chris Estrige. I am really questioning the selection by Vancouver here.
Montreal Impact C Draft Grade Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch was a product of the Bruce Arena as a player. Marsch played on the DC United team that won the leagues first two MLS Cups before going to Chicago to play for Arena’s assistant Bob Bradley. Now the student gets the chance to become the master in Montreal.
Like Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, Marsch has done an outstanding job of putting an expansion team together than can contend right off the back. Marsch appears as if he has learned from his coaches. Nothing is official yet until the 2012 MLS Starts.
Montreal would have been a sure fire playoff contender if they took Mattocks #1 overall. Its going to be interesting to see if Marsch can get the Impact to be a playoff team without Mattocks.
Duke defenseman Andrew Wenger is a good player. Wenger has versatility at forward, midfield, and defense. Andrew Wenger has immense potential possibly more than Mattocks. He needs one year to develop and could be a two year project.
Mattocks was the sure fire safe pick. Back to back seasons of 18 goals. Teams usually take strikers #1 overall. Its kind of odd that Montreal went with Wenger here. I don’t like the selection.
Montreal got Calum Mallace in the 2nd round. Mallace has not really impressed me. Everyone says he should be a first round pick. I feel like Montreal really drafted for the future rather than to contend now because Montreal has some players with the ability to make a huge impact.
Chicago Fire C Draft Grade Chicago really solidified their defensive woes in the MLS Super Draft. Chicago added Louisville center back Austin Berry and Virginia left back Hunter Jumper.
Chicago may have needed one or two more offensive pieces. Chicago solidified their defensive woes which is the main reason why this draft was not a complete disaster.
New York Red Bulls C- Draft Grade The New York Red Bulls had no 2012 first round pick. Then they traded their 2013 to Portland one hour prior to the MLS Super Draft. The New York Red Bulls have a great offense, but need to make some defensive improvements.
No first round pick until 2014 could hurt this team long term. Its a good thing the Red Bulls have a strong academy. Otherwise the situation would look very grim.
Colorado Rapids D Draft Grade The Rapids went with Tony Cascio. Cascio has the versatility to play on offense. Cascio displays great speed.
To the Rapids defense, Colorado has a new head coach one year after winning the 2010 MLS Cup. The team picked 14th out of 19 teams in the first round. Colorado only had 1 first round pick.
There is no question the Rapids drafted irresponsibly. The Colorado Rapids did not have the worst draft though.
San Jose Earthquakes F Draft Grade The San Jose Earthquakes reached for Sam Garza with the 6th overall pick. I believe Garza is the one Generation Adidas player with the greatest chance of busting. Garza does display versatility. He can move on the wing or to midfield despite playing forward. Garza is not a natural goal scorer at striker. San Jose has a natural goal scorer with Chris Wondolowski who had 16 goals in 2011 despite not having an assist man.
San Jose had 2 2nd round picks. San Jose went with Jacob Hudest and Chris Blais in the second round.
Jacob Hudest 6 goals, 5 assists, and 17 points as the Washington Huskies midfielder in 2011. Hudest is not a long term answer for the San Jose Earthquakes at midfielder.
San Jose used their other second round pick on South Florida goalie Chris Blais. UCLA goalie Brian Rowe was convincing me that he was the best goalie after Ryan Meara. It baffles me that Blais goes in the 2nd round and Rowe went undrafted.
San Jose had 3 draft picks. I feel like the Earthquakes failed to address any needs and really drafted irresponsibly given multiple chances to add more talent to their roster.