The 2015 MLS SuperDraft is now history and as is almost always the case some of the selections went as expected and there were a few surprises. Ben Roth was on hand in Philadelphia representing College Soccer News and provides his analysis of what took place.
Orlando City SC
To the surprise of nobody, Orlando City picks Canadian national team forward, Cyle Larin. The Generation Adidas striker has the size, speed, and raw skill to make it in MLS, but needs to develop and Orlando is the perfect place to do so. The strong number of Orlando faithful at the Superdraft were delighted with the pick as they should be. A future star in the making
New York City FC
With the expansion’s side first ever pick, they grab Khiry Shelton, an explosive forward from Oregon St. Although a bit of a surprise at #2, scouts have said that when healthy Shelton is a top 2 talent in this draft. The former U.S. youth international joins an already talented NYCFC front line with David Villa and Patrick Mullins to form a scary attacking lineup. If he can stay healthy, I take Shelton as the frontrunner to win the MLS Rookie of the Year Award.
The Impact go with the best forward available, Williams, a powerful and athletic forward out of UCF. Williams may need to improve his tactical awareness and finishing a bit, but he’s a good fit for a struggling Montreal side. If given opportunities to play, the Generation Adidas pick could be an impact player in year one.
San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose grabs one of the most MLS ready prospects in the draft pool, Fatai Alashe. The hard working and tough defensive midfielder should earn minutes in a solid Quakes’ midfield. Alashe might not have as high of a ceiling as some other guys, but he’s arguably one of the most polished players.
As College Soccer News predicted, the Timbers pick Besler, another defensive midfielder with a high work rate. Besler is a true #6 who doesn’t get involved in the attack too much and likes to sit in front of the back 4. Besler appears to be a perfect fit for Caleb Porter’s system.
Toronto go with the top goalkeeper in the draft, Alex Bono, a recent U.S. national team call-up. Bono will likely sit on the bench and/or play in USL Pro during his rookie campaign, but still has unbelievable potential. Some see the 6’3” netminder as an even better prospect than last year’s number one pick, Andre Blake. A very good pick from a team that is strong in most areas of the field, coming into 2015.
The first major surprise of the draft goes with pick #7, a versatile midfielder who has also played in the back-line. Polster from SIUE, a mid-major school, endured an impressive combine but this pick seems very early for him. With that said, the Fire have gaps nearly everywhere on their team, so they go with a player who can fill multiple needs.
The second big surprise of the first round goes to Zach Steinberger, a strong and simple midfielder from Butler. Steinberger has been projected in the second round so this appears a bit early, but he definitely improved his draft stock with a solid combine.
Toronto choose a complete unknown player in Simonin, a defender out of NC State. Toronto FC address a need at defense, but I can honestly say not one reporter has heard of him. Hopefully Greg Vanney and his staff did their research and Simonin becomes the Akindele of 2015.
Vermes goes with the best pure winger in the draft with Hallisey, a left sided player who endured a solid combine. If Hallisey can retain the form he finished his college campaign in, he’ll find minutes in this already talented Sporting KC frontline.
Toronto FC goes with a very safe pick, but a smart one with Skylar Thomas. The 6’3” center back is athletic and an overall solid presence in the back. He may not have a high ceiling, but you know what you’re getting from the former Syracuse star.
Sporting KC select Abdul-Salaam, a very risky pick in the mind of many scouts. The former Akron right back at 6’3” sometimes looks a bit awkward on the flank, but he’s done an adequate job in his Zips career. Although, every chance Abdul-Salaam gets he goes forward, something coach Vermes loves.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Coach Robinson gets who he called “the best available player” in Parker, an athletic center back out of St. John’s. The combine standout can help sure up a shaky Whitecaps back line and look to earn significant minutes in his rookie campaign.
The Rapids select who is now believed to be the tallest field player in MLS, with Axel Sjoberg, a towering center back from Marquette. Sjoberg improved his stock with a solid combine, showing he can move better than his size indicates. Expect Sjoberg to work his into some games this year.
Pareja, the coach of the last two MLS rookies of the year, grabs arguably the top outside back in the draft, Otis Earle. Son of announcer Robbie Earle, Otis is an athletic outside back with attributes of a winger. He has the ability to slot into the FC Dallas lineup from the onset.
Seattle Sounders FC
With one of the most surprising drop offs in recent MLS Superdraft history, Seattle steals a pre-draft sure fire top 2 pick in Cristian Roldan. The creative center midfielder was expected to be a top 2 pick, so the Sounders are thrilled to grab the local college standout. Expect Roldan to play for S2 before working his way up to the first team.
D.C. United, a team fairly solid everywhere grab Aguilar an under the radar forward who boosted his draft stock with a very good combine. Aguilar will need to have a very good preseason to earn minutes for one of the top teams in the East.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls snag the Hermann Trophy Winner with the 18th pick in the draft, an impressive feat. Stolz, a creative German midfielder listed the Metros as one of the teams he would play for, thereby making this pick a steal. The former Bruins playmaker may be the most MLS ready midfielder in this draft class.
The Crew select an absolute beast of a defender in Campbell. The former Huskies center back wins most headers and tackles he encounters, but there’s questions about his ability with the ball at his feet. Coach Berhalter is capable of molding Campbell into a very good MLS play
Dia, an under-the-radar midfielder endured a very successful career with the Tigers, competing against some of the nation’s top teams and holding his own. Sporting KC could use some depth at defensive mid and Dia provides this.
Bruce Arena picks one of the combine’s best players in Ignacio Maganto. The Iona midfielder displayed his electric skills and quickness at the combine to help raise his stock prior to the draft. Maganto will likely play for Los Dos (Galaxy USL team), but is talented enough to find his way to the first team.
Real Salt Lake
Seattle Sounders FC
Cal St. Northridge
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC