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College Soccer News Final MLS Mock SuperDraft - By Ben Roth

The college soccer season has concluded, the top MLS prospects have competed in the combine, and the Generation Adidas players have been announced; the only thing left is the grand finale, the MLS Superdraft.  The first two rounds of the draft take place in Philadelphia on Thursday, January 16, 2014 with DC United on the clock first.  Much can change still as trades will happen, but without further ado, the College Soccer News Final MLS Mock SuperDraft.

  1. DC United: Steve Birnbaum (California): The #1 pick is currently a battle between two Golden Bear center backs (Birnbaum and Dean), but with Dean’s poor combine Birnbaum takes the top pick.  Birnbaum (10g, 1a) is the most MLS ready player in the draft for a team that needs immediate help.  The University of California captain is poised for a long career in MLS if he can stay healthy.
  1. Philadelphia Union: Christian Dean* (California):  The first GA player taken off the board, Dean, (1g, 4a) an athletic center back is a physical specimen.  Despite struggling at left back at the combine, the raw talent of the of the 6’3” is too big to pass up.  Expect Dean to be a bit of a project, but his potential makes him a tough one for Philadelphia to let go.
  1. Vancouver Whitecaps: Andre Blake* (UCONN): Widely regarded as the best overall player in the pool, Blake is a future star in the league.  The Huskies goalkeeper has all the intangibles to vie for the #1 spot during his rookie campaign.  Many see the Jamaican as the best goalkeeper prospect out of college since Brad Friedel.  The 6’4” athletic net-minder won’t drop out of the top 5.
  1. New England Revolution: Patrick Mullins (Maryland): The Revs traded with the Crew for this #4 spot and are expected to grab the two-time Hermann Trophy winner.  Mullins (19g, 8a), a dynamic goalscorer, can play up top or as a winger for Jay Heaps’ side.  The hard working and humble Terps’ captain performed well at the combine and is a day one impact player for New England.
  1. FC Dallas: Schillo Tshuma* (Maryland):  There were questions regarding the GA players’ readiness, entering the combine, but he erased those questions notching two goals in Fort Lauderdale and performing well overall.  The athletic forward had a slow sophomore campaign, but has the talent that has scouts in awe.  The Zimbabwean forward, Tshuma (6g, 1a) has possibly the greatest potential out of anyone in the draft and is a great pickup for an FC Dallas side who loves speed on the flanks.
  1. Philadelphia Union: Steve Neumann (Georgetown): The Hoyas playmaker is familiar with the Union program and is a sensible pickup for coach Hackworth’s side.  Neumann (10g, 6a) is versatile enough to play anywhere in the attack.  If the Union pass on Neumann, he may fall to the end of the first round.  Although, there is talk of the Union trading down due to their quantity of draft picks and in that case they might be able to get Neumann later.
  1. Vancouver Whitecaps: Eric Miller* (Creighton): The Bluejays defender is the best outside back in the draft and fills the Whitecaps glaring need at right back.  Miller, played outside back, center back, and defensive midfield in college, but projects as a right back in the MLS.  The US youth national teamer covers the wing well and could be a future star.
  1. Seattle Sounders: Pedro Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina): The 6’3” Chanticleers playmaker is the best pure center midfielder in the draft and provides a suitable backup for Osvaldo Alonso.  Ribeiro (11g, 7a) has impressively good feet for his size, but there are questions about his fitness.  The Brazilian had a sub-par combine, but showed his class with a weaving run and finish in the final game.
  1. San Jose Earthquakes: JJ Koval (Stanford): The Cardinals captain is a tough defensive midfielder who would be a solid player off the bench right away.  Koval (2g, 1a) dominates in the air and is a workhorse.  The All-Pac12 first teamer had a good combine and is someone the Earthquakes should be familiar with.
  1.  Monreal Impact: AJ Cochran* (Wisconsin): With losing Nesta as a center back, the Impact are desperate for a center back and Cochran may be the best available.  Cochran, a natural leader has the size and athleticism to compete at the next level.  Impact Technical Director Matt Jordan made it known, that the team wanted to get “cap friendly players” so picking up a GA in a needed position is a perfect pick.
  1. Colorado Rapids: Kyle Venter (New Mexico): The Lobos captain stock was up in the air prior to the combine due to a poor College Cup, but the 6’3” center back performed remarkably and pushed himself into discussion for a top 10 pick.  Venter (1g, 1a) would join a Rapids back line not in desperate need, but someone who could probably step in if injuries occurred.
  1. New England Revolution: Marlon Hairston* (Louisville): The youngest GA player, Hairston (3g, 2a) is a player for the future.  The US youth national team center midfielder plays simple, but is also good going forward.  He could play as a backup immediately, but with time he could be a future star.  The former Louisville Cardinal was the only player at the combine to finish top 10 in all three physical tests.
  1. Chicago Fire: Ben Sweat (USF): The Fire traded down with the Seattle, making the assumption they don’t have one particular player they are hoping to get.  Therefore they snag Sweat, a midfielder converted to left back who is good going forward and should compete for minutes from the start.  He struggled a bit during the combine, but due to the lack of left sided players, his stock shouldn’t drop much.
  1. Columbus Crew: Jared Watts (Wake Forest): The Crew are fairly set in most of their positions so here they look for the best player available.  Therefore, they Watts (2g, 4a), an underrated defensive midfielder, who is  a great choice to play behind Will Trapp.  The three-time 1st team All-ACC selection could be another steal for the Crew.
  1. Toronto FC: Damion Lowe (Hartford):  The surprise late addition GA member, Lowe (5g, 2a), at 6’3” 175 LBS is a physically ready for the MLS, but many wonder if he’s there technically.  The Jamaican center back probably cannot step in immediately, but if molded correctly, he could be a starter sooner than later.
  1. Houston Dynamo: Kevin Cope (Michigan State):  The Spartan captain will help fill the void at center back with the loss of Bobby Boswell.  The Dynamo expected Sebastian Ibeagha to sign a homegrown contract, but with him opting for Europe, cente rback is a glaring need.  Cope (2g 2a) is good with his feet and should fight for minutes from day one.
  1. Portland Timbers: Marco Franco (UC Irvine):  Caleb Porter loves technical defenders and with Franco he finds the most technical outside back in the draft.  Converted from center back, the UC Irvine captain is tough and good with his feet.  Although not an original combine invitee, Franco played himself into a first round pick.  The addition of homegrown talent Bryan Gallego might affect the position Porter is aiming for.
  1. Real Salt Lake: Joey Dillon (Georgetown):  RSL are pretty much set in most positions, but new coach Jeff Cassar should probably bring in an adequate back up for Beckerman, for when he goes to the World Cup.  The best remaining defensive midfielder Is Dillon, a simple possession player, something the MLS Cup finalists heavily value.
  1. New England Revolution: Andre Lewis: An unknown player coming into the combine, Lewis, a Jamaican midfielder impressed enough to be in the conversation for a first round pick.  The shifty playmaker is tough to push off the ball, but helps address the Revs attacking issues and could be an electric player off the bench.

*Denotes Generation Adidas (GA) player 

SECOND ROUND

  1. Chivas USA: Victor Chavez (UCLA): Despite the signing of Adolfo Bautista, the Goats still need help scoring (2nd worst in MLS) and Chavez is a local product to help do so.
  1. Seattle Sounders: Aodhan Quinn (Akron):  The Sounders need wingers, and in Quinn they bring in a great on ball player who’s already familiar with the program.
  1. New York Red Bulls: Mark Sherrod (Memphis): The Red Bulls are in need of a natural goal scorer and Sherrod, a true #9 poacher is just that.
  1. LA Galaxy: Alex Martinez (NC State): The Galaxy are happy to settle with Martinez, a talented playmaker, and brother of Enzo Martinez, who can play on the wings or as a #10.  Martinez could end up being another steal for Arena.
  1. Toronto FC: MacKenzie Pridham (Cal Poly):  Pridham, a talented Canadian forward is a great pickup to play in the shadows of Gilberto and Defoe.
  1. Philadelphia Union: Grant Van de Casteele (Notre Dame):  The Union don’t have loads of centerback talented and with Van de Casteele, they bring in a strong backup or possibly a starter if the Union push Okugo into the midfield.
  1. Portland Timbers: Reinaldo Brenes (Akron):  We know Porter has a Zips laiden squad, so bringing in Brenes an extremely talented winger/second forward wouldn’t be a surprise.
  1. Philadelphia Union: Romena Bowie (VCU):  If the Union don’t get US national teamer Maurice Edu, than Bowie, a two-way midfielder is a steal and could fight for minutes from the start.
  1. San Jose Earthquakes: George Fochive (UCONN): With the loss of Rafael Baca in the center of the park, the Quakes’ grab the best remaining defensive midfielder on the board to cover for Sam Cronin, George Fochive, a gritty defensive mid.
  1. Montreal Impact: Nick Hagglund (Xavier):  The struggling backline of Montreal will be more than happy to take a solid center back, that many see as top 5 in his position.
  1. Vancouver Whitecaps: Jimmy Ockford (Louisville):  The Whitecaps needed defensive help and Ockford is the best defender left on the board.
  1. New England Revolution: Luca Gimenez (Wake Forest):  The Deamon Deacon forward/winger struggled at the combine, but he’s too talented to pass up at this point of the draft.
  1. Houston Dynamo: Mamadou Diouf (UCONN): Many see Diouf as a first round talent, so having the Senegalese forward drop to 32 would be a steal for a side needing a forward bench threat.
  1. Colorado Rapids: Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of the Mines): The surprise of the combine, Akindele is a physical forward with a good touch who might even sneak into the first round, so the Rapids are happy to snag him here.
  1. New York Red Bulls: Joe Sofia (UCLA): It appears as if RBNY will sign a foreign center back for depth, but just in case, Sofia, a non combine invitee, is an strong pick up as the 4th central defender  on the team.
  1. Colorado Rapids: Fifa Baiden (UCSB): The Rapids should look for a backup for Dillon Powers and Baiden, an early second round prospect is a strong candidate to be chosen.
  1. Portland Timbers: Eric Stevenson (Akron): Add another Zip into the Portland family.  Stevenson, a midfielder, although injury prone could be one of the most talented players in the entire draft.
  1. Montreal Impact: Pete Caringi III (UMBC): The Impact rely heavily on Di Vaio, but the experienced striker won’t be around forever.  Therefore, a natural poacher, reminiscent of a Wondolowski, is a nice player to have on the roster.
  1. Sporting KC: AJ Corrado (Indiana): The MLS Cup champs have built their team off of the draft and don’t need much help, but with their first pick, Corrado, a playmaker, whose stock went down this year is a smart pickup and possible steal for Peter Vermes.

THIRD ROUND

  1. Portland Timbers: Ryan Neil (California)
  2. Chivas USA: Enrique Cardenas (UC Irvine)
  3. Sporting KC: Jacob Bushue (Indiana)
  4. Columbus Crew: Dylan Mares (Indiana)
  5. FC Dallas: Robbie Derschang (Akron)
  6. Philadelphia Union: Kadeem Dacres (UMBC)
  7. Vancouver Whitecaps: Thomas McNamara (Clemson)
  8. Philadelphia Union: Taylor Peay (Washington)
  9. San Jose Earthquakes: Rafael Diaz (St. Johns)
  10. Montreal Impact: Justin Portillo (Coastal Carolina)
  11. Colorado Rapids: Nikita Kotlov (Indiana)
  12. New England Revolution: Wojciech Wojcik (Bradley)
  13. Vancouver Whitecaps: Michael Kafari (New Mexico)
  14. Philadelphia Union: Fabio Pereira (Michigan)
  15. Real Salt Lake: Bryan Ciesulka (Marquette)
  16. Houston Dynamo: Chris Duvall (Wake Forest)
  17. Seattle Sounders: Kees Heemskerk (College of Charleston)
  18. DC United: Victor Munoz (UCLA)
  19. Sporting KC: Carlos Benavides (Cal St. Northridge)

Ben Roth is a contributing writer for College Soccer News.  He will be reporting for College Soccer News at the SuperDraft in Philadelphia.  He can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.