Friday, January 13, 2017

Opening shots

I'm watching the MLS SuperDraft, and the commentary panel keeps saying there hasn't been much surprise in the proceedings. Gotta say I don't agree with that sentiment at all. And I'm astomished how many teams were shifting their boards all around after the combine - throwing out a year or two's worth of scouting competitive games for what are essentially a few quick pick-ups is beyond silly. Now, I'm not going to claim to be the foremost expert on this pool of prospects, but as we roll toward the third round I do have some thoughts to share about the picks to date.

  • My biggest surprise is that we're nearly 40 picks in and no one has called Shamit Shome's name. Amazingly, Minnesota took what will almost certainly be a back-up keeper instead of filling a major roster hole with a talent already carrying pro experience. Perhaps more incredibly, Montreal took a real flier on a guy of uncertain position needing great polish instead of rejuvenating a well-aged central midfield stable.

    Meanwhile, Toronto FC had three chances to take the Generation adidas Canada signing, and instead grabbed a total mismatch (more on that in a moment) and chump change in allocation money ($75K for two early second round picks). I think a lot of teams are going to reget leaving this guy on the board. Unless the kid is set to sign in Europe or something, this to me is a real head-scratching stunner.

    UPDATE
    : Montreal lucked out and were able to nab him with the 41st pick (!!!). I think this selection could eventually make all those great late pick steal lists.
  • Another shocker? Ordinarily, Brandon Aubrey would register as my second biggest shock dropper. However, he ended up going 21st to Toronto FC, where he doesn't even fit their current defensive scheme. I'm definitely not one to put so much weight on the Combine, but he had quite the struggle defending on the run, which was the big question on him coming into the SuperDraft and a must in a three-man backline. I don't get it, but then I also don't get how he fell so far so fast.

  • More surprises? Several Eastern teams did not address glaring needs with their first round picks. In the first round, New England and NYCFC neglected to take central defenders, Montreal chose not to boost their weak spots at the back, and though he would normally look to be a fine choice, the Red Bulls picked up yet another winger instead of taking one of several excellent right backs and D.C. United went the other way by grabbing their 34th right back.

  • So who has done well so far? Atlanta grabbed two useful guys in the first eight picks. Portland traded up to net very nice strike insurance in Jeremy Ebobisse. Though I think they reached too soon on Niko Hansen, the Crew definitely needed Lalas Abubukar, who should become a hero in Columbus.

    I believe games are usually won in midfield and San Jose got such great value at #6 with Jackson Yuell. Making out like bandits, Houston were still able to grab underrated midfielder Joe Holland after trading down from the #4 slot and then traded for shrewd veteran defender A.J. Delagarza. Chicago traded down from #3 for a a sack of cash, but were still able to grab Combine star Daniel Johnson.

    Supporters Shield winner FC Dallas took a trio of potentially wise gambles, picking up talented droppers in Jacori Hayes, Walker Hume and Adonijah Reid. Real Salt Lake, though, may have done the best business considering their slots, landing the very talented duo of Reagan Dunk and Justin Schmidt for their back line stable.

- Greg Seltzer

4 comments:

DaM said...

NYCFC moving up to take the guy picked after the guy they needed to pick was pretty glaring. Are you really telling me they didnt have what it took to entice an expansion team? What's Mix doing these days? Seems like they spent all that money on a guy who plays their deepest position.

And then they took a midfielder 13 picks later. I don't know Mssr. Awuah or what he can a-do-a (sorry that was terrible) but if it doesn't include "play centerback" I would give NYC a big fat "F" and move on.

The DC United thing confused me a bit too, but maybe they had him ranked much higher than what was left at that point. Maybe they'll try to move someone (though none of their fullbacks look likely to convert to wing) or figure he will be a great trade piece.

Dany Tzvi said...

Greg, think yuell can play on the wing for the quakes? SJ is pretty deep in the middle but paper thin out wide right now. Maybe Mfeka is enough.

DM said...

DC taking Odoi-Atsem makes a lot of sense to me when I remember how thin we are at left back. If Taylor Kemp gets injured or called up, Olsen hasn't established a backup yet. We have no options in depth at left back, only emergency position swaps. Odoi-Atsem isn't a natural left back, but I hear he's spent at least a little time there at UMD, and he was the best fullback of either persuasion remaining on the board. My hunch is that Olsen, Kasper, et al. took him because they plan to groom him into the role, and honestly, I'm glad they did.

DaM said...

@DM I don't know much about any of these guys so I won't pretend to know whether Odoi-Atsem could make the switch to the left. I do recall reading somewhere during the combine that he played the first half of one of the matches on the left and he looked out of place. Then again one bad match at the combine isn't necessarily dispositive. I don't think Kemp switching makes any sense either. I think you are right the consensus is he was the best/most ready fullback so I think he was good value at the spot, but I guess we'll see if that's their plan.