SuperDraft Top 10: Ranking the best holding midfielders

As we count down to the 2013 SuperDraft on Thursday, January 17, MLSsoccer.com is ranking the top 10 players available to MLS teams by position.

Now we’re on to holding midfielders, and we need to draw a bit of a distinction here: “Holding midfielder” as we’re using it can mean either a pure d-mid (there aren’t a lot in this draft) or a deep-lying central midfielder (there’s a bunch). Most MLS teams play with one of each these days, with only rare exceptions (RSL comes to mind).

10. Machael David (UCSB) — Was always around the ball on Day 1, but wasn’t able to generate meaningful possession on a regular basis. Has the speed and quickness to be a No. 6, but may need a year or two to develop in the Reserve League.

9. Alex Isern (Winthrop) — Isern, who’s from Barcelona, is about to turn 25, which hurts his stock quite a bit. But there’s no denying his talent after his performance on Day 1, when he controlled the tempo of the game with pinpoint distribution. Would need to play next to a very busy d-mid, but somebody should give him a look.

8. Kevin Durr (Air Force) — Box-to-box, all-action midfielder who’ll put in an honest shift on both sides of the ball. If not for his military commitments he’d probably be talked about as a first-round pick.

7. Jacob Barron (Penn St.) — Somehow missed out on a Combine invite, which is too bad because three of the teams out there could really have used a pure midfield ball-winner. Never going to be a star, but he’ll carry the water as a true No. 6.

6. Paolo DelPiccolo (Louisville) — On trial with Eintract Frankfurt, which means he might not get selected. Smart player who sees the game early and just has a knack for making the game easier for everybody around him. Not a pure d-mid.

5. Jossimar Sanchez (UConn) — One of the draft’s few pure d-mids, it wouldn’t be a shock if Sanchez was an MLS starter some day. If he recovers fully from his broken leg, he’ll have MLS range and athleticism, and he always keeps the game nice and simple on both sides of the ball.

4. Ian Christianson (Georgetown) —Christianson didn’t look great, but he’s the type of player who’ll be better as he gets to know the players around him. His ability to turn away from traffic and switch the field of play is outstanding, and MLS-ready.

3. Kyle Bekker (Boston College) — Strong first day at the Combine helped his stock. He looked very comfortable playing deep, spraying the ball around and helping on defense. He’ll never be a No. 6, but with everyone playing the 4-2-3-1 these days, there will always be a spot for him on the field.

2. Dillon Powers (Notre Dame) — Wore No. 10 in college, but will be more of a box-to-box player in the pros. He’ll need to play with a true d-mid, but will give you honest work on both sides of the ball. Is at his best when he keeps it simple.

1. Mikey Lopez (North Carolina) — Odds-on favorite to be the No. 2 pick after a strong Day 1 at the Combine, Lopez is at his best in a free-flowing, three-man midfield with lots of short passing and interchanging. Seems to be a perfect fit for Chelís.