MLS on Campus: Pro tug-of-war ahead for IU's Zavaleta?

Zavaleta - On Campus

Photo Credit: 
Indiana University

Welcome back to MLS On Campus, our weekly look at the goings-on in the college game. Every Monday, we'll give you the week's best highlight, the standout players, which games to watch in the week ahead and, of course, our national Top 10 list.

After all, the SuperDraft is only a few months away...

Big Men on Campus

Indiana sophomore forward Erik Zavaleta  A potential tug-of-war is brewing between MLS clubs for the sophomore forward that is lighting up NCAA defenses. Zavaleta (above) had his best weekend yet, scoring four goals in two Hoosiers victories to bring his total to 11 goals in 12 games this season.

The 20-year-old spent time with the Columbus, RSL and Chivas USA academies before heading to IU, though the most likely scenario has Zavaleta signing a Generation adidas contract this offseason and potentially going in the top five of the 2013 SuperDraft.  

UCSB senior midfielder Nic Ryan – Playing in a more offensive role this season, Ryan is making his case for a first round selection. Last Friday night in front of the biggest crowd in the NCAA this season, Ryan scored both goals – including a golden goal less than 30 seconds from the final whistle to beat UC Irvine 2-1.

Notre Dame senior forward Ryan Finley – Finley is no stranger to any MLS draft board with a prolific NCAA career at Duke and Notre Dame, but he might have moved himself even higher after this past weekend. Finley moved to 10 goals in 12 games with four goals in wins over Pitt and Georgetown. The US youth national teamer from New Jersey now has double-digit goals in three of his four college seasons. 

Rank Trending Last College Comment

1

2

Maryland
(9-0-1)

Junior forward Patrick Mullins’ sixth goal of the year led the Terps to a 1-0 win over Virginia. A former member of the Chicago Fire’s Louisiana satellite academy, major questions abound as to whether Mullins is eligible for a Homegrown contract or if Generation adidas could be calling soon. 

2

9

Marquette
(11-0-0)

It’s impossible to deny the Golden Eagles their due any longer. Led by two goals from cagey senior forward Andy Huftalin, Marquette ended UConn’s bid for an undefeated season with a 3-2 win on Saturday night. It’s out of the frying pan into the fire with a game at Georgetown next Saturday. 

3

1

UConn
(10-1-1)

The Huskies played two undefeated teams last week at Georgetown and Marquette, coming away with a 2-1 win in DC before the loss to Marquette. The bigger loss for UConn, however, is senior defensive midfielder Jossimar Sanchez, who looks to be out for the season with a major leg injury suffered near the end of the Marquette loss. 

4

3

Akron
(7-1-2)

The Zips can’t really do anything about their weak conference schedule, so they’re doing what they have to do, which is run roughshod over the rest of the MAC. Caleb Porter’s men have won their last five matches by a combined 16-0. 

5

4

UNC
(9-1-1)

The Tar Hells defense, led by sophomore FC Dallas Academy member Boyd “OC” Okwuono, has allowed just one goal in their last six games and produced yet another shutout with a 2-0 win over Clemson last Friday night. Sophomore midfielder Mikey Lopez’s 57th-minute goal even made the SportsCenter Top 10.

6

8

Notre Dame
(10-2-0)

The Fighting Irish shoot right back up the rankings this week after destroying Pitt 7-1 and blanking a very good Georgetown side 3-0. Sophmore midfielder Nick Besler, brother of Sporting KC’s Matt, is enjoying a breakout season on the Notre Dame backline having played nearly every minute of the season.

7

6

UCLA
(8-1-2)

UCLA just keeps on winning with a 1-0 shutout of Oregon State on Friday. The Bruins have won eight of their last nine games, but just one of those came outside the state of California.  

8

(NR)

Indiana
(9-2-1)

Some early season struggles are long forgotten for the Hoosiers, having won six of their last seven. Zavaleta is getting the goals, while junior playmaker A.J. Corrado is making Indiana tick with six assists from his attacking midfield role.

9

5

Georgetown
(10-2-1)

Losses to UConn and Notre Dame are no reason for panic in the Hoya camp, but you’ve got to beat the good teams eventually if you want to win a national championship. The Hoyas will have a great chance to bounce back on Saturday when they host undefeated Marquette.

10

10

UCSB
(8-1-3)

The Gauchos finally lost their first game of the season on Sunday, dropping a 1-0 result at home to Cal State Northridge. Last Friday night, UCSB beat UC Irvine 2-1 in front of 7,822 fans, the largest crowd in the NCAA this season, as Ryan led the way. 

 

Highlight of the Week

Watch as Ryan scores his 110th-minute game-winning goal in front of a crowd nearly 8,000 at UCSB.

UNC sophomore midfielder Lopez is a solid candidate for a Generation adidas contract - most mock drafts have him as a projected top three pick - and his second-half goalazo against Clemson made the Sportscenter Top 10. 

What to Watch For:

No. 6 UCLA vs. Washington (Monday, 10 pm ET)

Take in some Monday night football tonight as UCLA hosts Washington in a crucial PAC-12 matchup. Keep an eye on senior Bruins winger Ryan Hollingshead, a dynamic midfielder with an MLS-ready exterior that could find himself shooting up MLS draft boards with a good combine. 

Penn State vs. No. 4 Akron (Wednesday, 7 pm ET)

When the conference schedule begins, Akron rarely has a chance to impress because the MAC is so weak. But on Wendesday night they travel to a good Penn State squad looking to make their impression as they fight for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.