2014 MLS SuperDraft Top 5: Right midfielders boost their stock at Combine

Ryan Neil - 2014 adidas MLS Player Combine

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MLSsoccer.com

PHILADELPHIA – If you're looking for an area of this year's draft pool that was boosted by the 2014 adidas MLS Player Combine, it's the wide right spot in midfield.

Players who were generally afterthoughts before the Combine did well enough to generate interest from MLS coaching staffs and become serious draft candidates:


1. Ryan Neil (California) -- He says he's really a fullback. Well, he could've fooled us. In the first match of the Combine he looked out of sorts at right back, especially on the defensive side of the ball. One game later, he came on at right mid and stole the show, gliding past defenders like they weren't there. He's an explosive attack-minded player and his crosses have eyes. Range: First round

2. Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines) -- The revelation of the 2014 adidas MLS Player Combine. The Division II standout may have even earned himself an MLS contract, playing fearlessly and terrorizing fullbacks down in Florida. But it's really his athleticism that's caused coaches to take notice. Players as big as he is (6-foot-1, 170lbs) aren't supposed to be that agile and quick. Range: First round

3. Luca Gimenez (Wake Forest) -- The Brazilian doesn't have the separation speed of Neil or Akindele and he's also less graceful than his counterparts. But with Gimenez it's more about grit, industry and perpetual motion. The Combine showed us his game is pretty simple: He attacks space and times his runs in behind. And it was effective in its own way. Range: Third round

4. Abraham Keller (Dayton) -- You want most right midfielders for their great right foot. Not Keller. He wasn't at the Combine, but he's arguably the best inverted winger in college soccer. The ex-Swiss youth international can put the ball wherever he wants with his left peg, including on set pieces. If you have targets, he can hit them like an expert archer. Kind of like Michel did for FC Dallas last year. Range: Third round

5. Zach Bolden (Denver) -- Keep on chugging. That's Bolden's motto playing right midfield at the Combine. You won't notice him on the field, but then he'll pop up in the right place at the right time because he's always alert and following the play. He may not have a single lethal weapon like the guys above him on this list, but he can be the ultimate role player. Range: Fourth round


Others to keep an eye on: Sunny Jane (Maryland), Gideon Asante (Old Dominion), George Malki (Cal Poly), Pierre Omanga (Southern New Hampshire), David Najem (Columbia), Matt Walker (Xavier), Nazi Albadawi (NC State)

AND CATCH THE ENTIRE SUPERDRAFT TOP 5 SERIES:

TOP 5 GOALKEEPERS: The very best are international 'keepers

TOP 5 CENTER BACKS: Ranking this year's bumper crop of central defenders

TOP 5 ATTACKING MIDS: Ready to flaunt their talent

TOP 5 RIGHT BACKS: Good on the overlap, and then what?

TOP 5 FORWARDS: And watch them do what they do best

TOP 5 CENTER MIDS: This is the year to find a gem at holding mid

TOP 5 LEFT BACKS: Shallow pool of talent available