Draft notebook: Shake up the Quakes
The San Jose Earthquakes have been busy this week and their flurry of activity carried over into Friday's 2005 MLS SuperDraft. The Quakes consummated three trades and, along with the Chicago Fire, made a league-high seven selections in the draft.
The blockbuster trade of the afternoon was one that sent midfielders Richard Mulrooney and Arturo Alvarez, along with the sixth and 29th picks in the draft, to Dallas in exchange for midfielder Brad Davis, an allocation and the fourth overall pick in the draft.
Former MetroStars midfielder Ricardo Clark is also on his way to the Bay Area, having been traded to the Quakes for a portion of the allocation from Landon Donovan's departure in addition to a youth international spot. Near the end of the day, the Quakes sent the final pick in the draft to D.C. United and got a player to be named later in return.
Friday's moves come after a midweek trade that brought forward Alejandro Moreno and defender Chris Aloisi to the Quakes from the Galaxy in exchange for defender Todd Dunivant and goalkeeper Steve Cronin.
"We knew coming in here that we were going to be busy," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "With the departures and the roster spots open, we had to do something.
"[We] needed to make a few moves and try to straighten ourselves in other areas. I felt we did that."
There may even be more work in store for Kinnear and Quakes general manager Alexi Lalas, but for the moment, Kinnear said it's time to take a break.
"I've got to go hop on a plane and close my eyes for a while," the coach said.
BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: Let the trash talking begin between best friends and former Indiana University players Danny O'Rourke and Drew Moor. The two have become very close in the past two years and look forward to growing into their new roles as professional soccer players together.
O'Rourke was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes with the fourth pick in Friday's draft, and Moor was taken just two picks later by FC Dallas, his hometown team.
"We trash-talked when we were on the same team, so now that we're on different teams, it's going to come in full force," Moor joked. "And our dads, also. They'll start bickering at each other pretty soon as well."
Moor said he and O'Rourke have fed off of each other since Moor came to Indiana in 2003. The two talk all the time, and Moor said O'Rourke is more than a teammate; he's also a role model.
"It was he and I, always, at school," Moor said. "He's someone I look up to on the field and off the field. To be drafted right next to each other tells a lot about each other and how we drive each other to succeed."
O'Rourke returned the compliment.
"Drew's my best friend, so I couldn't be prouder of him, especially for him to go back home to Dallas," he said. "Of course, we'll be in the same region, so we'll be able to play each other a bunch."
This season, O'Rourke and Moor teamed up to help Indiana win its second consecutive NCAA Division I title, and after the title match, the two posed back-to-back for photos with the championship trophy. O'Rourke said today is the pinnacle of his time with the Hoosiers.
"To cap it off by being drafted in the first round, it's a great closing to an awesome year," he said.
SURPRISE GUEST: One of the biggest surprises of the day might have been new MetroStars midfielder Chris Corcoran. The surprise wasn't that the St. John's University product was selected, but that he was in attendance Friday.
Corcoran's father two days ago convinced him to attend, saying it would be a memorable moment for him to be at the draft for his selection. Corcoran had doubted that he would get selected due to a series of foot injuries this season and didn't want to come to Baltimore if he wasn't going to be taken.
When the Metros picked him with the 25th overall selection, Corcoran was sitting in the audience without the all access pass the rest of the players in attendance were given. So, after his name was called, Corcoran stayed in his seat. It wasn't until the MetroStars called Corcoran to tell him he had been selected that it became clear Corcoran was in the building. The tip-off: all of the noise in the background.
"To get picked up by the MetroStars is a dream come true," Corcoran said.
Corcoran said he initially broke his left foot over the summer, and after that healed, he broke his right foot and then broke his left foot again. At Friday's draft, he wore a walking cast on his left leg.
"Because of my injury I only played in eight games. I was probably fit for one of them," he said. "I wasn't sure if that was enough to get drafted."
TOGETHER AGAIN: There will be a reunion of sorts in Salt Lake City this spring, as former U.S. under-17 national team coach and current Real Salt Lake head coach John Ellinger selected two of his former players in Friday's SuperDraft. Ellinger chose 16-year-old Nikolas Besagno with the top pick and followed that up by taking forward Jamie Watson with the 13th overall selection.
Both players are delighted to be joining their former coach and mentor with the league's newest team. Besagno joined the U-17 residency program in April 2004 at Ellinger's request. In 20 matches with the U-17s this year, Besagno notched one goal and two assists from his defensive midfield position and wore the captain's armband at times.
"I know him, I know how he coaches. He knows me, my skills, what I'm good at," Besagno said. "I think it's awesome that I get to play with him."
Watson played for the U-17s from 2002-2004, scoring 14 goals at that level. He was a starter alongside Freddy Adu at the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, a tournament in which he tallied a goal and an assist.
"This is the route I wanted to go. I wanted to be under a coach like Coach Ellinger," Watson said. "I think he's going to put a winning attitude in the back of everybody's mind.
"I evolved into the player I am now under him. I can't wait."
Ellinger has been a guide for Watson since the 18-year-old started with the U-17s. Ellinger helped Watson decide where to go to school -- University of North Carolina -- and the coach also helped him decide to leave school after his sophomore year and join the league's Generation adidas youth development program.
"He was somebody I trusted a lot," Watson said. "He's been involved in all of the important decisions."
WIZARDS ON THE ATTACK: The Kansas City Wizards came into Friday's SuperDraft with the intention of acquiring attacking players, and in the eyes of Wizards head coach Bob Gansler, they've succeeded.
The Wizards not only got two all-out attackers in forwards Scott Sealy (No. 11) and Ryan Pore (No. 16), but they also obtained midfielder Sasha Victorine from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for the 15th overall selection. Gansler said Victorine, a proven player who can operate in nearly every part of the field, could help drive the Wizards' attack from the midfield.
"Our first two picks we wanted to get someone who could help us in attacking out of the back and midfield, and then also someone who can help us up top," Gansler said. "With Pore and Sealy, we got the up top part. With Sasha Victorine, I feel that we got someone who can help us come through the midfield.
"We didn't quite come up with the attacking wingback or central defender that can get us forward in a more efficient manner, but you can't have everything. And also there's discovery picks yet."
Gansler was especially happy that the possibility of acquiring Victorine arose. When Victorine came out of college prior to the 2000 season, Gansler considered acquiring him, but former Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid beat him to the punch.
"[Sasha Victorine] was certainly on our minds," he said. "When he became available with our discussions with L.A., I said, 'OK. We've got to do that.' "
FEARSOME FOURSOME: Indiana University may be the back-to-back defending NCAA Division I champions, but they've got nothing on Wake Forest on SuperDraft day. The Demon Deacons had four players selected on Friday, the most of any school, and they had two players selected in the first round.
Defender Michael Parkhurst went first, having been selected by the New England Revolution with the ninth overall pick. Sealy went next to the Kansas City Wizards at No. 11, defender James Riley went to the Revolution with the 21st pick and midfielder Amir Lowery was taken by the Colorado Rapids with the 45th selection.
"To go [to New England] with Michael Parkhurst, a Wake Forest buddy, is unbelievable," Riley said. "We're going to try to make an impact right away, just play ball how we can."
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Bradley University midfielder Luke Kreamalmayer was the MVP of the adidas MLS Player Combine earlier in the week, and though he had to wait until the start of the fourth round to be selected by Real Salt Lake, he's elated nonetheless. He hadn't even planned on attending the SuperDraft until his impressive performance at the Combine.
"I was very thankful and relieved to get picked," he said. "As the later rounds came, I wasn't sure if I was going to get picked or not, but I'm very happy now."
RSL head coach John Ellinger had mentioned Kreamalmayer as one of the players on his wish list on Wednesday. By adding Kreamalmayer, one of the most-talked about players at the Combine, top pick Besagno and U.S. youth national team player Watson, Ellinger seems to have gotten exactly what he wanted.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. Charles Boehm contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.