The Vancouver Whitecaps may have the second overall pick in Thursday’s 2012 MLS SuperDraft but, to a certain extent, their decision is out of their hands.
With Darren Mattocks and Andrew Wenger the runaway favorites to be the No. 1 and 2 picks, according to most observers, Vancouver’s draft strategy very well could come down to selecting the player the Montreal Impact don’t.
“Having the No. 2 pick, we’ll need to react to whatever Montreal do,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. “There’s a pretty consistent opinion out there that the first two players are easily identified but, then again, that could have been said for last year, too. I think we surprised people by picking Omar [Salgado] with the No. 1 pick.”
Of those players selected last season by the ‘Caps in the SuperDraft, only Salgado and Michael Nanchoff remain on the club’s books, while Michael Boxall is also on the roster after being chosen in the Supplementary Draft.
“The higher-profile picks are the ones that people zero in on,” Lenarduzzi said. “I just read an article and someone was picking the top 10 prospects in the United States and Omar Salgado was one of them. Did he have a good year last year? He got playing time, but I think he was a part of a club that was struggling in its first year and that didn’t necessarily lend itself to the best development for him.
“I think that’s something we’ve addressed, and we believe we really need to have a plan for players like Omar and other young players in our system.”
In addition to the second overall pick, Vancouver have the 21st selection, which is the second pick in the second round. Lenarduzzi wasn’t giving much away in terms of the club’s strategy going into the draft, but gave some insight into the events around preparations and the event itself.
“There’s talk about draft picks and whether clubs are interested in acquiring a top pick for a player or allocation,” Lenarduzzi said. “It’s a real networking type of situation, and I was at the draft before last year and I was impressed with the way MLS run it.
“It has a real professional feel to it and the anticipation and the buildup to the announcement of the first pick and thereafter is something that MLS has established as a significant event.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.