Super Draft 2014

MLSsoccer.com's 2014 Mock SuperDraft: Pre-Combine edition

The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is one week away, and our draft experts – Simon Borg, Matthew Doyle and Nate Sulat – are ready to take their first stab at the all-important first round, based on information gathered from coaches and scouts around the nation.

The second (and final!) Mock Draft will come next Wednesday, Jan. 15, after the close of the MLS Player Combine. 

GA = member of Generation adidas 

First Round

Pick Team Simon Borg Matthew Doyle Nate Sulat
1

Christian Dean (D)

California / GA

With three right-sided center backs in Boswell, White and Attakora (sure, the vet Boswell can probably go left), D.C. fill a hole with a potential left-footed starter, who can also cover at left back.

Steve Birnbaum (D)

California

He's the best talent in the draft, a lockdown central defender who's also capable of making game-changing plays with the ball on his foot. And he's an animal on set pieces. Should start right away.

Steve Birnbaum (D)

California

After loading up on forwards this offseason, now D.C. have to look to the backline, and Birnbaum gives them the best chance to solidify that area of the field this year.

2

  

Steve Birnbaum (D)

California

Dean's center-back teammate at Cal will be ready to spot Jeff Parke or Amobi Okugo, the only two central defenders on the Union roster given the future of Colombian Carlos Valdés is still in the air.

Christian Dean (D)

California / GA

Scouts feel like Dean has the highest upside in the draft, though he's still unpolished on the defensive side of the ball and is weirdly timid in the air. Probably starts his career as a left back, then moves inside as he gets more confidence.

Christian Dean (D)

California / GA

I bet Philly are praying that Dean will still be available at No. 2. They need a left back, and he probably has more attacking outside back in him than central defender.

3

       

Andre Blake (GK)

Connecticut / GA

Has the kind of attitude that Carl Robinson will fall in love with. Gone are the days of the platoon at goalkeeper for the Whitecaps: The MLS-ready Blake is going into camp and taking the No. 1 job from David Ousted.

Andre Blake (GK)

Connecticut / GA

Maybe the most MLS-ready 'keeper to come into the draft since Brad Guzan? Blake has been a standout in his college career, and should compete for the No. 1 job right off the bat for a 'Caps team in something of a transition.

Andre Blake (GK)

Connecticut / GA

I don’t care how good you think Ousted is: You’re not going into a season with just one goalkeeper. Moreover, I think Blake would win the starting job if the ‘Caps took him.

4

       

A.J. Cochran (D)

Wisconsin / GA

Crew welcome the new Chad Marshall. Cochran is the most dominant player in the air in all of college soccer. 
 

A.J. Cochran (D)

Wisconsin / GA

The Crew are loaded with central defenders who are converts from other spots (midfield or fullback). Cochran is is a pure center back who has a sweet left foot and dominates in the air.

A.J. Cochran (D)

Wisconsin / GA

Cochran is sort of the anti-Dean: He could clean up his distribution – though his left foot can dazzle when he’s on – but he is a tough, strong, lockdown center back. Oh, and he has a 30-inch vertical.

5

    

Pedro Ribeiro (M)

Coastal Carolina

Central midfield was a gaping hole for Dallas in 2013. They address it in a big way by signing the 6-foot-4, left-footed Ribeiro, who can not only protect the ball, but he's capable of great things with it.

Schillo Tshuma (M/F)

Maryland / GA

Dallas have always been at their best when they've had speed to burn, and Tshuma brings that. Struggled as a sophomore, but his talent is obvious to everyone.

Schillo Tshuma (M/F)

Maryland / GA

After an unremarkable sophomore season at Maryland, Schuma still has lots of questions to answer if he wants to become a surefire MLS starter. Naturally, teams are much less concerned with him answering those than they are with the fact that he is super-duper quick and athletic. The GA product will probably come off the board here.

6

Steve Neumann (M)

Georgetown

The Union are stocked with forwards, but no one to supply them the ball. Whether it's out wide or from a central position, the Philly native will attempt to fill the role that Michael Farfan couldn't in 2013.

Patrick Mullins (F)

Maryland

Mullins will go down as one of the most productive players in college history, but scouts still aren't sure as to how he fits at MLS level. For a team that plays the 4-4-2, however, he's a no-brainer at this spot.

Pedro Ribeiro (M)

Coastal Carolina

His size belies his strengths as a player. The Brazilian is a creative, playmaking midfielder with a silky left foot and an uncanny ability to pop out of tight spaces with his dribbling. And if that fails, defenders might just bounce off the 200-plus-pound goliath.

7

Eric Miller (D)

Creighton / GA

He may not be an immediate starter in MLS, but he has the tools to eventually be a future successor of Y.P. Lee: Coaches say he can run all day, he's good in the air and he's good on the ball. Best right back in a draft that is not deep at the position.

Eric Miller (D)

Creighton / GA

Miller fits a need for the 'Caps, who are thin at right back and want to find an attacking threat who can approximate what Lee brought to the team for the past couple of years.

Patrick Mullins (F)

Maryland

Is Camilo gone? Has Darren Mattocks really moved past the tirade he unleashed against Vancouver at the end of last season? Even if these questions didn’t need to be answered, there would be good reason for the ‘Caps to take Mullins if he’s still available at No. 8. Namely: the 36 goals he’s scored in the last two years.

8

JJ Koval (M)

Stanford

The Fire need to inject some youth into that central midfield and Frank Yallop will certainly know enough about Koval's reputation from his days in NorCal. He's good on the ball and a big-time ball-winner in midfield. Think the Fire's future version of Sam Cronin.

Marlon Hairston (M)

Louisville / GA

Hairston has pace and a willingness to get forward with the ball on his foot from central midfield. In time, that could be a perfect complement to veteran Jeff Larentowicz.

Marlon Hairston (M)

Louisville / GA

Marlon Hairston is still a work in progress, but there’s a lot to work with. Hairston is quick, versatile, moves extremely well and has plenty of ability on the ball. With Larentowicz currently manning central midfield, Hairston would have a great chance to both learn from a veteran and to move into the role when the time came.

9

Ben Sweat (D)

South Florida

With the departure of Justin Morrow, the Quakes need depth at left back behind veteran Jordan Stewart. A team that depends on wing play will get the best attacking left back in the draft.

Pedro Ribeiro (M)

Coastal Carolina

Ribeiro is a big, ball-playing central midfielder who gets out of trouble and puts his teammates in good spots thanks to his skill and smarts. The Quakes need that kind of depth.

Eric Miller (D)

Creighton / GA

If, somehow, Miller is still available at No. 9 then the Quakes won’t even have time to even get the words “We select…” out of their mouths before they’ll have hurled a contract at the young right back’s head. Miller is a stud going forward, a great athlete who’s good in the air, speedy, and good 1-v-1. Still needs to improve defensively a little bit, but he’s turning 22 the day before the SuperDraft. There’s time yet for him to figure things out.

10

Marlon Hairston (M)

Louisville / GA

The kind of player the Impact like: technical and clean on the ball. He's a player they can groom to be the successor to Patrice Bernier.

Ben Sweat (D)

South Florida

Montreal spent most of last season at a speed deficit on the flanks. Sweat, who is an overlapping left back in the most modern of interpretations, should help solve that almost immediately.

Ben Sweat (D)

South Florida

There are so many different directions the Impact could go here, but it’s tough to find mobile, creative left backs that have Sweat’s physical capabilities.

11

Mark Sherrod (F)

Memphis

Edson Buddle is the lone target forward the Rapids have who can bang bodies in the box. The big body Sherrod will be his very competent backup who feasts on crosses.

Damion Lowe (D)

Hartford / GA

Lowe, the son of former MLS forward Onandi Lowe, was something of a surprise addition to the Generation adidas class. He's a big, physical central defender who should get reps for a team thin at that spot.

Steve Neumann (M/F)

Georgetown

The biggest knock against Neumann is his athleticism, but his passing, field vision are basically beyond reproach. Turns out that the Rapids have lots of athletic dudes to give the ball to. Neumann takes his talents to Commerce City.

12

     

Patrick Mullins (F)

Maryland

The best scoring forward in college soccer is the insurance policy in case Jerry Bengtson never snaps out of his funk and Charlie Davies struggles to get into top form.

Romena Bowie (M)

VCU

The Revs burned through a few veterans before settling upon Scott Caldwell at d-mid. And Caldwell might still be better next to a more physical two-way player, which fits Bowie to a T.

Damion Lowe (D)

Hartford / GA

There’s still some depth issues for the Revs at CB, so taking the athletic young Jamaican is not a terrible move. And it would make sense that the Revs were the only team that knew anything about the Hartford product.

13

Schillo Tshuma (M/F)

Maryland / GA

The Sounders don't have many wide players and Tshuma has the skill and speed to be effective there. The GA tag means they can afford to bring him along slowly.

Joey Dillon (M)

Georgetown

The Sounders need depth in defense – especially left back – but the cupboard is truly bare behind Ozzy Alonso at d-mid. Dillon isn't going to wow anyone, but he's smart and steady.

Joey Dillon (M)

Georgetown

Dillon doesn’t get a lot of love, but Georgetown gave up 10 goals in 21 games this year in large part because opposing teams never saw the ball. Dillon was a big part of that, not only helping win the ball back when GU lost it, but also connecting it with the attacking unit.

14

Robert Derschang (D/M)

Akron

Gyasi Zardes is filling a hole wide left, but his long-term position is center forward when Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane decide to make way. In the meantime, Bruce Arena can mold the powerful and fast Akron winger into a viable next option.

Jared Watts (M)

Wake Forest

Bruce Arena finds at least one contributor every year. This time through the draft, he'll take the combative Watts, who can play as a true No. 6 to occasionally free up the likes of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas.

Jared Watts (M)

Wake Forest

The Galaxy’s major malfunction last year was being unable to get goals out of anyone but Keane and Landon Donovan, but they still have some options within house to that up. They could definitely use a defensive midfielder, though – and particularly one who’s good in the air – to help organize the defense so that they stop letting in set-piece goals.

15

Damion Lowe (D)

Hartford / GA

No way GM Tim Bezbatchenko doesn't pick up the last GA player on the board -- remember, they don't count against the salary budget. Also pads a thin center back corps in Toronto.
 

Steve Neumann (M)

Georgetown

Neumann could conceivably go as high as No. 6, but he falls into TFC's lap here. He's the draft's best pure playmaker, a player who makes up for what he lacks athletically with superior soccer instincts.

Kyle Venter (D)

New Mexico

There are a ton of good offensive talents headed to Toronto. Defensive talents? Not so much. Enter Venter, a hulking, old-school center back from New Mexico who can move the ball out of the back with both feet and dominates in the air. His hurt ankle that hampered his movement in the NCAA tournament will likely be healed by now, too.

16

Wojciech Wojcik (F)

Bradley

A tall, left-footed forward who's good in the air, good with his feet and brings down every ball in the attack. It's a refined version of Cam Weaver and manager Dominic Kinnear won't pass him up.

Kevin Cope (D)

Michigan State

With Bobby Boswell going out, that opens up a lot of minutes in the center of defense. In steps Cope, who’s a leader in the locker room and draws high marks for his competitive fire.

Kevin Cope (D)

Michigan State

I can see Houston wanting Venter, but settling for Cope gives them the same toughness with slightly more mobility, if not the same sort of composure. Make no mistake, though, Cope is a center back’s center back who excels at doing the dirty work: just getting in the way of stuff and breaking up the attack.

17

Reinaldo Brenes (F)

Akron

Caleb Porter gets another player he's familiar with and someone who knows the Timbers system after playing with the U-23s in the summer. Word is he works hard, he has great movement off the ball and can play anywhere on the forward line ... a perfect fit for the Timbers' style.

Marco Franco (D)

UC Irvine

Franco's not the biggest or fastest, but he's very sound technically and even moreso tactically. A good comparison is A.J. DeLaGarza – just a good defender who can help at two spots.

Marco Franco (D)

UC Irvine

Franco probably isn’t getting as much love as he deserves because 1) he plays in the Big West and 2) he played center back this year, which is not his true position. He’s a right back, and a damn good one that can get forward, put in a good cross, and also defend pretty well.

18

Jared Watts (M)

Wake Forest

A strong, hard-working central midfielder with great feet. With Kyle Beckerman potentially missing time at World Cup camp and Yordany Álvarez out of the picture, a little more depth at the holding mid position wouldn't hurt.

Kyle Venter (D)

New Mexico

RSL don't really have a need in the center of defense, but Venter is the choice here anyway. If he plays up to his potential, he's a dominant aerial presence and a good reader of the game.

Eric Stevenson (M)

Akron

For whatever reason, I actually think that Stevenson would fit into RSL’s diamond perfectly as a back-up for Ned Grabavoy. Really technical right-footed player who plays inverted left wing, Stevenson’s not cut out to go bombing down the sideline as a wide player. Playing pinched in in a diamond though? Oh, baby.

19

George Fochive (M)

Connecticut

Another team looking for depth at central midfield and they find what some call the steal of the draft. Fochive is upstaged by more high profile names in the UConn squad, but he has it all to be succesful in MLS: He's athletic, smart and has good distribution.

Grant Van De Casteele (D)

Notre Dame

Good size, and good pedigree in coming from a Notre Dame program that's produced its share of good MLSers of late. Van De Casteele projects as a solid rotation piece for the Revs.

Enrique Cardenas (M/F)

UC Irvine

Cardenas is probably best suited to playing underneath a striker – and he may get that chance – but he’s versatile enough that he can play at any point in the midfield or, really, up top. Defending’s not his strong suit, but he can beat guys 1-v-1, eludes tackles well, and can feed his teammates the ball.