2014 MLS SuperDraft Top 5: Attacking mids ready to flaunt their creativity
If there's one area of the field in the 2014 SuperDraft that's loaded up with talent (and not center back), it's attacking midfield.
Everyone is in agreement that this year's class of creative midfielders have the technical ability, field vision and range of passing to succeed in MLS. A lot of them are going to get taken in the first round so that they can try and prove everyone right.
1. Andre Lewis (Jamaica U-20s): Lewis has been an absolute revelation at the Combine, showcasing cunning and craftiness beyond his years. He can dribble out of tight spaces, even with people kicking him in the shins, and his first touch is superb. That said, he also stands out for his lack of size. Will that come back to bite him? Range: Mid first.
2. Pedro Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina): Let's get this out of the way first: At 6-foot-4 and more than 200 pounds, Ribeiro is a large man. As is the cliche with Brazilians, though, he's got the ball on a string, and can use a combination of strength and technical ability to glide through defenses. In an ideal world, he's your No. 10 attacking midfielder, but if necessary a team could probably move him wide or to defensive midfielder. Range: Early-to-mid first.
3. Steve Neumann (Georgetown): He has been knocked for basically his entire soccer life for lacking athleticism, but he makes up for it with hard work, an unreal touch on the ball and an almost otherworldly ability to pick out a pass or fire a shot on goal. He's at his most influential closer to goal, but he can be dangerous on any level in midfield. Range: Early-to-mid first.
4. Alex Sweetin (St. Louis): Sees things that other players don't, but he can serve a ball so well that he can pull off the tough stuff when he gets a chance. He's got pace, though it's not his strong suit, but coaches get concerned about the amount of punishment he takes for seeing so much of the ball. Can he hold up for an entire MLS season? Range: Early second
5. Thomas McNamara (Clemson): At his best when he's running guys down, relying mostly on his cleverness rather than any superhuman athleticism. McNamara is a very intelligent player, so can make the crucial pass and connect well in the final third. Defending, however, is just not his thing, and he'll sometimes drift out of games. Range: Late second.
Others to keep an eye on: Moses Adeniran (UAB), Victor Munoz (UCLA), Vaughn Spurrier (Temple), Gonzalo Frechilla (FIU), Michael Calderon (New Mexico), Nathan Page (Drexel), Maximiliano Garcia (Seton Hall), Alex Martinez (NC State), Carlos Montes (Santa Clara), Justin Portillo (Coastal Carolina), Carlos Benavides (Cal St. Northridge), Dante Marini (Northeastern)