2014 MLS SuperDraft Top 5: For strike prospects, the goal is goals
The striker position could well be the least forgiving in the game of soccer. Success and failure are binary: Either you are scoring, or you aren't. There's no gray area.
The young guns eligible for selection in Thursday's 2014 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, (12 pm ET, ESPNEWS) to fill this particularly fraught role, however, are probably not too concerned. Don't let their age or their lack of pro experience fool you. These are men who know how to score goals.
1. Patrick Mullins (Maryland) - The stats almost speak for themselves with Mullins. In the last two years, the Maryland standout has scored 36 goals, won the Hermann Trophy twice and made two trips to the College Cup. That story woudn't let on how hard Mullins works, though, or how good he is at reading the game and finding himself space. If he can keep that level of play up in MLS, he's an All-Star. Range: Early first.
2. Mamadou Doudou Diouf (Connecticut) - His output was limited this year by an injury that kept him out of seven games for the Huskies, but in his junior season he banged in 15 goals. The Senegalese striker combines speed and strength to run in behind defenses, finding holes and pouncing on opportunities. Teams may have to get creative, though, because he's not at his best as an all-out No. 9-style target forward. Range: Mid-to-late second.
3. Wojciech Wojcik (Bradley) - The first thing that sticks out with Wojcik is his size -- 6-foot-3 and almost 210 lbs. Unsurprisingly, he's not particularly quick or mobile, but he is absolutely dominant in the air, can find a little bit of space for himself and can get on the end of service. Most importantly, however, he has great touch for a big man and is visionary with the last pass, particularly with his dominant left foot. Range: Mid second.
4. Mark Sherrod (Memphis) - He is your classic English center forward who works hard and loves to get on the back post finish off crosses. The Knoxville, Tenn., native can finish with both feet and, at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, can bang with most guys in a physical battle. On the other hand, his athleticism is not eye-popping, and he still needs to be groomed a little to become an effective striker at the MLS level. Range: Mid-to-late second.
5. Reinaldo Brenes (Akron) - The Costa Rican is not your standard target forward, but that shouldn't stop him from getting picked. Brenes works really hard and is exceptional running off the ball, timing his runs in behind defenses brilliantly. If anything, some say he works too hard, and can wear himself down if he's not careful. Range: Late second.
Others to keep an eye on: Others: Jordan Ongaro (San Diego St.), Goffin Boyoko (UCSB), Pete Caringi (UMBC), Victor Chavez (UCLA), Adnan Gabeljic (St. Louis), Mackenzie Pridham (Cal Poly), Oliver Gore (Rocky Mountain College), Schillo Tshuma (Maryland - GA), Josh Wood (Messiah), Beto Velasquez (Cal State Northridge), Christopher Santana (UC Irvine), Achille Campion (UCSB), Miguel Gonzalez (Seattle), Tim Hopkinson (Old Dominion)