SuperDraft: Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan among top No. 2 selections in MLS history
The Sports Illustrated cover jinx. The US national team's cursed World Cup qualifying history in Costa Rica. Perhaps MLS teams' long-running struggles on Mexican soil in CONCACAF competitions count as well.
And to hear some tell it, you can lump the first overall selections in the MLS SuperDraft in with that star-crossed company, too.
As Nick Firchau explains, the record of No. 1 draft picks is rather checkered. But strangely enough, those taken second have a much higher record of success, and in some cases even epic excellence.
Here is our list of the top five No. 2 picks in SuperDraft history.
5) Brek Shea – With no college experience to his name, the true potential of the soft-spoken but extravagantly-coiffed teenager from College Station, Texas, was hard to estimate when FC Dallas took him with a pick garnered from a trade with Toronto FC in the 2008 draft. Learned eyes both here and abroad have since come to realize that the angular winger's upside was – and still is – enormous.
4) Chad Marshall – The rest of the 2004 SuperDraft field could be forgiven for thinking they were merely extras in “The Freddy Adu Show.” Yet 10 years later, that 14-year-old No. 1 pick is clubless – and his career seemingly rudderless – while Marshall has become synonymous with rugged defensive resiliency.
3) Darlington Nagbe – Since he was plucked from the University of Akron by the expansion Timbers just three years ago, the jury's still out on the Liberian-American attacker to some extent. That said, his improvisational, slicing-and-dicing best – starting with the MLS Goal of the Year in his rookie season – has already captivated millions in the Rose City and beyond.
2) Brad Guzan – Talk about baptisms by fire: The unassuming kid from Chicago entered uncharted territory as Chivas USA's first-ever draft pick in 2005, and was duly shellacked as a rookie goalkeeper for one of the worst teams in league history. But it primed him for a potentially legendary career, as his heroics with Aston Villa and the US national team have shown more recently.
1) Taylor Twellman – Anyone remember who went first in 2002? His name was Chris Gbandi and he was a sturdy defender for many years in Dallas. But those exploits paled in comparison to the scoring machine that Twellman turned out to be when he returned from Germany and was snapped up by New England. Goals are gold, and with more than a century netted in his MLS years, TT was worth more than his weight.