There is value to be had in the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.
Despite the sizable jump from college soccer to MLS, even recent history shows teams can add key players. Look no further than the recent European transfers of Tajon Buchanan (New England) to Club Brugge and Daryl Dike (Orlando City) to West Bromwich Albion, showing that there are unique chances to add high-upside players.
The 2022 SuperDraft is no different. With an eight-player Generation adidas class, there are ample chances for MLS sides to bring in up-and-coming talent.
Here’s a Round 1 mock draft to parse through, projecting how things could proceed on Tuesday (2:30 pm ET).
Ben Bender (Midfielder, Maryland)
Kipp Keller (Defender, Saint Louis)
If Keller is available here, new Cincy head coach Pat Noonan and general manager Chris Albright shouldn’t think twice. While the Saint Louis standout may not be ready to play immediately, he checks a lot of boxes in terms of previous draft success: young, domestic defender.
Ahmed Longmire (Defender, UCLA)
There’s a long list of solid center back options in this draft pool. Longmire’s one of the more highly rated, despite missing a chunk of the fall season. Toronto can take a shot at boosting the backline depth here, or look to trade down for another option. It will be fascinating to see what Bob Bradley does in his first draft with Toronto.
Isaiah Parker (Forward, Saint Louis)
A left-sided winger, Parker was explosive and difficult to deal with in his lone season at Saint Louis. He could have positional flexibility, as the Dynamo could look to play him up front or convert him to a left back, which would really harness his speed.
Ryan Sailor (Defender, Washington)
Ousseni Bouda (Forward, Stanford)
While striker is a position of need, it’s hard to pass on the potential of Bouda. The winger is a live-wire attacking talent that can score goals and create them, which is something FC Dallas could use. The Generation adidas status is helpful as well.
Mohamed Omar (Midfielder, Notre Dame)
A tall, elegant midfielder with composure on the ball and a clean touch, Omar is one of the top center midfield prospects behind Bender in the draft. Minutes will be available as Chicago enter their first year under head coach Ezra Hendrickson.
Esai Easley (Defender, Grand Canyon)
In a draft pool with plenty of center back options, Easley is one of the better ones available with Sailor, Keller and Longmire off the board. He has the mobility that can be so important to play in a system like San Jose’s.
Farai Mutatu (Forward, Michigan State)
The top senior wide player available, Mutatu offers pace and thrust in attacking spaces. There’s also the possibility you could drop him in as a wingback or outside back, as he has traits that could work out at the next level. Miami are in revamp mode, too.
Kyle Holcomb (Forward, Wake Forest)
Clinical finishers are few and far between in this draft, and Holcomb is the top senior striker on the board at this point. The Rapids can look to pick him and develop him for the MLS side.
Roman Celentano (Goalkeeper, Indiana)
Several goalkeepers could be available at this spot, though Celentano looks to be the better shot-stopper at this point. That, plus his Generation adidas status makes it a simple pick for Montréal.
Philip Quinton (Defender, Notre Dame)
Another team that could be on the hunt for center back depth, Quinton is a 6-foot-6 defender from Oregon that enjoyed a very good career at the ACC program.
Patrick Schulte (Goalkeeper, Saint Louis)
Erik Centeno (Forward, Pacific)
The Freshman of the Year in the West Coast Conference, Centeno projects more as a right back at the next level. If he can make the adjustments necessary and grow into the role, it’s a great pickup for FC Cincinnati.
Sofiane Djeffal (Midfielder, Oregon State)
Some coaches that have observed Djeffal during his time at Oregon State said he’s one of the best players in the college game. The French central midfielder obviously needs an international spot, which will require flexibility if the Red Bulls go in this direction.
Tani Oluwaseyi (Forward, St. John’s)
With a crowded roster already, the Whitecaps can move to take a top domestic player. Oluwaseyi is flying under the radar after missing a big chunk of 2021. He’s a wide attacker that can look to compete for a roster spot and raise the level of the team’s attack.
Jack Lynn (Forward, Notre Dame)
Lynn’s fit in MLS is going to be determined by which team drafts him. After putting together a strong career in South Bend, he could be a fit on either flank if Minnesota keeps playing a 4-2-3-1.
Thor Ulfarsson (Forward, Duke)
Replacing offense is a big task for Orlando this offseason. It’s hard to know which side ends up taking Ulfarsson after the Icelandic forward scored 15 times in the fall 2021 season. He’s an out-and-out No. 9 that looks to finish chances, so he’ll need a supply in order to succeed.
Brett St. Martin (Defender, Maryland)
A talented defender for Maryland, St. Martin’s size projects him more as a stay-at-home right back at the MLS level. He’ll need to prove he can handle the demands of defending wide players in MLS in order to stick as Brooks Lennon’s backup.
Charlie Ostrem (Defender, Washington)
With so many Huskies available in this draft, don’t be shocked if the Sounders look local. Ostrem, Kendall Burks or Achille Robin are names to keep in mind if they are available in Tuesday’s draft. In this scenario, the Sounders go for Ostrem, the Huskies' talented left back.
Justin Rasmussen (Midfielder, Grand Canyon)
There are a handful of left-sided players available in this draft, and Rasmussen is another candidate that the Galaxy could look to snag late in the first round.
Lucas Bartlett (Defender, St. John’s)
Bartlett’s on the older side of things (born in 1997). So while there may not be much development left for the center back, he has the size and skills to be a rotation-caliber center back.
Simon Becher (Forward, Saint Louis)
After having a fantastic season in college soccer, scoring 14 goals and 10 assists, Becher has made a strong case from a statistical perspective. Even after taking Holcomb earlier in the draft, the Rapids could look to add Becher and look to continue his development.
Charlie Asensio (Defender, Clemson)
There are few clear needs on the Revolution roster. Asensio is a former Atlanta United Academy player that was steady and reliable during his career, culminating with a national championship in 2021. He’d make a good leader for the team’s development squad and look to push DeJuan Jones and Christian Mafla for minutes.
Anthony Markanich (Defender, Northern Illinois)
Twin brothers Anthony and Nicholas are both likely to have their names called on Tuesday. The former could end up going here, as he’s a left back that contributes on both sides of the field.
O’Vonte Mullings (Forward, Florida Gulf Coast)
Tristan Trager (Forward, Air Force)
The Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year is a direct, quick forward that could thrive in the right system. He’s unlikely to be available for preseason, which likely nudges him down the draft day. Portland could take a flier on him at this point, following the success of Zac McGraw, who remains on the roster after being selected in 2020 out of West Point.
Kendall Burks (Defender, Washington)
The third Husky likely to go in the first round, Burks is currently in England for a trial (he holds a UK passport). Still, it would be savvy for NYCFC to pick him here to boost center back depth – Burks also showed he could play on the right side in the fall 2021 season for UW.