ORLANDO, Fla. – Day two of the 2018 MLS Adidas Player Combine is in the books, and coaches are starting to really put together profiles on these players. A long list of players produced solid performances on Monday, and overall the quality of the Combine games has been better than expected.
Here is a list of a few guys who stood out.
Francis Atuahene - A repeat on the Stock Up list, Atuahene knows he will be in MLS next year with his contract signed, but continues to show that he is the cream of the Generation adidas attacking crop. A very direct attacker, he brings enough nuance to his game to be effective and has shown top-level technique. On a squad with good attacking pieces, he could provide a good shot of energy off the bench, similar to Jonathan Lewis at New York City FC.
Chris Mueller - The leading assist man in NCAA soccer last year has not had the chance to dominate the game at the Combine like he did in college. But Mueller has shown he can be dangerous from the wing and his first-time passing has been very impressive, showing he can still affect the game with fewer touches.
Chris Lema - A New York Red Bulls academy product, the holding midfielder brings a lot to the table with his passing, vision and communication. RBNY have a glut of young center mids, so Lema has not been offered a Homegrown contract. But on Monday he focused his team's attack on the oppositions’ weaknesses and distributed the ball well.
Thomas Vancaeyezeele - Coming from a Division II program – even as the national D2 player of the year from the national championship winners University of Charleston – the Frenchman was as big an unknown at this Combine as anyone. Yet Vancaeyezeele has stood out as a No. 6 on both days, breaking up play in tough spots and completing all his passes. Vancaeyezeele played defender a lot in college and we’d like to see him there on the final day of the Combine.
Ben Lundgaard - Competing with Jeff Caldwell for the title of top goalkeeper prospect (both of them had a good day two), Lundgaard stood out with his double save off a penalty kick. Even though his team conceded, he made a number of good saves and also impressed with his distribution, dropping passes into tight spaces in the midfield a few times.
Joao Moutinho - Could very well still be the No. 1 pick at the Superdraft, but this was not a good day for the Portuguese defender. The question mark around Moutinho, who is a technical player with a high soccer IQ, is his position at the next level. After playing center back at Akron, he has said he believes left back is his true position. Given the chance to play there on Monday, he didn’t look fully comfortable either going forward or defending out wide.
Edward Opoku - An anonymous performance from the last addition to this year’s GA class. Opoku struggled on the right wing, and coaches will expect the Ghanaian attacker to come out more aggressive on the last day of play.
Alan Winn - Another dangerous winger who hasn’t been able to put his mark on a game here in Orlando yet. Winn is a former US U-17 national team player with a strong pedigree, but he needs to hit the ground running on day three to leave a positive mark in the coaches’ minds.