The first thing to remember about mock drafts is they are always wrong.
Perhaps that’s too blunt of an intro, but nowhere is it truer than when trying to project something like the MLS SuperDraft 2023 presented by adidas.
With overseas and free-agent additions still pending, merging first-team team needs with the draft pool is challenging. Given the information available, it’s better seen as a lens indicating which players to know ahead of draft time.
Here’s a look at how the first round of the draft could play out. There are 11 Generation adidas signings this year and more than 360 players eligible for selection.
Shak Mohammed (Winger, Duke - GA)
There’s a decent amount of wide attacking talent available in the draft pool, and it makes plenty of sense for St. Louis to grab Mohammed. He’s been one of the best players in college soccer for the past two seasons and could impact the expansion club right away.
CJ Fodrey (Winger, San Diego State - GA)
The Nos. 2-5 range seems likely for Fodrey, a left-footed winger out of San Diego State. The freshman has plenty of development ahead of him, but could be an attacking option off the bench. It would make sense for D.C. to aggressively shop the pick, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a trade here.
Editor's note: This pick was traded to Orlando City SC on Dec. 21.
Joey Skinner (Left back, Clemson - GA)
The solid and steady left back would add roster flexibility and depth to Colorado’s backline. They need depth at the position after Lucas Esteves left.
Ilijah Paul (Forward, Washington - GA)
The Pac-12 Player of the Year would make for a good backup to Jeremy Ebobisse. If San Jose end up going center forward here, Duncan McGuire (Creighton) could be a surprise option.
Josh Bolma (Winger, Maryland - GA)
While Bolma’s 2022 season didn’t quite go to plan, he has high-potential upside in the right system. At the very least, he would stretch the field for Houston and provide an attacking outlet from out wide.
Bertin Jacquesson (Forward, Pittsburgh - GA)
Another wide attacker and quality player in the college game, the French winger/forward would bring pace and a threat to Orlando. The Lions need some depth as the reigning US Open Cup champions enter a busy calendar year.
Joey Akpunonu (Center back, Bowling Green - GA)
Atlanta are one of the teams most likely to shy away from picking an international player (though you never know for sure). Akpunonu is a 6-foot-3 center back who would help the team’s backline depth.
Daniel Munie (Center back, Indiana)
Generally seen as one of the top seniors available, Munie slipping to No. 8 would be a nice development for SKC. He’s been a cornerstone of the IU backline over the past few years.
Christian Soto (Midfielder, Washington)
With Seattle stacked in several spots, this pick is less about need and more about finding the right fit. Soto is a scrappy, tough midfielder the Sounders coaching staff would know extremely well.
Moise Bombito (Center back, New Hampshire - GA)
The 6-foot-3 center back is a Montréal native who was dominant this past season in the America East. He’ll be a known commodity to New England’s coaching staff.
Owen O’Malley (Winger, Creighton - GA)
A dynamic wide attacker, O’Malley would be one of the best players available at this point in the draft. He can stretch the field with his speed and create from wide areas, boosting Nashville’s attacking depth.
Patrick Agyemang (Forward, Rhode Island)
While the forward group isn’t that deep, Agyemang could be tried through the middle or out wide as an attacking option. He’d be a useful addition for the Rapids.
Hamady Diop (Center back, Clemson - GA)
Diop is a battle-tested center back who was consistently one of the most talented players in the ACC during his three seasons with Clemson.
J.C. Ngando (Midfielder, UNC Greensboro - GA)
Will one of the international Generation adidas signings fall down the board? It has happened before and could happen again. Ngando was sensational this fall at UNC Greensboro as a creative force. He may not have as high a ceiling as some, but the Frenchman could be a sneaky good depth pickup for the Crew at this spot.
Andreas Ueland (Center back, Virginia)
Ueland is a 6-foot-5 defender who was one of the best in his position during his time in Charlottesville, earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022.
London Aghedo (Center back, Air Force)
Picking at No. 16, RSL could opt for a center back option and will have plenty to choose from. Aghedo is a big, athletic defender who was named WAC Player of the Year. Service academy commitments will linger over him, but he’s a quality player regardless.
Holden Trent (Goalkeeper, High Point)
The goalkeeping spot is up in the air at the moment in Orlando, with the future of Pedro Gallese unclear. Even if he is re-signed, adding Trent, one of the top goalkeepers in the college game, would be a smart move.
Nick Richardson (Right back, Maryland)
With the influx of Generation adidas signings, the chances of a player who could make a roster being here in the late teens increases for Miami. Richardson is one of the top fullbacks in the draft, putting in an excellent season at Maryland this year.
Xavier Zengue (Center back, Dayton)
Zengue’s another senior who had a great season at the right time. He’s a solid defender who anchored a very good Dayton squad in 2022.
Noel Caliskan (Midfielder, Loyola Marymount)
Caliskan is one to watch on draft day, as the German box-to-box midfielder could go in the top 10 or slip out of the first round altogether (think Sofiane Djeffal last year).
Milo Garvanian (Left back, North Carolina)
Versatile and capable of playing several spots, Garvanian could offer depth in midfield or as a wingback for the Red Bulls.
Duncan McGuire (Forward, Creighton)
Possibly adding depth behind Brandon Vazquez and an option for FC Cincinnati 2 in MLS NEXT Pro, McGuire had a season to remember for the Bluejays in 2022. He led the nation in scoring with 23 goals as Creighton reached College Cup weekend.
Sam Fowler (Goalkeeper, Washington)
If LA look to fill a positional need, they could do much worse than choosing Fowler. He’s been a consistent Pac-12 standout for the University of Washington.
Daniel Wu (Center back, Georgetown)
Wu anchored Georgetown’s 2019 College Cup triumph and is as solid and steady as it comes. He’s one of a handful of center back options FCD could opt for in an attempt to increase depth at that spot.
Stephen Afrifa (Forward, Florida International)
The Canadian side could go in a number of different directions here, though grabbing Afrifa brings in a forward who could play through the middle or out wide. He’s from Toronto.
Editor's note: This pick was traded to Real Salt Lake on Dec. 21.
Malcolm Johnston (Midfielder, Maryland)
This is a later pick than perhaps some expect for Johnston, who has been solid and steady as a box-to-box midfielder in College Park.
Cole Jensen (Goalkeeper, Xavier)
Goalkeeping trends in drafts are difficult to read. But Austin could opt for Jensen, an All-American from Xavier who has the frame and quality to be an option in MLS.
Herbert Endeley (Winger, Indiana)
Will Philadelphia actually make this pick? It’s doubtful, though Endeley makes for a decent flier. He could play up front in a two-man forward line where his work rate and speed would be useful.
Aidan Rocha (Right back/midfielder, Georgetown)
The Big East stalwart played in midfield in 2022. Before that, he was a right back, and if he has the athletic profile, would be a real steal here in the late first round.