The 2018 MLS SuperDraft is fast approaching and soon every fan will have to look a new host of players that could be a part of their squad come Friday (11 am ET, watch on MLSsoccer.com).
Need a handy cheat sheet for some of the top prospects and their tactical matches (doppelgängers, if you will) with current pros? Look no further!
Joao Moutinho (Tim Ream)
A great passer and skilled defender, the questions about 1v1 defending as well as true position are similar for both the Akron product and Fulham man. Another Moutinho comparison is Michael Parkhurst, who has built a great career on reading the game and positioning at center back, rather than relying on physical gifts.
Jon Bakero (Michael de Leeuw)
Both are technical creative players who make a team better when they are on the field. Like de Leeuw, Bakero will have to be shoehorned into a role not fast enough on the wing, not strong enough hold up play at center forward, but as a kind of No. 10, pulling strings for his teammates. As a forward (which is his most likely position), he has a lot of Kenny Cooper in his game, dropping deep to pick up the ball, drawing out the center backs and setting up his wingers.
Francis Atuahene (Ethan Finlay or Kekuta Manneh)
Atuahene (in white) at the Combine | Andy Mead
In reality it is somewhere between these two, as Atuahene is primarily a true winger like Finlay (the Ghanaian is left-sided, however) but can play an inverted role and burst into the center like Manneh. He is very goal-focused right now, probably too much, and shoots on sight like Manneh.
Mason Toye (Juan Agudelo)
Toye (pictured, top) has all the physical skills but also the skill to be a creative center forward or second striker who can score and create for teammates. One of the rawest talents in the draft, his floor would be more like Khiry Shelton, especially if he is pushed out to the wing.
Tomas Hillard-Arce (Tim Parker)
A natural leader, Hilliard-Arce will come into the league as though he were already a veteran, similar to how Parker did. A physical specimen who will do whatever to accomplish the role given to him, Hilliard-Arce struggles with his passing and isn’t going to start the attack, which is also similar to Parker.
Marcelo Acuna (Marco Urena)
I know, I know, two Costa Rican forwards being compared to each other. But the similarity is uncanny, as they both cover a lot of ground and do so much hard work helping their teammates, even if the ball doesn’t end up back to them in the box. Acuna might be more technical and could be an effective forward.
Chris Mueller (Harry Shipp)
Mueller (in blue) in action at the Combine | USA Today Images
Two college No. 10s who will be facilitators coming in from the wing at the next level. Both Mueller and Shipp like to move the ball around quickly and connect with teammates, although Mueller is more athletic than Shipp. Another similar player to Mueller in MLS is Arturo Alvarez.
Wyatt Omsberg (Matt Hedges)
Omsbergtold our own Sam Stejskal this about the comparison: “I think he’s number one [in terms of guys I model my game off of]. He’s the one that my coaches have said kind of try and play like him because he’s physically kind of the same height, he’s really good with his feet, plays great passes, also just a good defender and a good leader out of the back, so he’s the big one for me to watch.”
Chris Lema (Servando Carrasco)
The Georgetown product does the holding midfield roles first and foremost, but also facilitates the attack at times, spraying switches and keeping possession moving, like the veteran Carrasco. Neither player is a top-of-the-line athlete, but Lema can use his brain to hang around the league.
Gordon Wild (Brek Shea)
Like early-period Shea, Wild’s game is very goal-focused and his actions are mostly about getting on his left foot in a dangerous area. If well-harnessed, Wild can be a difference maker, but he needs to develop a feel for the whole team while in MLS.