[MLS] Going with the flow, here's a rundown of an MLS mock SuperDraft, first round. The real thing will be held Thursday at the Baltimore Convention Center and shown live on ESPN2 (noon ET). ...
Generation adidas players, whose salaries do not count against the salary cap, are marked by an asterisk (*).
1. Vancouver: Darlington Nagbe*. There’s been no official explanation about why he didn’t play at the Combine and two days before the draft rumors surfaced that he didn’t want to play for Vancouver. He is supposed to address the issue Wednesday. The Whitecaps pick him anyway and if they have to deal him, they’ll deal with it.
2. Portland: Perry Kitchen*. The Timbers will find a place for this skilled, heady player and give him all the time he needs to blossom, which shouldn’t take long though he will miss MLS time to play with the U.S.U-20s.
3. D.C. United. Victor Estupinan. The one-time flagship franchise managed just 21 goals last year and at the Combine Estupinan showed a Latino flavor and nose for goal to a team starved of both elements. So did Joao Plata, but at 18 he may be too young for a desperate D.C.
4. Chivas USA. Jalil Anibaba. An ugly 45 goals conceded last year and the prospect of pairing up this youngster with veteran Jimmy Conrad makes sense. Besides, the speedy, smooth Anibaba reminds one of Coach Robin Fraser, does he not? Well even if he doesn’t he’ll learn fast next to Jimmy C.
5. Philadelphia. A.J. Soares. Penn State and Reading, Pa., product Corey Hertzog would be a great pick but unless the Union is importing some speed in the back line, with Anibaba gone, the Cal kid Soares gets the call.
6. New England. Will Bruin*. The Revs just signed Frenchman Didier Domi, ostensibly to play left back, and since they are painfully weak up top, this is where Herzog or Bruin or even Omar Salgado may wind up.
7. Houston. Zarek Valentin*. If he can pair up with Bobby Boswell, Coach Dominic Kinnear can play Geoff Cameron in midfield and keep looking for a forward to play with Brian Ching.
8. Vancouver. Michael Tetteh*. The Nagbe situation will affect this pick in some manner, but left-sided defensive stud Tetteh might edge out Greg King as the first left back chosen.
9. Chicago. Omar Salgado*. A foreign forward will be signed at some point, but this tall (6-foot-4), talented youngster has lots of room to grow for a franchise that has developed some pretty good players.
10. Sporting Kansas City. Kofi Sarkodie*. He’ll be an upgrade to what they have now and gives SKC a forward element out of the back to complement what should be a potent quartet of attackers.
11. Seattle. John Rooney. The British segment of Seattle’s population will go bonkers on superstar association but those demanding fans will also notice soon enough that this 20-year-old with the big name also has some game. The Sounders have three second-round picks to round out the squad.
12. Columbus. Joao Plata. The Crew needs scoring punch and a bit of guile with Guillermo Barros Schelotto gone; Plata is far from that caliber but on a team with a lot of veterans can be productive in MLS.
13. New York. Justin Meram. Showed at the Combine why he, and the University of Michigan program, is worth paying attention to. Can carve out space for Thierry Henry and Dane Richards and tuck away the occasional goal.
14. Real Salt Lake. Corey Hertzog*. He’s got good size and has shown in college and at the Combine he can score goals. RSL is very well set, and is snug against the salary cap, so this is a “down-the-road” pick for a team that can afford such a luxury. However, this pick is one of the more likely to be traded.
15. San Jose. Greg King. Captain Ramiro Corrales can’t seem to get through a full season healthy, and at age 34, he needs a reliable backup. Plus, if King can handle the job, Bobby Convey can stay further up the park. Another option: Eddie Ababio.
16. Los Angeles. Michael Boxall. He has some flaws in his game but can be mentored by player/coach Gregg Berhalter, is quasi-local (UC Santa Barbara), and perhaps groomed for the day that Omar Gonzalez leaves MLS. Doh!
17. FC Dallas. CJ Sapong. The crafty, explosive David Ferreira and tricky Roger Chavez need a bombs-away striker to play off of, and there’s perhaps a smidge of Jeff Cunningham in this kid.
18. Colorado. Steven Perry. If any of the previously mentioned forwards are still available, Coach Gary Smith will likely grab him. (He’d love Rooney!) Smith will most likely import a striker from overseas but that might take some time and Perry is a good option.