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Intrigue surrounds top picks
by Paul Kennedy, January 14th, 2013 12:05AM
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TAGS:  chivas usa, mls, toronto fc

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[MLS SUPERDRAFT COUNTDOWN] There is a lot of intrigue surrounding the top picks in this year's MLS SuperDraft. Who will Toronto FC pick with the No. 1 pick? Andrew Farrell or Walker Zimmerman? Which Mexican-American will go to Chivas USA at No. 2? Mikey Lopez or Carlos Alvarez? Which Jamaican will go first? Jason Johnson, Deshorn Brown or Ashton Bennett. For a look at five key questions surrounding the draft as well as what happened at first two days of the adidas MLS Player Combine ...

1. Who will be taken with the No. 1 pick?

Up until the combine, opinion has been split on whether Toronto FC will take Louisville's Andrew Farrell or Furman's Walker Zimmerman, both center backs. After the first days of play at the combine, it looks like Toronto (or whoever has the No. 1 pick) will take Farrell, who has looked like the most polished player at the combine. Even if Zimmerman, who is injured, was in Lauderhill, TFC probably would have taken Farrell, who is the more versatile player. He can also play at right back or even some in midfield.

2. Which Mexican-American will Chivas USA take with the No. 2 pick?

New Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez tweeted in his broken English that Chivas USA will indeed take a Mexican-American with the second pick of the draft:


Fortunately for Chivas USA, two attractive picks are available: North Carolina sophomore Mikey Lopez and UConn senior Carlos Alvarez, who have also stated their desire to play for Chivas USA. Lopez, a holding midfielder, might be considered a slightly better pro prospect than Alvarez, a playmaker. But Alvarez has a few things in his favor. He's a Los Angeles product and his father played for Chivas de Guadalajara.

3. What will Toronto do with the No. 3 pick?

One thing that could get in the way of Chivas USA having the choice between Lopez and Alvarez is Toronto, which has the option of taking Lopez or Alvarez -- it would most likely want Lopez -- with the No. 1 pick and holding off on taking Farrell (or Zimmerman) until No. 3, knowing that Chivas USA is committed to a Mexican-American. More likely: Toronto could trade the No. 3 pick to a team that might want Zimmerman. Besides Zimmerman, other players who could go in the No. 3 spot are Gambian teenager Kekuta Manneh or Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta.

4. Which Jamaican forward will go first?

Before the combine, the consensus was that VCU junior Jason Johnson was the best of the Jamaicans available and could go as high as No. 3 in the draft. For a game and a half, Johnson showed absolutely nothing at the combine, but a great move set up Brazilian Stefano Pinho for a great goal in the second half of Power's game on Sunday. Deshorn Brown, the other Jamaican signed to a Generation adidas contract, missed an easy chance in the second half of Sunday's game, but he was otherwise a threat for AdiPure in its 0-0 with Prime on Sunday. Ashton Bennett, the only senior in the bunch, is also in the mix but generally considered the third best of the three Jamaicans.

5. How many Canadians will go in to the first round?

Besides Toronto with picks 1 and 3, two other teams have two first-round round picks in 2013, and they happen to be MLS's other two Canadian teams: Vancouver with picks 5 and 10 and Montreal with 8 and 18. Canadians take up international slots on MLS American teams but not on Canadian teams, so this is a boon year for Canadians seeking to be taken in the draft. It just so happens that this is a good year for Canadians coming out of U.S. colleges. Boston College's Kyle Bekker and Oregon State's Emery Welshman both scored in the first 20 minutes of Zero's 3-2 win over Power in combine action on Sunday. Bennett, who scored on Friday and had an assist on Power's third goal on Sunday, also holds Canadian residency. Michigan's Kofi Opare, who played for the U.S. U-20s, resides in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Combine Results:
ZERO 3 POWER 2.

ZERO -- Kyle Bekker (Emery Welshman) 12
ZERO -- Emery Welshman (Erik Hurtado) 20
POWER -- Stefano Pinho (Michael Bustamante) 52
ZERO -- Charlie Rugg (Ashton Bennett) 72
POWER --  Stefano Pinho (Jason Johnson) 75

Pinho goal:


PRIME 0 ADIPURE 0.

ADIPOWER 2, PRIME 2
POW -- John Stertzer (Jason Johnson) 24
POW -- Stefano Pinho (Don Anding, Chris Thomas) 49
PRI -- Carlos Alvarez (Eriq Zavaleta) 54
PRI -- Kekuta Manneh (Carlos Alvarez) 64

Alvarez goal:

ADIZERO 4, ADIPURE 0

ZERO -- Dillon Powers (Kyle Bekker) 7
ZERO -- Ashton Bennett (Andrew Farrell) 22
ZERO -- Luke Spencer 24
ZERO -- Charlie Rugg (Dillon Powers) 59

Powers goal:



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