[MLS SUPERDRAFT COUNTDOWN] MLS will hold its 2013 SuperDraft Thursday in Indianapolis. Our mock draft is top heavy on center backs and forwards and also
features several promising two-way midfielders, as well as one highly rated playmaker. Several teams are also looking to trade up, so this year's draft shapes up as one of the most
interesting since it became a national event.
1 Toronto FC. Andrew Farrell (Louisville). Farrell, who grew up in Peru, where his parents were missionaries, and finished high school in Louisville, was unknown on the national scene when he came out of high school in 2010. Three years later, he's the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2013 SuperDraft. He began his college career in midfield but is projected to play at center back or right back for Toronto.
2 Chivas USA. Carlos Alvarez (Connecticut). Usually, it's the team with the No. 1 pick that declares its intentions ahead of the draft. But Chivas USA has already indicated it will take Mexican-American Alvarez with the No. 2 pick, so it had him pull out of Monday's combine finale.
3 Toronto FC. Walker Zimmerman (Furman). Having acquired the rights to Gale Agbossoumonde via a weighted lottery and taken Farrell with the No. 1 pick, Toronto doesn't need Zimmerman, so it will likely package a deal to a team that wants the Furman giant. Colorado is believed to covet Zimmerman, so he could end up at the Rapids. If Toronto keeps its pick, the likely pick would be Mikey Lopez.
4 New England. Kekuta Manneh (Austin Aztex). The Revs will likely take a forward and they have the pick of a half a dozen prospects. Before the combine, Jason Johnson was rated the top forward, but a poor showing in Florida will likely drop him down in the draft. Manneh, the Gambian teenager, has the biggest upside of the other prospects.
5 Vancouver. Kyle Bekker (Boston College). No player helped his cause more at the combine than Bekker. On top of that he's a Canadian, so he won't take up an international player spot with the Whitecaps, who need help in midfield. The other candidate: Lopez, who lost the Chiva sweepstakes to Alvarez.
6 Colorado. Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana). If the Rapids don't land Zimmerman via a trade with Toronto, they will likely take the next best center back still available. Zavaleta played up front during his two seasons at IU, but his future in MLS is at center back.
7 FC Dallas. Mikey Lopez (North Carolina). Dallas, which needs help in midfield, will be in luck if Lopez is still available at No. 7. Dillon Powers, a former Development Academy Player of the Year from Dallas club Andromeda, would also be a good fit.
8 Montreal. Jason Johnson (VCU). The Impact needs help up front, and it will be hard to pass up on Johnson, the best forward in terms of raw ability in the draft. Another Jamaican, Ashton Bennett, impressed on the third day of the combine and has the advantage of holding Canadian residency so he won't eat up an international player slot.
9 Columbus. Eric Hurtado (Santa Clara). Hurtado played for the Timbers U-23s team in the PDL last summer, but the parent club's claim for homegrown status was rejected. Too bad. He played well at the combine, and his ability to play several attacking positions makes him an attractive pick. Add in homegrown signings Wil Trapp and Chad Barson and Hurtado's selection would complete a very good rookie class.
10 Vancouver. Emery Welshman (Oregon State). Welshman is the second best Canadian in the draft after Bekker. Like Bekker, he improved his stock with a solid combine.
11 Chicago. Blake Smith (New Mexico). The pending departure of Uruguayan Alvaro Fernandez on loan to a club in Qatar creates a need for help on the wings, and Smith is the best pure winger in the draft. He was third in both the 30-meter sprint and agility shuttle at the combine.
12 Real Salt Lake. Deshorn Brown (UCF). RSL needs help up front, where only Alvaro Saborio returns. It's looking to re-sign Ryan Findley, who was released by English club Nottingham Forest, but Brown would be a good pick if still available.
13 Houston. Dylan Tucker-Gagnes (Washington). Andre Hainault's decision to join Scottish club Ross County leaves the Eastern Conference champs rather thin in the back. It will have the choice of several prospects at center back or left back.
14 Sporting KC. John Stertzer (Maryland). Stertzer would join another former Terrapin, Graham Zusi, whom he'd provide cover for when he's away with the U.S. national team. Zusi wasn't taken until the 23rd pick in the 2009 draft, but Stertzer won't go that low after a good combine.
15 San Jose. Dillon Powers (Notre Dame). The former U.S. U-20 midfielder would fit the bill of being the best player still available for the Quakes and give them depth in midfield.
16 Seattle. Ryan Finley (Notre
Dame). The Sounders have addressed some of their needs in the back with the signing of homegrown player Andre Yeldin out of Akron, so Finley, a forward, would provide depth up front.
17 D.C. United. Kory Kindle (Cal State Bakersfield). D.C. United has rebuilt itself through the draft. Starters Chris Korb, Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen and Chris Pontius all were acquired via the draft. It needs help at left back, where three good players would be still available. Kindle probably gets the nod over Taylor Kemp (Maryland) and Jimmy Nealis (Georgetown), who played in United's backyard.
18 Montreal. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina). Bennett would give Montreal two Jamaican forwards and as noted he would come with the added benefit of having Canadian residency, which means he wouldn't cost the Impact an international player slot.
19 Los Angeles. Taylor Kemp (Maryland). Last year, the Galaxy had the 19th pick in the draft and took Tommy Meyer, a defender out of Indiana who ended up starting in MLS Cup 2012 after A.J. DeLaGarza was sidelined. The Galaxy already signed homegrown players Gyasi Zardes, a forward, and Oscar Sorto, a center back, so even if it's stuck with the last pick of the first round again, it has already added some depth. Kemp would give the Galaxy a back-up to Todd Dunivant at left back.
Rounding out the top 25: CB Eric Schoenle (West Virginia), F Will Bates (Virginia), LB Jimmy Nealis (Georgetown), CB Tommy Muller (Georgetown), CB Kofi Opare (Michigan), M Donnie Smith (Charlotte).