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2012 MLS Mock Draft: Fun starts at three
The 2012 MLS Draft is set for Thursday, and while teams throughout the league are embroiled in trade talks to either move or up down the draft order, the pool of prospective draft picks has come into focus after the weekend’s MLS Combine.
Players like UCSB midfielders Luis Silva and Sam Garza and Dartmouth striker Lucky Mkosana saw their stock rise, while Louisville teammates Nick DeLeon and Colin Rolfe and Generation adidas defender Tyler Polak saw their draft stock tumble after some shaky (or non-existent) showings.
MLS teams aren’t putting everything on Combine performances though, not with more and more teams having dedicated scouting systems. Not all MLS teams approach scouting the college game the same, though, so there is still a good chance some players will go earlier than expected after impressing the right team.
Predicting how this year’s draft will play out is even tougher than previous years because so many teams are looking to trade either up or down. The No. 3 and No. 4 overall picks are the hottest commodities as teams position themselves to snag one of the playmakers available after expected top two picks Darren Mattocks and Andrew Wenger come off the board. With that in mind, here is how we can see the 2012 MLS Draft playing out on Thursday:
FOX SOCCER 2012 MLS MOCK DRAFT - FIRST ROUND
2. Vancouver Whitecaps
Andrew Wenger, Defender/Midfielder, Duke
6'0", 185 pounds, Junior
22 games, 17 goals, 8 assists
The Whitecaps desperately want Wenger, and unless Montreal pulls a curve ball, Vancouver should land the US Under-23 player and Hermann Award winner. Boasting the ability to play as a center-back, defensive midfielder and even right back, Wenger is just a flat-out good player who has the qualities to be an all-star.
4. Toronto FC
Luis Silva, Midfielder, UCSB
5'11", 163 pounds, Senior
22 games, 17 goals, 10 assists
No player boosted their draft stock more than Silva, who was arguably the most impressive of a strong group of attacking midfielders at the Combine. Boasting good quickness, a sharp passing touch and good vision, Silva is one of the players multiple teams are interested in trading up to try to acquire.
6. San Jose Earthquakes
Sam Garza, Forward/Midfielder, UCSB
5'11", 160 pounds, Junior
23 games, 8 goals, 4 assists
The departure of Bobby Convey leaves a void on the left flank for San Jose, one that Shea Salinas alone can’t fill. Look for the Earthquakes to snag the most impressive winger at the Combine. Garza’s speed, technical quality and versatility (he can play forward and as a winger), makes him the perfect fit at No. 6.
8. Portland Timbers
Matt Hedges, Defender, North Carolina
6'4", 185 pounds, Senior
26 games, 6 goals, 1 assist
The Timbers could use some depth on the wing and could be tempted to grab a player like Tony Cascio or Nick DeLeon, but John Spencer will be hard-pressed to pass on Hedges, the best center-back in the draft.
10. Columbus Crew
Chandler Hoffman, Forward, UCLA
6'0", 160 pounds, Junior
24 games, 18 goals, 6 assists
The Crew have already added some impressive talent in Matt Lampson and Ben Speas as Homegrown players, but they can still use some more depth at forward, and Hoffman is the perfect fit. His nose for goal and intelligent movement make him a constant creator of goals and chances, even if he isn’t the most athletic of forward options.
12. Toronto FC
Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Defender, Connecticut
6'2", 205 pounds, Senior
25 games, 2 goals, 1 assists
TFC will have to be pretty happy to come away from the first round with an elite playmaker like Silva and a young and promising center-back in Jean-Baptiste. Many coaches rave about his upside, but there are some questions about his technical qualities and decision making. He does boast outstanding athletic qualities and has the highest ceiling in the deep center-back pool.
14. Colorado Rapids
Aaron Maund, Defender, Notre Dame
6'1", 185 pounts, Senior
18 games, 0 goals, 2 assists
The Rapids are in dire need of some centerback depth and Maund is the perfect prospect to step in and provide minutes and an eventual starting option.
16. Sporting Kansas City
Calum Mallace, Midfielder, Marquette
16 games, 3 goals, 6 assists
Sporting KC could use some central defense depth and could easily grab Creighton product Andrew Duran, but landing a central midfielder like Mallace, who impressed at the Combine with his two-way ability, could be tough for Peter Vermes to pass up.
18. Houston Dynamo
Lucky Mkosana, Forward, Dartmouth
5'9", 169 pounds, Senior
17 games, 10 goals, 1 assists
The Dynamo are in dire need of some forward options, and that’s even if Brian Ching is rescued from his Montreal “prison." No forward boosted his stock more than Mkosana, who showed an ability be a strong and skilled target forward. He answered questions about being able to play against elite level college talent and could be a surprise first-rounder.
FOX SOCCER 2012 MLS MOCK DRAFT - SECOND ROUND
20. Montreal Impact - Andy Rose, Midfielder, UCLA
21. Vancouver Whitecaps - Evan James, Midfielder, Charlotte
22. New England Revolution - Babayele Sodade, F, UAB
23. Chicago Fire - Ethan Finlay, F/W, Creigton
24. Real Salt Lake - Hunter Jumper, LB, Viringia
25. San Jose Earthquakes - Colin Rolfe, F, Louisville
26. Columbus Crew - Tommy Meyer, CB, Indiana
27. Portland Timbers - Alec Purdie, RW, Indiana
28. Chicago Fire - James Kiffe, LB, UCSB
29. Columbus Crew - Greg Jordan, M, Creighton
30. Sporting KC - Evans Frimpong, F/M, Delaware
31. New York Red Bulls - Chris Blais, G, South Florida
32. Phildelphia Union - Justin Chavez, CB, Tulsa
33. San Jose Earthquakes - Antoine Hoppenot, F, Princeton
34. Seattle Sounders - Jason Banton, LM, International (England)
35. Philadelphia Union - Brian Ownby, F/W, Virginia
36. Real Salt Lake - Kohei Yamada, M, International (Japan)
37. Houston Dynamo - Kirk Urso, M, North Carolina
38. LA Galaxy - Charles Rodriguez, CB, Charlotte
Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FOXSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the US National Team.
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