The draft is next week and the once top heavy draft with four players that could go number has lost some of its luster as Ike Opara stayed in school and it is nearly certain that Marcus Tracy goes to Europe rather than stays home.
Part of this is due to the nature of the Generation Adidas contracts (Tracy as a senior wouldn't make as much money in MLS as the underclassmen), and another part is that the MLS SuperDraft is more like MLB than it is the NBA and NFL. Even high first round picks don't usually make an immediate impact.
Over the last four years only 5 outfielders picked in the top four played more than half the available league minutes with their club in the year of their draft. Three players played less than 4% of available minutes. Only two made goalscoring impacts and only one had decent assist numbers. Five made decent impacts defensively with Sean Franklin probably the highlight on that.
It is important to note that the Goals Against Average loses a lot of meaning for the players that didn't get as much playing time. I counted appearences of over 10 minutes, and always included goals when the player was on the field. It is rough. For the season I will be tracking Goals, Assists, Clean Sheets, GAA, GFA, +/- and points won times % played for League, Cup and Friendly matches.
Sounders FC really only has two choices if they don't deal the #1 pick.
I can't argue with either choice, and while all indicators seem to point to Zakuani, it is unlikely that his impact will be felt in year one. He would provide depth at forward, but likely as the 4th option behind Jaqua, Le Toux, and some signee.
Just remember though, that no matter who Seattle Sounders FC drafts, it isn't the immediate impact we are looking for, but what he does in a few years. That list is impressive - Frankin, Wynn, Edu, Harrington, Soumare, Ballouchy, Barrett and O'Roure are all useful in this league or better. Garey and Movsisyan look like they could be stepping out as well.
International signings and USL-Sounders will be the key to 2009. This year's draft could fuel '10.