The MLS Superdraft - Center Mids and Fullbacks

Updated based on Vegas Combine Reports

The Superdraft will be one of the best ways for the Sounders to get some depth in key positions. A number of commentators believe it could be one of the deeper drafts in MLS history.

The draft will be important for the Sounders this year since they are near the salary cap and still have some holes to fill. Most of the players drafted can fill the six new slots created by MLS for players 24 and under. Generation Adidas (G.A.) players do not count against the cap and there are likely to be 8-10 GA players this year.

The Sounders have the 11th, 21st, 27th, 29th, 47th and 65th (I added the Ljungberg trade as revealed by Adrian, though the 27th pick could wind up as the 9th - Dave)overall picks. Here's the SAH post expansion draft depth chart. Priorities in the first round will probably be a full back or central midfielder since the Sounders need depth in those areas. So, I was mainly looking at fullback and center midfielders. Below are some names I’ve researched off the web that seem like they could be good fits.

PERRY KITCHEN – Kitchen is a freshman defensive midfielder for red-hot Akron. He’s got the size and the motor to play well as a defensive midfielder in MLS. Kitchen would be a great long-term backup for Alonso in the midfield. He may not leave school, but if he does, he’s likely to be a G.A. player and a high first round pick which may mean he’s off the board by the time the Sounders get their selection.

KOFI SARKODIE – Kofi is another Akron product likely to get a G.A. deal and go early in the draft. Many consider him the best attacking full-back in the draft. He would be an ideal fit for Sigi’s system if he should drop to 11th which isn’t terribly likely.

ZAREK VALENTIN – Another underclassman currently playing soccer for the Akron Zips. He plays center back currently, but at an undersized 5’11’’ he’ll probably need to switch to fullback in MLS. He’s a good, consistent passer that can ignite an attack out of the defense. Just like the two before he’s likely to secure a G.A. deal if he leaves college, but could possibly fall to the Sounders at the 11th overall pick.

DILLON POWERS – Before attending Notre Dame, Dillon earned a number of national awards for young soccer players and he was the youngest member of the U-20 World Cup squad. He’s a more attacking minded central midfield. He might stay another year in school, but if he doesn’t, he will probably be a first round pick.

MICHAEL FARFAN – The UNC midfielder is considered one of the most talented seniors in the SuperDraft. He’s an attacking midfielder that combines good vision and passing. He reminds me a lot of Michael Seamon which is a good thing, but also means there could be some overlap with what Seamon provides off the bench and what Farfan could provide.

ANDREW WENGER – A tough, fast, physical sophomore who can play both in the defense and the defensive midfield. He’s a smart player with good ball control and vision. He often starts the Duke attack out of the defensive third after winning possession of the ball. He may not come out of college this year, but if he does, he could be a good first round choice.

MICHEAL TETTEH – Michael is a young, speedy left back/left winger from Ghana who currently plays for UCSB. Sound like anyone who just left Seattle after the expansion draft? He currently plays in an area of the country Sigi is familiar with and probably has coaching connections. However, injuries are a concern. Those concerns do mean that the Sounders could have the opportunity to pick him up in the second round.

DANIEL KEAT – Keat was the New Zealand National Youth League Player of the Year before coming to the U.S. to attend school at Dartmouth. He’s skilled and has the work-rate to play as a box-to-box midfield in Sigi’s system. He sounds a lot like a younger Brad Evans. He’s not fast, but has an excellent ability to read the game and a good cross. However, he’s missed large chunks of playing time while at Dartmouth due to injuries. He could be a solid 2nd round pick for Seattle.

LUIS SILVA – I couldn’t find out much about UCSB junior Luis Silva, but he could be a good 2nd or 3rd round selection. He had a great freshman season as a midfielder and has been described as someone who both skillful and a hard worker. His life story reminds me a lot of David Estrada. He’s an L.A. product and has played with the Chivas USA U-19 team for two years so they might pick him up early.

--Updated 12/09/2010—

Just hours after I put up this fan post the list of MLS combine players hit the internet. I’ve updated the list with some of the seniors that will be at the combine.

ANTHONY AMPAIPITAKWONG – Ampaipitakwong, the senior midfielder from Akron, is on almost everyone’s list of first round selections. He’s quick, versatile and has a good passing touch. However, he’s relatively small and physical play can easily take him off his game. Ampaipitakwong would need to rely heavily on a CDM partner. Still, he’s the kind of creative player that makes everyone else on the pitch better and he could be the best pure player on the board when the Sounder’s 11th pick rolls around.

DEMITRIUS OMPHROY – Omphroy, a versatile young player, anchored the right back position for a very good University of California team. Previously, he played both in the midfield and as a forward and he continues to get involved in the Cal attack notching up a career high six assists in his senior season. He has experience at the USMNT youth levels and also received an invite to the Panamanian National Team camp this summer.

BILAL DUCKETT – Duckett is a solid athlete with good strength, size and speed for the right back position. He missed his freshman season for the N.D. Irish due to a leg injury and didn’t see playing time in his sophomore season. Duckett looks like a late bloomer who has the physical gifts to make the jump to the MLS. I personally think he sounds a lot like an older and less experienced Akeem Adams. Still, he might make sense as a late round pick that you can bring to training camp.

J.T. MURRAY – Information on Murray is a bit sparse, but what I saw I liked. The senior started his college career in the midfield for Louisville and started every game as a freshman. In his junior year, he moved to the left back position which he’s played well. He could possibly do double duty for the Sounders as a fullback and a defensive midfielder. He’s not an exciting pick, but his broad utility across the defensive third makes me think of a more defensive minded Roger Levesque. Considering he’s not being talked about much, I’m sure the Sounders could pick up him up in the late second or early third round of the draft.

ERNESTO CARRANZA – Information on Carranza is relatively sparse, but he sounds like a senior with some real skills. He plays mostly as a withdrawn forward or advanced CAM. Like Montero he needs open space to create an attack, but does an excellent job of setting up teammates. He’s also skilled on the ball and confident enough to take on multiple defenders. He needs to work on his defense and there’s a question of how well his skills will translate to the MLS where open space is a rare commodity. He could be a good late round pick.

MATT GOLD – Gold looks like a solid choice if you’re looking for an experienced senior who can come in right away and play. Gold is an aggressive defensive midfielder with great energy who can cover the entire field. He also receives high praise from the coach of Ohio State for his leadership and work ethic. He consistently logged the most minutes of any outfield player at Ohio State. At 5’9’’ and 165 pounds he’s undersized for the CDM role in the MLS. However, as we know with Alonso, hard work can overcome a small stature. I think he’ll probably go late in the draft if he goes at all.

-- Updated 12/19/2010 ---

Some names have come out of the mini-combine the Sounders are holding in Vegas this weekend. According to Tacoma at Seattle Soccer Talk there are 62 field players and 6 goalkeepers who've been invited to the combine. David Falk at the Seattle Soccer Examiner has released some of the players there and has done 2 interviews on his blog. I've included some internet research on the defenders and midfielders.

None of the players mentioned below were invited to the MLS combine.

JAVED MOHAMMED - Mohammed is a small, quick left back originally from Trinidad. The senior started all 21 games for USF this year. He has an accurate left foot from set pieces, but his potential is marred by inconsistency.

BRAYAN MARTINEZ - Brayan was a senior leader in the midfield for Seton Hall this past year. He was born in Uruguay before immigrating to NJ. He had a standout freshman year and has played significant minutes every year. Martinez is small for an MLS midfielder, but has good ball skills and a passing touch.

MATT MARCIN -Senior Matt Marcin was the spark in the midfield and the most dangerous offensive option for Providence College. He started on the wings his Freshman year before moving into a more CAM role. He has a low center of gravity, turns quickly and has good technical skills. However, he could have problems with the size and physicality of the MLS. He sounds similar to Fucito, but I haven't seen anything to indicate he has the same nose for goals as Fucito.

JC BANKS - I wasn't able to find much on this senior who played midfield for the Green Bay Phoenix. His bio looks similar to the other midfielders at the Vegas combine. A smaller, quicker CAM who will probably be undersized in the MLS.

--Updated 12/10/2010—

I added Bobby Warshaw on the recommendation of AVUrlacher. Also, pro player pipeline has completely a pretty extensive list of defenders in the draft along with his own draft grades.

BOBBY WARSHAW - Warshaw was a well regarded senior leader, dedicated player and a fierce, fierce competitor in the back for Stanford this last season. He's a versatile player who'll play anywhere on the pitch. I've seen him listed on the web as a center back, center midfielder and forward at various points of his college career. He played most of this year at central defense. Bobby was the leading scorer for Standford three times which is a remarkable feat for a player who spent most of college career on the back line. He sounds like a great utility guy who can play in multiple positions and can bring some passion and toughness off the bench. Currently, he looks like he'll be a second round pick although a good combine showing could have him moving up into the late 1st round.

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