The MLS arms race takes its unique American twist Thursday morning. Starting at 9:30 AM Pacific teams in the league will draft college talent in attempts to improve their fortunes in 2015 and beyond. Seattle Sounders FC's needs are at across the roster - a centerback that can start, a rotational right back, a winger for tactical reasons, depth at keeper, and a complete USL PRO side.
With just the 27th and 40th pick in the second round of the SuperDraft do not look for those first three needs to be filled. Examples of picks in the late 20s by the club are Servando Carrasco, Bryan Meredith and Mike Seamon. In the early 40s the team selected the types of Mike Fucito, Josh Ford, and Alex Caskey. Immediate impact from these late picks is rare. But, Seattle can find long term value.
Expect Seattle to go off of the typical boards. They host their own scouting combines and have a full-time scout that specializes in the domestic game (Kurt Schmid).
TopDrawerSoccer sees players Andy Bevin, Kyler Sullivan and Wesley Charpie in that 27th pick's range. Conor Hallisey, James Rogers and Jordan Murrell with the 40th. But they have Navy defender Joseph Greenspan as the final pick of the SuperDraft (two rounds). Seattle could make a jump for him. He's 1st round talent, but coming from an Academy can create an interesting signing scenario. They also see Catic as a late pick.
Ives disagrees in his final big board. Catic goes high. Zach Steinberger, Connor Brandt and Sergio Campbell are in that late 20s range. None are better than rotational quality (just like most above) so Seattle will get the person they want. Need will not matter. Robbie Lovejoy, Wes Charpie (but late) and James Rogers are seen as values around the 40 spot. Richey goes just earlier.
There are a few players harder to rate because of their non-traditional paths - Catic, Sagi Lev-Ari, and Jaineil Hoilett. Lev-Ari spent time in the Israeli military and is an older forward. Hoilett is the younger brother of Canadian star Junior Hoilett and spent time with various German teams. He's now 22.
Seattle can afford to take flyers and go off board. They don't have needs that will be filled with the draft. That's the advantage of being great. Other teams can sign the college kids that will start in 2015. Seattle's starting XI is close to known already.