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Few gems in mid-teens of recent MLS Drafts

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The last four MLS Drafts haven't seen too much talent around where the Sounders pick (15).

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS SuperDraft kicks off tomorrow, and our preview coverage continues with a look at recent SuperDraft picks in the 13-17 range since the Seattle Sounders are set to make their first pick at 15. This is, of course, if the Sounders front office doesn't trade up or down like they did last season.

2015

  • Defenders Tim Parker (Vancouver, 13th pick) and Axel Sjoberg (Colorado, 14th pick) had average rookie seasons, starting in about half of their teams' MLS matches.
  • One of the highlights of the entire SuperDraft was Cristian Roldan, whom the Sounders traded up to draft at number 16. Roldan played a big role for the Sounders in 2015, filling in for multiple players during the club's injury drought mid-season. He only made 11 starts, but came off the bench in 11 more matches.
2014
  • Midfielder Pedro Ribeiro (Philadelphia, 15th pick) was acquired after a flurry of trades between a number of other clubs. Ribeiro had a below-average season for Philadelphia, starting only 3 games and making a handful of substitute appearances on his way to scoring just two goals. 2015, however, was a much better season for the players. Apparently unwanted by the team who drafted him, Ribeiro was sent to the MLS Expansion Draft for the 2015 season. The Brazilian was selected by expansion club Orlando City, where he made 18 appearances in which he scored two goals and notched two assists.
  • Defender AJ Cochran (Houston, 16th pick) was nearly a regular at the club in his first season, starting for nearly half of Houston's MLS matches. His biggest highlight was probably when his powerful header off a corner kick forced a Columbus Crew own goal. 2015 wasn't as productive for Cochran, as he only made 5 starts and two substitute appearances.
  • The other three players in this range from the 2014 SuperDraft never appeared in MLS matches for their teams and are no longer playing for MLS clubs.
2013
  • Forward Jason Johnson (Houston, 13th pick) had a mediocre rookie season, scoring one goal in 13 appearances. 2014 was even worse for Johnson, as he didn't start a single match in Houston and only made a few substitute appearances. 2015, however, was a different story. Having not made any appearances in the first few matches of the season, Johnson was traded to the Chicago Fire in mid-April. He went on to make 5 starts and 15 substitute appearances, scoring two goals and notching two assists in the process.
  • Midfielder Mikey Lopez (Kansas City, 14th pick) is still with his club after three seasons, but has failed to make an impact in any of those. Lopez never started more than five times for Kansas City, and has spent at least a portion of every season on loan.
  • Defender Taylor Kemp (DC, 17th pick) started his MLS career slowly with only 8 appearances in 2013, but has blossomed for the club in the seasons since. 2014 saw Kemp appear for a solid chunk of MLS matches, but the defender really hit his stride in 2015 when he started in 25 regular season matches out of DC's 34. Kemp scored one goal and tallied a very respectable six assists for the club in 2015, and appeared in all three of DC's postseason matches.
  • The other two players in this range are no longer with MLS clubs.
2012
  • Midfielder Tony Cascio (Colorado, 14th pick) had an excellent rookie season for the Rapids, where he made 18 starts and appeared in another 11 matches. Cascio scored three goals and had three assists in that time. 2013 was a little less kind to the players, as he made only four starts and appeared in 13 overall matches for Colorado. Cascio made a little bit of unique MLS history in 2014, as he became the first player to be loaned within Major League Soccer when Colorado loaned him to the Houston Dynamo. Cascio was later a second round selection by Orlando City in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft. While still with the club as of right now, Cascio failed to make an appearance for Orlando during the 2015 MLS season due to a bulging disc in his back.
  • Forward Andrew Hoffman (Philadelphia, 13th pick) had a poor rookie season for Philadelphia Union, only making seven appearances for the club. Hoffman is no longer at an MLS club.
  • The biggest success story, not only from this range of picks but from the entire 2012 SuperDraft, would be forward Dom Dwyer (Kansas City, 16th pick). While Dwyer's rookie season was rather lean, he started to build some momentum in 2013 when he made 16 appearances for Kansas City and picked up two goals and two assists. 2014 was Dwyer's breakout year, as he played in all but one of his club's 34 MLS matches, and scored 22 goals on his way to being named Sporting Kansas City's Offensive Player of the Year. Dwyer is considered one of the best forwards in Major League Soccer, and even though his 2015 production didn't match up with 2014's, he still played in nearly all of Kansas City's MLS matches and scored 12 goals.
  • Seattle fans might (*might*) remember the name Andrew Duran, as the Sounders selected the defender with their 15th pick in 2012. Duran failed to make an MLS appearance for Seattle, and is no longer playing professional soccer.
We see both sides of the spectrum here, so it's hard to make any real predictions for 2016 and what the Sounders might do. While the club (and fans) will hope to find a gem like Dwyer, the records show that finding such a player is easier said than done.