Gettin' Drafty | Part 1: What's in a First Round?

Friday will drop another mystery bag of fresh-faced youngsters onto the rosters of the 13 active MLS franchises in the 2008 SuperDraft (now with wiki-compliant nomenclature!). Of course, Revs fans everywhere will be tuning in to see what fabulous nugget Nicol and company manage to sift from the manure this year. For supporters of the other clubs, draft day is often a mixed bag of massive hopes, WTF? moments, and furious google-ing to get the dirt on their newest additions.

Of course, this being soccer in the States, we'll get treated to about 2/3 of the first round on the "Entertainment and Sports Leader" before they cut away to competitive gardening or some such "action"(damn Bob, look at that grass grow--it's about a millimeter higher than yesterday!). Which raises a question. With collegiate scouting by MLS being fractionally better at finding talent than reading tea leaves, what is the value of a first rounder anyway? Let's take a look at the SuperDraft Round 1 Class of 2007.

01 >
Edu (TOR)
4 goals, MLS Rookie of the Year, National Team call-ups resulting in standout performances, interest from abroad. Yeah, you could say this one panned out pretty well for the Canucks.

02 > Soumare (CHI)
Featured in the majority of Chicago's matches, starting 11 of them. Still raw, but the potential was there to see. Whether he can be molded into the finished product is still a question, so the justification for drafting Soumare this high is still yet to be provided.

03 > Harrington (KC)
A regular starter for the Wiz, Harrington bagged an impressive 3 goals and 4 assists and was in the running for Rookie of the Year. Hope he enjoys trying to dribble across the infield of that baseball stadium they'll be kicking around in next year. Any pick that contributes as much as Harrington did is a good pick.

04 > Seitz (RSL)
Saw limited action for RSL, but showed well for the US U-20's and even had a look-in at the senior level. It's hard for keepers to have an immediate impact, but all signs point to Seitz following in the tradition of some excellent US netminders. A solid pick for an RSL team that really needs to put together a strong spine if it's ever going to be a competitor.

05 > Thompson (NE)
The Draft Day Kings do it again. Thomspson didn't start out so hot, but he finished the year as a regular starter for the MLS Cup perennial runners-up, and will probably solidify his spot on the Revs roster next year with Dorman moving on to Scotland and Ralston going gentle into that good night (or the rest home--whichever gets the old codger first).

06 > Colaluca (COL)
Apparently, he featured in four games for Clavijo's Clowns. Who knew? I mean, beyond the Rapids fans--all five of them? Buh-dum-dum . . . Thank you, thank you, I'll see myself out now . . enjoy the pork. Did they sack Clavijo yet? Christ almighty, can't they do anything right?

07 > Cunliffe (CHV)
Only 3 goals from 15 appearances for the forward, but only 5 of those appearances were starts. Cunliffe had his moments for the Goats and looks a decent player, though other forwards selected lower in the draft were more productive. It's tough to shine in junk minutes behind the likes of Razov and Galindo, so I'll give him more time to make an impact.

08 > Monteiro (CHI)
In five appearances for the Fire, Monteiro scored a solitary goal against DC United, whereupon he promptly found himself traded to the Black-and-Red, where he scored for the reserves, but failed to crack the first team. The fact that United acquired the striker for a third round pick does not bode well for his future potential, but we shall see what Soehn and company have in mind for next year in a team looking to add depth to the striking pool.

09 > Wallace (FCD)
Wallace earned more minutes playing for the U-20's this summer than he did for his club side, but he sure made Tim Ward look expendable in those U-20 outings. Then again, a one-legged midget with epilepsy and a drinking problem could probably outperform Ward these days, so talk about your faint praise. That said, I seem to remember Wallace putting somebody through on goal with a nice ball from defense--let's see a one-legged epileptic midget pull that one off! Wallace may prove to be a decent pick-up down the road, but he hasn't shown it yet in MLS.

10 > Boyens (TOR)
The Kiwi was a regular starter for TFC, but the Canucks boasted a miserable defense. So what conclusions should a Fullback draw? Well, his MLS bio lists his favorite book as The DaVinci Code, so TFC will have to hope that he's a better reader of the game than he is of books if he's to pan out for them in the long-term. Ugh.

11 > Arguez (DC)
Very young, very raw, and didn't see a minute for the Supporters' Shield-winning senior squad. Now he's off galavanting around Europe. Trials or training? Who knows--hopefully, he'll see the Euro-carrot dangling and work his ass off to pick up minutes for the big boys, because the departure of Brian Carroll leaves a lot of minutes on the table for any player hungry enough to grab them.

12 > Igwe (NE)
Didn't see the time that fellow rookies Thompson and Christman did for the Revs. In fact, he didn't see any minutes for the senior side. Admittedly, the Revs do have a pretty established back line, but absolutely zero minutes for a club that doesn't mind blooding the youngsters has to be a bit worrying.

13 > Hayden (HOU)

So what sort of scoring does that leave us with? By my count, we've got:
  • 1 poised for international fame and fortune
  • 3 quality MLS players who will probably jump ship for Scandinavia in 3-4 years
  • 4 semi- or completely unproven quantities gifted with nebulous "potential"
  • 3 borderline contributors who might be solid MLS players, and . . .
  • 2 lost in translation from college to pro
How does that compare with the rest of 2007's draft class? Stay tuned next time for a bit of inane number-crunching as we wind our merry way to the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

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