Earlier today, I took a quick dash through the current United roster, and I mentioned a couple of times how critical those Generation Adidas players are going to be. They'll give you a player that (ostensibly) is ready to pick up some minutes, but won't count against either the cap or the twenty-player senior roster. Plus, they've already signed with the league, which is an added bonus for a United side that's seen more than its fair share of picks jumping across the pond or opting for USL.
Add in that they are generally younger (and thus presumably have more "upside") than the rest of the draft class, and you've got a pretty attractive package. With the 6th and 7th pick in the first round, United will be able to take two if they want. So let's take a look at the 2009 GenAd class with an eye to who United might be most interested in.
The quick fullback has local roots, which would be a plus if he were going to be on the developmental roster as he'd be set for housing. As it stands, he's got to be a high priority should he fall to us, not only by virtue of the fact that he's a fast defender with good skills, but also because his ability to get forward with speed adds extra width to the attack. That's a huge plus in my book. And, of course, he's 5'8", which allows him to fit in under United's "Height Cap." ;-)
Look. I've got a passing familiarity with some of these guys, but some of them are mysteries. Case in point--Danny Cruz. Some of what I've dug up: US U-20, versatile attacking player, big engine, projected to be a right-sided midfielder in MLS. He's one of the younger ones as well. Could we use guys with a lot of fight in them in attacking areas? Sure. But I'll profess my ignorance here. I just don't know enough about the kid to determine what kind of a fit he would be.
I guess we've talked this one to death over the past week or so. Everybody seems pretty convinced that the Frei is a big-time prospect. If he falls to us, the considerations would be: (1) are we ready to shop Wells, (2) is Crayton likely to re-sign in the summer, (3) are we prepared to sacrifice an international slot, (4) do we want so much of our wage bill going to keepers? My position? If he's available, grab him. Then you can either shop Wells or see who's willing to pay through the nose to take Frei off our hands. Win-win in my book.
Despite being off early in the Combine, Gonzalez' second day seemed to cement his already solid rep. Will he fall as far as #6? Doubtful. If he does, do we take him? Do you even have to ask that question? He would most likely be the best available talent at #6 (unless the other FO's are absolutely brain-dead on draft day) and he fills our biggest need--a stud center back.
The Dane Richards of 2009? Hall can line up on either flank, has great speed, and can cross. Speed on the wings? Crossing? Do we do any of those things? Not well. Despite not having the strongest of Combines, I'd still rank Hall really high on my draft board, even if he weren't GenAd.
Great, just what we need, another attacking midfielder. Hmmm. Big, technical central mid from a small program. Why does that sound familiar? Give me an "R", give me an "O", give me a "D"! What's that spell? . . . NO!
US youth international and a hard working forward. Also one of the younger guys in the class, but perhaps a bit of a project. Seeing as how we've already got a decent stable of forwards, but none of whom are from the Alejandro Moreno school of "terrier" strikers, it's perhaps worth taking a chance if some of the more attractive options are off the board by the time we're up.
A fast mid/defender who would provide solid depth all along the left flank, his stock seems to have taken a bit of a hit post-Combine. Still (hide the cliche-meter!), you can't coach speed, and Wallace has all of the physical tools to succeed in MLS. I'll balance that against the fact that he isn't the most polished of defenders . . . yet, a point that puts him below Alston in my mind. I wonder what his acquisition would mean for our other UMD left-back conversion project?
Unless they trade up, United probably won't have a shot at the fast and talented (and apparently well-compensated, to the tune of $175-200k) striker, which is a shame, because speed on the front line would be pretty useful. Despite not having a strong Combine, I can't see him falling to us at #6. Also, I'm assuming that he would count against the international player limit, which might be a concern for our foreigner-happy FO.
So that's the player-by-player rundown. So how would I stack them on my board?
Remember, that's from a purely DC United perspective. So I've stuck my neck out. How about you show me yours? And feel free to come at it from any MLS FO's perspective or from a purely neutral point of view, should you desire.