Kyle Bekker, movin' on up. - Boston College Athletics
With 2 out of 3 games in the books, who's standing out so far?
It's 3 games in 5 days, with unfamiliar teammates and for plenty of players unfamiliar positions as well, so it's not wise to put too much stock in what happens at the annual MLS combine. Hopefully teams have scouting networks that have been watching these kids for years in the NCAA and so already have a good idea of what they're planning to do, who they're looking to pick.
Having said all that, there always seems to be players who have a good game or two and get people talking about them, and happily enough this year two such players are Canadian. Kyle Bekker was already on radars as a possible top ten pick despite a lacklustre season with Boston College but has put in a couple of good performances and now has people talking of a possible top 5 pick for him, though his non domestic player status for all but the 3 Canadian teams might hinder that. Could he possibly go to TFC with the 3rd pick? Though we are still in need of midfielders,that seems a bit of a stretch, though Vancouver at 5 or Montreal at 8 are definite possibilities.
The other Canadian in question is forward Emery Welshman, not as highly rated as Bekker but turning heads with his performance in the first two games to the point of being talked about as a potential low first round pick.
Read more about both of them here, from someone who's actually at the combine to watch them and interview them and all that useful stuff, and watch a quick little highlight below as the two former Sigma FC players link up to create and score a goal.
So if it's unlikely either Canadian will end up with Toronto, what of those players projected to go early? Well Andrew Farrell seems to be becoming a consensus number one pick. It was looking that way coming into the combine and that feeling has only increased with his play in the two games so far. He's played both games as a central defender so far, impressing with his athleticism and has also shown an ability to play as a defensive midfielder in his college career which may make him more attractive to TFC. Gerry Dobson disagrees with the consensus part of that, though, raising doubts of soccer limitations if agreeing with the good athlete part.
Eriq Zavaleta is another multi position player projected as a very high pick who's looked good so far, both on Friday as a striker and then on Sunday when he got the chance to play at centre back. He's a realistic option for TFC at number 3 if they still have the pick at that time, read more about him here at mlssoccer.com.
Mikey Lopez has also looked good, getting a lot of talk for the number 2 overall pick for Chivas USA, which he'd seemingly be ok with. Lopez said "I want to go to Chivas USA". "From what I have heard of Chivas USA, I like what they want to do." He's not alone as Carlos Alvarez is also apparently keen to go to Chivas USA, if TFC's house wasn't quite so glassy, I'd have a good chuckle at that.
One highly touted prospect who hasn't come out of it well so far is Jason Johnson, who lived up to his reputation of having motivation issues and may have done a lot of damage to his stock by barely even showing up in his games. Another projected to be taken early, Walker Zimmerman, literally didn't show up, backing out of the combine with an injury, how badly that hurts him remains to be seen, though Gerry Dobson again went against the grain, suggesting it might actually help him.
There's another game for everyone on Tuesday, you've got to think most teams would have their opinions fairly well set by now, especially those such as TFC who don't really have to worry too much about other teams picking all their targets but it does represent one last chance to impress, to change opinions or reinforce them before the MLS roadshow moves up to Indianapolis for the draft.
Soon it'll be all over and TFC will have their two new stars/MLS journeymen+allocation/future considerations/whatever, we'll have plenty more coverage over the next few days. Check out all our draft coverage so far, all gathered in the one place here.