The 2014 MLS SuperDraft got started with a bang as for the first time in the history of the event a goalkeeper was taken with the 1st overall pick. The Philadelphia Union flipped picks with D.C. United to move up to the top spot and grab Andre Blake in front of their home town fans. It was a bit of a surprise move but the Union were high on Blake despite having Zac MacMath on their roster and they felt they had to move up to grab him to make sure that the Vancouver Whitecaps did not pull a similar move and snatch him away from them.
The second and third picks were more on script though as for the first time ever two players from the same school were taken in the top 3. Steve Birnbaum, the most MLS ready defender in the draft, was taken by DCU at second which left Christian Dean, his teammate at Cal, to be taken by the Whitecaps at third.
The trades continued to fly as teams looked to get into position to grab who they wanted. After the New England Revolution took Steve Neumann with the fourth pick it was the Montreal Impact who jumped up the board to grab the top rated full back in the draft, Eric Miller.
There were a couple of surprises in the top 10 with the biggest being the fact that Calgary born Tesho Akindele was taken 6th overall by FC Dallas. Apparently Oscar Pereja was a big fan of Akindele from his time with the Colorado Rapids but it was a surprise to see a player from the Colorado School of Mines in NCAA's division II taken this high in the draft. His Canadian ties could make him one to keep an eye on even though he now considers Colorado to be his home.
The Whitecaps, who already had Dean, then went back to their normal approach, going with a player who was a bit off the board. By selecting Andre Lewis with the 7th pick of the draft they grabbed a player who has a lot of upside but is also in need of a lot of grooming. He was the second Jamaican player taken on the day and the third was not far behind him as Damion Lowe went to the Seattle Sounders with the 8th pick.
Toronto FC's pick of Nick Hagglund at 10th was a bit of a surprise move as many rated him behind some of the other full backs left on the board, but considering this was not the deepest draft and almost all the players available had some pretty major question marks about them he seems to be a calculated risk at the 10th pick and someone else must have been interested in him for TFC to feel the need to move up to grab him.
The biggest slip of the first round was probably Patrick Mullins as many had expected the two time MAC Hermann trophy winner to be taken in the top 5 but instead he slipped down to the Revs at 11th. They should be happy with their first round as they came away with one of the top forwards and attacking midfielders in the draft while also making a few smart trades to put themselves in position to make those picks.
It took some time for the entire Generation Adidas class to be snapped up as the final two members remained on the board until 16th and 17th. AJ Cochran was taken by the Houston Dynamo with the 16th pick which should help to ease the loss of Bobby Boswell and then the Portland Timbers went with Schillo Tshuma at 17th adding another dynamic player to their midfield.
The second round was quiet compared to the first as teams seemed more content to settle for the picks that they already had. Most of the picks were used on players with upside that still have a long way to go just like Daniel Lovitz who TFC took at 24th.
The surprise of the second round might just be Kyle Venter who was supposed to be one of the better CBs in a draft that was well stocked on them but he managed to last all the way until the 23rd pick before making his way to the L.A Galaxy which is a destination he is unlikely to complain about.
The Caps made another interesting selection in the second round when they grabbed Mamadou Diouf with the 30th pick. He had a rough senior year in large part due to injuries but if they can get him back on track he could be an interesting option for them. He should certainly add something to what is a very dynamic looking group of attackers in Vancouver.
By the time the second round wrapped up there were still some interesting names left on the board that might be worth teams taking a closer look at in preseason which should at least add some excitement to the remaining two rounds which will take place via conference call on Tuesday. The likes of Mackenzie Pridham, Joey Dillon, and Nikita Kotlov could yet prove to be late round steals for the right club if they are given the chance.
Here is the full results from the draft's opening two rounds:
|1. Philadelphia Union||Andre Blake, GK||Brotherly Game|
|2. D.C. United||Steve Birnbaum, D||Black and Red United|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||Christian Dean, D||86 Forever|
|4. New England Revolution||Steve Neumann, M/F||The Bent Musket|
|5. Montreal Impact||Eric Miller, D||Mount Royal Soccer|
|6. FC Dallas||Tesho Akindele, M/F||Big D Soccer|
|7. Whitecaps||Andre Lewis, M||86 Forever|
|8. Seattle Sounders||Damion Lowe, D||Sounder at Heart|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||J.J. Koval, M||Quake, Rattle and Goal|
|10. Toronto FC||Nick Hagglund, D||Waking the Red|
|11. New England Revolution||Patrick Mullins, M/F||The Bent Musket|
|12. Colorado Rapids||Marlon Hairston, M||Burgundy Wave|
|13. Chicago Fire||Marco Franco, D||Hot Time In Old Town|
|14. Crew||Ben Sweat, D||Massive Report|
|15. Union||Pedro Ribeiro, M||Brotherly Game|
|16. Houston Dynamo||A.J. Cochran, D||Dynamo Theory|
|17. Portland Timbers||Schillo Tshuma, M/F||Stumptown Footy|
|18. Real Salt Lake||Ryan Neil, M/D||RSL Soapbox|
|19. Rapids||Grant van de Casteele, D||Burgundy Wave|
|20. Chivas USA||Thomas McNamara, M/F||The Goat Parade|
|21. Seattle Sounders||Jimmy Ockford, D||Sounder at Heart|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Chris Duvall, D||Once a Metro|
|23. LA Galaxy||Kyle Venter, D||LAG Confidential|
|24. Toronto FC||Daniel Lovitz, M||Waking the Red|
|25. Union||Kevin Cope, D||Brotherly Game|
|26. Timbers||Taylor Peay, D||Stumptown Footy|
|27. Union||Robbie Derschang, M/D||Brotherly Game|
|28. Earthquakes||Joe Sofia, D||Quake, Rattle and Goal|
|29. D.C. United||Victor Muñoz, M||Black and Red United|
|30. Whitecaps||Mamadou Diouf, F||86 Forever|
|31. Revolution||Alec Sundly, M||The Bent Musket|
|32. Dynamo||Mark Sherrod, F||Dynamo Theory|
|33. Rapids||Jared Watts, M||Burgundy Wave|
|34. Red Bulls||Eric Stevenson, M||Once a Metro|
|35. Rapids||John Berner, GK||Burgundy Wave|
|36. Timbers||Aaron Long, M||Stumptown Footy|
|37. Impact||George Malki, M||Mout Royal Soccer|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||Adnan Gabeljic, F||The Daily Wiz|