Vancouver – Omar Salgado
This is the smartest move Vancouver can make. While Salgado may not be MLS ready, he certainly has the highest upside in this draft. Salgado finds himself in the right place at the right time; he will grow into his body and be a future star in this league.
Portland – Darlington Nagbe
While Nagbe’s preferred position is on the wing, I am not sure if Portland is planning to put him there. As they have the likes of Hall and Wallace on the flanks. Expect him to be playing up top alongside heavily-rumoured Timbers striker Kenny Cooper in 2011. This partnership could result in him leading the rookie class with points.
DC United – Perry Kitchen
Coming into the offseason United needed to strengthen their midfield. They have done just that with the addition of Dax McCarty & Perry Kitchen. Playing two defensive midfielders in the centre allows players like Andy Najar to focus on attacking.
Chivas USA – Zarek Valentin
Zarek Valentin makes it three Akron players in a row. Valentin can play both right and centre back, and while a smaller defender, he reads the game extremely well and has experience internationally with the US youth system. Chivas need help everywhere, and Valentin is a move in the right direction.
Philadelphia – Zac MacMath
Brad Knighton pack your bags! Zac MacMath is now the future in Philadelphia. MacMath won’t start right away, he is going to be the back-up in Philly. That being said, with the unknown status of Columbian keeper Faryd Mondragon, MacMath could be slated to start on opening day.
New England – A.J. Soares
Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Seth Sinovic and now AJ Soares. Steve Nicol is drafting himself a brand new backline. If they can continue to develop, these four could be one of the best defences in the league.
Houston – Kofi Sarkodie
Houston picked the best MLS ready player in the draft. A lot of scouts slept on Sarkodie, due to a lack of defensive responsibility in College, but when tested he has shown well as a defender. Kofi Sarkodie is my MLS Rookie of the Year pick.
Vancouver – Michael Nanchoff
Toronto traded this pick for Nathan Sturgis, and while I was against this trade when it happened, after seeing how this draft worked out, I think TFC made the right decision by trading their pick. The Whitecaps add an attacking midfielder to the squad. He could challenge for serious minutes this season.
The Rest of the First Round
Chicago – Jalil Anibaba , Kansas City – CJ Sapong, Houston – Will Bruin, Columbus – Rich Balchan, New York – Corey Hertzog, Chivas – Victor Estupinan, Columbus – Justin Meram, Los Angeles – Paolo Cardozo, Dallas – Bobby Warshaw, Colorado – Eddie Ababio
Other Canadian Picks
19th Vancouver – Jeb Brovsky
Jeb Brovsky is a smart, versatile player who could immediately get minutes for the Whitecaps. He had a strong combine and can play anywhere in midfield, or even at fullback.
26th Toronto – Demitrius Omphroy
An attacking midfielder turned right back, Omphroy dazzled scouts at the combine with his service from the flank. He fits well into the 4-3-3 system that Winter wants on the field at BMO.
37th Vancouver – Bilal Duckett
He is a defender from Notre Dame. That is all.
43rd Toronto – Matt Gold
Matt Gold is a hard working box-to-box midfielder with a good engine. While he doesn’t have standout skills, he never loses the ball. This is something that is needed in the midfield, as their new style is about keeping possession.
44th Toronto – Junior Burgos
Junior Burgos is an El Salvadorian international midfield creator. He and Gold may never see the field for the first team, but they do make sense, with the style that Toronto wants to play.
49th Toronto – Joao Plata
Remember this pick. Joao Plata could be the best player in the draft. The crafty Ecuadorian may be (very) slight in stature, but showed to be a great attacking player who can create his own chances. He scored 3 goals in the combine and probably dropped so low due to his size. He would fit up top, out wide, in Toronto’s 4-3-3 formation.