We start our series on players selected 11th through 20th in MLS SuperDraft with a best pick selection that Sporting KC fans may find hard to stomach. The review of picks 1 through 10 is located here. The team that drafted the player is shown in parenthesis.
A great group of players. Bryan Arguez is in the NASL, but is still fairly young at 23 and may find his form someday. Espinoza has turned his time with Sporting KC into a pending move to Wigan in the EPL. Hall is still in the league, but he had one of the least efficient ratings for a defender last season at Toronto FC. Estrada was injured in 2010, scored four goals over two games in March 2012 before missing the summer with a foot injury. Will Bruin is a goal scoring machine for Houston and dances like a bear, while Matt Hedges put together an underrated rookie season for FC Dallas.
Best Pick: (gulp) Will Bruin. It is painful not to give this one to Espinoza, a Sporting KC fixture whose legendary engine and tireless effort has led to a chance at Premier League action. Espinoza--for all of his talents--is not the finest in shot creation and has not performed well in the postseason. Will Bruin has proven in two years to be a shot creator, particularly when the season is on the line. Bruin has emerged as one of the most dangerous options for Houston on set pieces, scoring 14 goals this season including 2 vital goals in the playoffs to secure his second trip to the MLS Cup Final.
The number of players who logged 2012 MLS minutes drops off significantly with this group. Igwe and Cervi are now free agents after playing the last few years for lower division sides in Germany and Scotland respectively. Jean Alexandre has played infrequently in MLS and been placed on loan to USL-Pro Orlando. Bright Dike signed with Portland Timbers and became a regular starter in the fall of 2012. Rich Balchan has been cut down by injuries, and Aaron Maund made a few appearances for TFC before being traded to Real Salt Lake this off-season.
Best Player: Bright Dike. He may not be an incredible player, but he did score 5 goals in limited time for the Timbers this past season. A call up for the Nigerian team this winter is another positive for Dike. There is still a lot of potential for Bright to have a long, serviceable career in the league. His future looks... ehh... not going to do it.
Hayden played infrequently before dropping out of the league in 2009, and Rob Valentino never registered a minute of play in MLS. Stefan Frei was the backup keeper at Toronto FC. Bone, Hertzog, and Hoffman have played little for their respective teams.
Best Pick: Corey Hertzog. Choosing a best out of this group is admittedly a stretch. Stefan Frei has the most minutes of any person in this list by far, but he is statistically one of the worst keepers the league in the Beckham Era. Corey Hertzog is probably the most talked-out potential star in this group, but his chances at playing time are hampered by the talent in front of him. Perhaps Sebastien Le Toux's move from New York to Philadelphia will provide Hertzog more playing time.
Three quality MLS starters and three guys no longer in the league. Ibrahim and da Luz now play in NASL, while Victor Estupiñán is now playing in his native Ecuador and watching Bieler highlights. I was surprised to find that David Horst's Castrol Rating was similar to George John. Tony Cascio registered a goal and assist in two games this season and should get more minutes next year.
Best Pick: Tony Cascio. Last year this would have gone to George John, but I think he had a lot to do with the collapse of FC Dallas this past season. Tony Cascio had a very nice rookie season hidden in the media desert that is the Colorado Rapids. Let's give him some respect with a little highlight vid courtesy MLSsoccer.com
I think his potential is very high, but worry that front office decisions (Edson Buddle?) will prevent him from developing into a star.
Four players with regular season minutes this season. Evans and Warner are regular starters. Salinas and Meram are serviceable. Andrew Duran didn't play but got some time on loan with the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Best Pick: Brad Evans. Synonymous with the Sounders defense. USMNT sub during the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. I thought he played well enough early in the season to merit an All-Star Game appearance. It didn't happen, but with Gspurning behind him he may get the accolades he deserves next year.
2007 Robbie Findley (LA Galaxy)
2008 Eric Brunner (New York)
2009 Evan Brown (Seattle)
2010 Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)
2011 Paolo Cardozo (LA Galaxy)
2012 Dom Dwyer (Sporting KC) *currently on Sporting KC's roster
Robbie Findley is now with a League 2 side in England. Eric Brunner provided depth in Portland's back line, while Stephens and Cardozo had limited minutes. Dwyer is a bulldog. Literally. Evan Brown never played a minute in MLS.
Best Pick: Robbie Findley. Findley has his detractors, but if you make the 2010 World Cup squad, you get the nod over everyone else.
Dalby's out of the game and now an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Nimo is in Estonia and Ståhl is now in NASL. Brad Ring was out with injury for the whole of the 2009 season and played infrequently for San Jose in 2012. Enzo Martinez and Bobby Warshaw are performing in the reserve league.
Best Pick: Bobby Warshaw. There is so little on-field performance to judge at this pick that it is just a call on potential between Enzo Martinez and Bobby Warshaw. Give Warshaw a slight edge over Enzo for now.
A brief amount of research does not bring up anything on the whereabouts of Andrew Daniels. We will assume he is the Andrew Daniels who is an insurance agent in Mississippi unless told otherwise. Ogunbiyi never logged a minute in MLS, Tim Ream is probably best known for his gaffe against Panama in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, but he has turned a strong career start with Red Bull New York into a $2.75 million move to Bolton Wanderers. Videria played a few games for Chicago Fire in 2011 and has settled into their reserve system. Ababio is in the NASL and Rolfe is a reservist for Houston.
Best Pick: Tim Ream. Videira is a decent back-up, but this is clearly Tim Ream's spot.
2007 Dane Richards (New York)
2008 Eric Avila (Dallas)
2009 A. J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy)
2010 Michael Thomas (San Jose) *currently on Sporting KC roster
2011 Jeb Brovsky (Vancouver)
2012 Tommy Meyer (LA Galaxy)
This was one of only three picks where every player logged minutes in MLS last season. Dane Richards was a mainstay on the Red Bull wing until being traded last season to Vancouver. Avila played infrequently for Toronto and was just picked by Colorado in the Re-Entry Draft. A.J. DeLaGarza has started 95 games at defender for LA Galaxy and is on the Mens National Team... of Guam. DeLaGarza's backline teammate Tommy Meyer picked up a few minutes at the beginning and end of the season. Michael Thomas played overseas in Sweden before returning to provide some depth at midfield for Sporting KC. Brovsky has played for expansion team in back-to-back years, getting 25 starts for Montréal Impact this year.
Best Pick: AJ DeLaGarza. It's almost unfair after some fairly weak options that we find DeLaGarza and Dane Richards in the same group. Richards regressed a bit in 2012 and the pending move to Burnley doesn't feel like the strongest move for his career. AJ will not win any defender of the year awards in the conceivable future, but he would have a starting spot on most MLS sides right now. Guam's finest is the best here.
Tudela played a few games during his time with the Galaxy. Josten didn't play in MLS. Husidic had a solid early start to his career with the Fire before moving to Swedish side Hammarby (coached by US National and former Galaxy assistant Gregg Berhalter and part-owned by AEG). Tetteh and Aiyegbusi were just dropped by their respective sides with little playing time. Calum Mallace played in the last 3 games of the season for the Impact.
Best Pick: Baggio Husidic. Korede was a good presence for Sporting, but honestly this group is weeeeeeak. There is little in terms of MLS potential outside Mallace and Husidic. The Berhalter/AEG connection has me thinking Husidic could find his way into a Galaxy or Dynamo kit in the future.
Husidic? Warshaw? Hertzog as best picks? There are some talented players in this portion of the MLS SuperDraft, but they are far more busts and bit players who see little action. The overall quality drops substantially after pick 11. Even the NBA Draft has deeper quality at this point, and they have fewer available roster spots than MLS. Are these really the best at this point in the SuperDraft? Picks 11-19 are now first round picks in the SuperDraft. Is it unreasonable to expect a majority of these picks logging significant minutes as a starter or reserve? Only 32 of the 60 selections logged any type of minutes MLS, 34 if you consider Robbie Findley and Tim Ream as European guys who would get minutes in MLS.
Still, it may be unfair to discard the SuperDraft at this point due to the small sample size: the top 20 of the 2007 SuperDraft is starting to look like a complete bust. The third-best MLS player from that draft is probably Michael Harrington and he barely played last season. Weak draft years happen in every league from time to time. Remove it and a more respectable two-thirds of the players are still in the league. It could be that the overall assessment and scouting of players is improving, and the SuperDraft is reflecting this additional investment.
Coming at the end of the week: we continue our look at the MLS SuperDraft with picks 21 through 30.
Think we're off the mark? Who is your best pick in this stage of the MLS SuperDraft? Offer your thoughts in the comments below.