A bit over a week ago we looked at the first three mock drafts and who Sporting Kansas City was projected to get. Top Drawer Soccer had fullback Akeem Ward projected to Sporting KC, but he’s rocketing up draft boards (he’s up to 11th in their second attempt) with his ability to play on the left and right. Center back Mitchell Osmand was the projection from USL League Two’s official site. And forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam was the projection from Draft Utopia. For more detail on those players, head over to our 1.0 version of this story.
Since those initial three mock drafts came out, there are six more mock SuperDrafts awaiting your eyes, including the SBNation mock draft. We take a closer look at each of those picks.
But first, a quick reminder. The player that is drafted by Sporting KC will be no more than depth and much more likely will fight for a spot on the Swope Park Rangers (USL Championship). Don’t forget, 2017 first round pick, fullback Colton Storm, spent two years with the Rangers, had exactly zero first team minutes, and then was released after the 2018 season. Lower those expectations! For reference, here is the current (tiny) SPR roster.
SPR Roster - 1/8/19
|85||Felipe Hernandez||MID||6/8/1998||SKC Academy|
|49||Will Little||MID||4/9/1998||SKC Academy|
|77||Camilo Benitez||FWD||8/16/1999||SKC Academy|
|96||Wilson Harris||FWD||11/28/1999||SKC Academy|
|72||Justin Bilyeu||DEF||2/3/1994||New York Red Bulls (MLS)|
|95||Rassambek Akhmatov||MID||5/31/1996||FC Miami City (USL League Two)|
|91||Ethan Vanacore-Decker||FWD||10/6/1994||North County United (USL League Two)|
|Ayyoub Allach||MID||1/28/1998||Lierse SK (Belgium)|
|Jerome Ngom Mbekeli||MID||9/30/1998||MFK Vyskov (Czech Republic)|
Where Do Sporting KC Pick?
- 21st Overall — First Round
- 45th Overall — Second Round
- 69th Overall — Third Round
- 93rd Overall — Fourth Round
Like Eric said, don’t be surprised if they trade one or more of these picks. A sure thing or known commodity is worth more than these random lottery tickets. Or even a tiny bit of allocation money will probably turn out to be more valuable.
Mock Draft Selections
Camden Riley - Midfielder - University of the Pacific (SBNation)
We’ll start with our own Eric Atcheson making the selection for The Blue Testament in the annual SBN Mock SuperDraft. Eric was the only person in all nine mock drafts combined to go with a midfielder. Thinking of SPR, they have midfielders Felipe Hernandez and Rassambek Akhmatov under contract. They just signed two more mids in Ayyoub Allach and Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, who are both only 20. That’s three 20-year-olds and a 22-year-old. Not to mention teenagers Wan Kuzain and Gianluca Busio are likely to spend minutes there (Will Little is listed as a midfielder, but he’s more of a fullback/winger... and he doesn’t play).
Riley had nine goals and five assists as a senior with the Pacific Tigers. For his collegiate career he finished with 19 goals and 10 assists, so you can see he really improved his senior year. Riley also played for the Portland Timbers U-23 squad in USL League Two. He spent just the 2018 season with the club and got one goal and two assists across 12 games played for 815 minutes. Riley might be good depth, but he might struggle to get on the field with SPR, depending on how frequently Busio and Kuzain are loaned down to SPR.
Ryan Sierakowski - Forward - Michigan State University (SBI)
Sierakowski is a center forward and a classic goal poacher, though he does play a little winger as well. Highlight videos don’t teach you much, but they are fun to watch. It is a little concerning his “highlights” have so many missed shots. It’s hard to get a feel for his work rate off the ball but there are glimpses of him working through tight spaces and even playing some defense. He even does that classic Benny Feilhaber stutter on his penalty kicks.
At Michigan St. Seirakowski was a four-year starter. He has no outstanding seasons, but he’s consistent. He accumulated 33 goals and 16 assists, basically evenly distributed throughout all his collegiate seasons. He played for Chicago United FC in 2017 in USL League Two. He was more prolific there scoring six times, adding two assists in just 11 games and 871 minutes.
Santiago Patino - Forward - Florida International University (TDS)
Top Drawer Soccer doesn’t even seem convinced of this selection. Here is what they had to say.
“Boasting a well-filled roster even before the draft, don’t be surprised to see Sporting KC move out of this pick if possible. Taking a flier on Patino, who may not be the busy, buzzing striker Peter Vermes would like to use, but a more focal, back-to-goal, Plan B type forward to deploy.”
I think they’ve convinced me he doesn’t fit. Instead, I’ll focus on the pick right before SKC in their mock. They have the Seattle Sounders selecting SKC Academy member and West Virginia University star Joey Piatczyc. He’s a midfielder who played quite well as a redshirt senior in 2018. Mike covered him extensively in his “On Campus” stories. Piatczyc scored eight goals and added 10 assists. In the first game of the Combine he played attacking midfielder for most of the game on Team Copa, which struggled. Then he was moved to right back after some subs and he picked up an assist. Peter Vermes loves positional diversity. Don’t let Piatczyc end up in Seattle. He may be worth a Homegrown contract and one of those last few MLS roster spots just to keep him away from a rival.
Chase Gasper - Left Back - University of Maryland (Matt Doyle)
The MLS Analyst had this to say about Sporting, which was pretty positive overall.
“This team is stacked. Their only real need is a big-time No. 9, and obviously they’re not going to try to address that with the 21st pick in the draft. So my guess is they take a flier on potential depth at left back and then let Gasper marinate with Swope Park for a year or two.”
As I’ve said before, Justin Bilyeu is going to eat up those left back minutes for SPR, unless an emergency or great performance pushes him up to the first team. I don’t love the idea of getting another left back in the draft (who won’t even get on the field with SPR) — unless that LB is Akeem Ward, who can play both fullback spots, but he’s likely rocketed way up the draft board.
As for Gasper, he’s actually pretty big for fullback. He’s 6’0” and weighs 185. He played for UCLA before transferring to Maryland due to an illness his father was suffering. He won a National Title with the Terps but missed some time throughout the season with injury. If he has the ability to play left center back too, he might have more of a place on a Swope Park Roster. And hey, a certain Graham Zusi played for Maryland, so there is that.
Mitchell Osmond - Center Back - University of Rio Grande (USL League Two)
In their second mock draft, they kept the pick for SKC the same as the first. That’s not why we are here. The USL League Two site actually mocked the second round.
Rashid Nuhu - Goalkeeper - Fordham University (USL League Two)
Nuhu was the primary starting keeper for Fordham for all four of his years in college. He has a 37-24-13 record with a 0.93 goals against average. He stopped 77.1% of the shots he faced. There is nothing that jumps off the page about Nuhu based solely on stats. He’s just 6’1” tall and he actually hails from Accra, Ghana so an international roster spot could be in play. He has zero chances of making SKC’s first team roster, but he’d be more like a David Greczek. Greczek was a GK picked in the third round out of Rutgers in 2017 and he never signed with SKC, instead he signed directly with SPR. Past the first round, it’s anyone’s guess. Most players selected don’t even end up with Swope.
According to EverybodySoccer.com’s survey, Nuhu is the 2nd best Senior keeper in this draft and compliments his distribution with his feet. Picking him up at the end of the second round to be the primary keeper on SPR when Eric Dick and Adrian Zendejas aren’t loaned down, seems like a worthy selection. Nuhu was with the New York Red Bulls U-23 USL2 club this past year, which is also where the highest ranked keeper in the draft, Dayne St. Clair, played in 2018 as well.
Amir Bashti - Forward - Stanford (MLS Multiplex)
The theme of forwards and no needs continues. They say:
“Best forward available here. Just for depth. SKC isn’t really in that much need anywhere else.”
Unlike many of the other projections, Bashti is a winger, primarily he lines up on the right. He just finished his Senior year for Stanford but he wasn’t a regular starter until this season. He tallied 19 goals and added 13 assists over 88 games. He played for Burlingame Dragons FC in USL2 in 2017. He had just five appearances, 283 minutes and a single goal. His stats don’t jump off the page, but SPR are in need of forwards and if he keeps developing, who knows where he might end up.
With nine mock drafts tabulated, only one player repeated himself, and it was from Version 1.0 to Version 2.0 of a mock draft by the same site. The gist is, there is no consensus this late in the first round. There is no telling who will be on the board. And it wouldn’t stun anyone if Sporting KC trade the pick all together.
It seems likely that whoever is chosen will end up on the Rangers and will likely not get any minutes with SKC. Heck, it’s possible they don’t get signed to a first team contract at all with just a few spots left. I would like to see more of them end up with SPR though. Especially the second, third and fourth round picks. I’m definitely for youth being the primary rostered players for Swope. That said, most of these picks are older than most of the Swope players who are primarily in their late teens or a mere 20-years-old.