Over the years, the MLS SuperDraft has certainly lost it’s luster. Gone, for the most part, are the days where Sporting Kansas City pick up a 10-year starter in the draft like Matt Besler, Graham Zusi or Roger Espinoza.
However, teams are still working the draft to some success. Daryl Dike was a first-round pick a few years ago and was just sold on for a huge fee by Orlando City (how bad do the four picks who went ahead of him look?). In that same 2020 draft, the New England Revolution used Sporting KC’s pick to acquire fringe National Team player Henry Kessler with the 6th pick.
All that being said, SKC pick much later in this draft. They’ll pick 22nd in the first round, then 50th (second round) and 78th (third round). The draft only has three rounds this year and I still suspect there will be quite a few “passes” versus players being selected.
With that lukewarm draft primer, let’s get to the first Mock SuperDraft of the year. The preeminent source of college soccer information was the first to release a mock, with Top Drawer Soccer projecting Mohamed Omar going with the 22nd pick to Sporting KC. Omar is a midfielder who writer Travis Clark described in the following way:
“The Canadian central midfielder is a talented soccer player with and without the ball. While his speed could be the big question mark on his pro potential, he’d be a good pickup late in the first round.”
Anyone taken this far down the list is unlikely to go to the first team. Instead, Sporting KC II are a more likely destination (speaking of SKC II, likely signing Spencer Glass isn’t in this first round mock).
In the 2021 draft, SKC didn’t have a first round pick but their second and third round picks, Matt Constant and Jamil Roberts, ended up signing to SKC II. However, both of them were released after the season.
As for the Omar pick, I won’t pretend I know enough about college soccer to analyze it. The first team definitely don’t need a midfielder, even a developmental one. They have guys like Cam Duke, Jake Davis and Ozzie Cisneros fighting to break through. Especially one that may require an international roster spot (though he’s lived in America for a long time, so maybe he doesn’t need one).
But SKC II’s roster is wide open. If they re-sign Enoch Mushagalusa, who they were negotiating with, and add the aforementioned Glass, they only have four players under contract (not including potential SKC Academy players joining on amateur deals). Whoever gets picked in the first round (and second and third) have a shot to breakthrough and they should be asked if they are open to that before burning a pick.
Watching his highlights, he definitely has a ‘Roger Espinoza destroyer’ vibe. He’s a stunning 6’3” tall and had a solid career at Notre Dame.
Whoever is selected, it’s basically just a flier at this point. You have to go back to 2018 to find a player who even got first team minutes (Graham Smith and technically Eric Dick) and back to 2015 to find the next contributors (Amadou Dia, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Connor Hallisey — plus sorta Tony Rocha who has bounced around MLS). To find a star, it’s a decade back to the 2012 draft where Dom Dwyer came to KC.
The 2022 SuperDraft goes down on January 11th.
MLS News and Transfer Round-Up
Lorenzo Insigne from Napoli to Toronto looks like a done deal. Five and a half years at crazy money for the 30-year-old.
Alex Ring re-signed with Austin FC, but this time as a Designated Player. That makes the news that one of their other three DPs, Tomas Pochettino leaving, make even more sense.
Inter Miami CF swung a deal with LAFC to acquire midfielder Bryce Duke. The deal is for $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) with another $75,000 in performance incentives.
MLS lists out their largest outgoing transfers ever, yet they somehow leave out the Gianluca Busio deal (even though it would come in fifth if the figure is correct).
Inside the record Ricardo Pepi transfer.
Another DP could be out in Miami as Blaise Matuidi could be shown the door.
Former SKC II coach, Paulo Nagamura, had his move to Houston Dynamo made official.
In other coaching news, Steve Cherundolo was named LAFC’s new head coach. That’s a very different hire than Bob Bradley.
The San Jose Earthquakes look incompetent in this latest Chofis debacle.
I’ll leave you with this fun Reddit post. A “Florida Theme Park” employee tracked the number of jerseys they saw. Orlando City obviously wins, but Sporting KC did quite well, considering it’s all of North America. They come in 9th, behind all the Florida teams, the usual suspects and FC Cincinnati.