Players at the combine — I'm not sure any of them are Kekuta Manneh, though. Still, players at the combine. - Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
With the MLS SuperDraft to take place on Thursday (10 a.m. MT), we've done one of a bit of a mock draft. Read on to see why exactly I've picked the players I picked. Check out the whole thing, while you're at it.
Kekuta Manneh (Round 1, pick 12)
Real Salt Lake's need for forwards is well-established, and given that Manneh is a Generation Adidas player — the best part of that being an off-budget salary — it was hard to pass up a promising goalscorer. Really, this pick came down to a quick assessment of the GA class remaining, and as Manneh was the only one, the choice was easy.
He's young — only 18 — quick, and has a knack for scoring goals. He scored a nice poacher's goal in the Combine (below, with excellently cheesy music) and once scored four goals in a USL-PDL match — as well as buckets of goals in the Development Academy. If he's passed up and Real Salt Lake has a chance to sign him, don't be surprised to see his name called.
Of slight concern is the fact that he's from Gambia — well, not that fact, really, but that he could be an international slot-taker. There's nothing indicating either way on this, though, so I'm inclined to think it's a non-issue.
Nicolas Clavijo (Round 2, Pick 31)
Nicolas Clavijo is a young American-born midfielder with experience in Uruguay's second division and at Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. He's also the son of FC Dallas's technical manager (and former Colorado Rapids manager) Fernando Clavijo.
After recent changes to the structure of the MLS SuperDraft enabled clubs to pick up young free agents with international experience, it's hard not to pick a player a bit out of left field. Clavijo might well be a fantastic player, but he could also be rather mediocre. I don't see Real Salt Lake needing to pick up many first-team options in the draft, though, especially in the midfield, but if this kid's gone under the radar, it's always possible.