As I go across all these mock drafts being conducted ahead of the MLS Expansion Draft, the thing that consistently floors me is how late Real Salt Lake players are getting picked.
This isn't because I think Real Salt Lake players are inherently better than other players in the league (although I'm open to that possibility), but for logistical reasons.
Jason Kreis knows Real Salt Lake players well. Really well, in fact. Someone like Ned Grabavoy or Chris Wingert? He coached them for five and six years, respectively. They're known quantities. In this expansion draft, there's a certain value in that. For that reason alone, I'm convinced that Kreis will look toward an RSL player first in the draft. Fair enough, right? That's the second overall pick, so how does that explain an RSL player being picked first, too?
Orlando City know that if they want a crack at a Real Salt Lake player — again, Grabavoy or Wingert — they have to do it fast. If they wait until their second pick, one of those will be gone. Maybe both, if RSL decides to protect the one not picked. If they wait until after that, Kreis has his two players, and it's all done for RSL, with Orlando City not getting to pluck a player from perhaps the most consistent team in MLS.
Do you think Adrian Heath will pass on picking up an RSL player of his choice? I can't see it. I don't know who will be picked when, but I'll just say this: Expect to see two RSL players picked in the first round of this thing.