On Thursday, Major League Soccer holds its 17th edition of the SuperDraft – drafting top college and several international prospects. In preparation of this, RSL Soapbox took place in an SB Nation mock MLS Draft over the weekend and we wanted to take the time to discuss our selections and the rationale for making them.
However, as it is incredibly hard to accurately predict the draft selections, chaos can easily take over on draft day as clubs wheel-and-deal with trades. Every team has needs and some of them overlap so it can get incredibly complicated. To ease the mock process, no trades were allowed and each team took a player at their up-to-date order as specified by MLS. With that in mind, here’s what happened with a bunch of sports bloggers.
Real Salt Lake's needs
So what are some of the club’s needs that can be addressed by the 2016 MLS SuperDraft?
First, with the highest pick since 2008, RSL will need to go for a Generation Adidas (GA) player. Not only do these players not count against the club’s salary cap, but they have demonstrated immense skill and have already signed a contract with the league. A GA player will be able to contribute right away as well as being a piece to build upon in the future.
Second, the Claret-and-Cobalt needs to address the gaps left by the departures of Luis Gil, Luis Silva, Elias Vasquez, and Chris Schuler. This means that RSL seriously requires help in the back and midfield – even if only to add depth to a squad that will be playing CONCACAF, Open Cup, and league matches. With such a stacked schedule, RSL need more than just some faces on the bench. The Claret-and-Cobalt will need some serious difference makers that can be called upon.
Mock Draft selections:
When you get into the nitty-gritty of the eligible Generation Adidas players, there is only a finite number to choose from. Comprising of everything from goalkeepers to forwards, the GA selection can be used to address the specific positional needs of a club while providing some relief on the salary cap – killing two birds with one stone, essentially.
With the fifth overall pick, RSL Soapbox selected Generation Adidas midfielder Julian Buescher from Syracuse University.
Jeff Cassar’s system requires talented and versatile players in the midfield and Buescher fills this niche. Able to play in either a box-to-box or playmaker role – not to mention his fantastic showing at the first day of the MLS Combine – it is hard to see the Claret-and-Cobalt pass on him if he's available. Buescher would do an awesome job complimenting both Luke Mulholland and Javier Morales.
None of RSL’s forwards had ten goals in 2015. RSL, supposedly fielding playmakers Joao Plata and Morales, struggled to create goal-scoring opportunities. Luckily, RSL could remedy this tread by drafting an off-the-bench impact player in Buescher. He had eight goals and 11 assists, just like Jack Harrison of Wake Forest taken by Colorado with the second overall selection. Adding Buescher to replace departed Gil and Silva makes a lot of sense as he could be easily vie for first-team minutes.
With the twenty-fifth overall pick, RSL Soapbox selected defender Eric DeJulio from Creighton University.
Mentioned already, RSL lost center-back depth after waiving Vasquez and Schuler being out of contract. The Claret-and-Cobalt can use some center-back reinforcements and gets it with this pick. DeJulio was Creighton’s star center back and has fared better than Derek Vogel during the MLS Combine. He also prevented forward Omar Holness, a member of the 2016 GA Class, from doing any damage to his team during the 2015 season.
Despite having excellent dribbling ability and having excellent soccer IQ, the 6-foot-2 defender will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to compete with academy and Real Monarchs’ prospects for a position on the squad. If he succeeds, however, DeJulio and Phanuel Kavita could prove to be the next RSL star center-back pairing. With DeJulio available at the 25th pick, he is top player and makes sense for RSL.
Here is a look at the complete list of players selected in the SB Nation's 2016 MLS Mock Draft:
|Chicago Fire||Josh Yaro (GA)|
|Colorado Rapids||Jack Harrison (GA)|
|Philadelphia Union||Brandon Vincent|
|Real Salt Lake||Julian Buescher (GA)|
|Philadelphia Union||Omar Holness (GA)|
|Orlando City||Richie Laryea (GA)|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Jordan McCrary|
|Toronto FC||Keegan Rosenberry|
|New England Revolution||Kyle Fisher|
|Sporting KC||Tony Alfaro|
|LA Galaxy||Michael Salazar|
|D.C. United||Fabian Herbers|
|Montreal Impact||Zach Carroll|
|Seattle Sounders||James Moberg|
|Vancouver Whitecaps||Ben Polk|
|FC Dallas||Andrew Tarbell (GA)|
|New York Red Bulls||Cole Seiler|
|Columbus Crew SC||Dennis Castillo|
|Portland Timbers||Michael Gamble|
|Columbus Crew SC||Timo Pitter|
|Colorado Rapids||Vincent Keller|
|Philadelphia Union||Liam Doyle|
|Montreal Impact||Hadji Berry|
|Real Salt Lake||Eric DeJulio|
|Houston Dynamo||Josh Turnley|
|Seattle Sounders||Todd Wharton|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Chase Minter|
|Vancouver Whitecaps||Tim Kubel|
|New England Revolution||Patrick Hodan|
|Columbus Crew SC||Duncan Backus|
|Orlando City||Tsubasa Endoh|
|Chicago Fire||Ivan Magalhaes|
|Montreal Impact||Eric Verso|
|Seattle Sounders||Chris Hellman|
|Vancouver Whitecaps||Max Lachoweki|
|FC Dallas||Zach Mathers|
|New York Red Bulls||Thomas Libiih|
|Montreal Impact||Emmanuel Appiah|
|Portland Timbers||Callum Irving|
|Columbus Crew SC||Elias Gomez|
How do you think we did? Would these players be a good fit for the club? And most importantly, would you be happy with these selections?