SBI MLS Mock Draft (v. 4.0)

Sam Cronin (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

And down the stretch they come.

We are exactly a week away from the 2009 MLS Draft and this weekend all 15 MLS teams will be in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to watch the MLS Combine and make their final judgments on a strong and deep draft class.

With Marcus Tracy on his way to Denmark, and Mike Grella looking to follow him to Europe, the crop of forwards has been weakened considerably, but the overall draft is still deep with talent and the first round should offer great entertainment as teams wheel and deal to move up into prime position to grab one of the handful of top Generation adidas players.

Not all the hot commodities are underclassmen though. Wake Forest senior Sam Cronin (pictured) has caught the attention of multiple teams interested in moving up to take him. Several clubs see him as the most MLS-ready player in the draft and all you need to do is look at the teams needing defensive midfielders to know the teams hot on his trail.

Another player whose stock is high heading into the Combine is goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who is being tabbed as a future star.

As you might recall, I was going to do a two-round mock draft this time around. Those plans have changed and I will stick to the first-round format for now. The final mock draft before the actual draft, which will run on Wednesday, will include two-rounds. I will also run my final position rankings on Wednesday as well.

For now, here is the latest SBI MLS Mock Draft:


2009 SBI MLS Mock Draft (version 4.0)

1. Seattle Sounders- Steve Zakuani, F, Akron

The absence of Marcus Tracy from the draft suddenly makes this pick all the more likely. We've had Zakuani No. 1 for three straight mock drafts and there is no reason to believe he won't be taken here. Now, if he has a shocker of a Combine Sigi Schmid might have to reconsider, but the money is on Zakuani.

2. Toronto FC- Omar Gonzalez, D, Maryland

Let me say it for those of you who haven't been following along: Toronto FC will NOT be keeping this pick. TFC will trade the pick and odds are that the team they deal with will take Gonzalez. FC Dallas is the favorite to trade up to this spot.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy- Sam Cronin, M, Wake Forest

The biggest mover in this mock draft is Cronin, who several teams are very high on. The growing consensus is that Cronin is the player most ready to step right in and start in MLS. The Galaxy need a defensive midfielder and Cronin is as polished a deep-lying midfielder as you'll find coming out of college. LA needs to clear cap space but it will be worth Cronin's salary to have him ready to step in, as opposed to selecting another player who might not be ready from day one. 

4. Toronto- Rodney Wallace, D, Maryland

You know that message at No. 2? It applies here as well. TFC will be dealing this pick and the two most coveted players at this point are Wallace and Cal goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who several teams are extremely high on.

5. FC Dallas- Jeremy Hall, M, Maryland

The Hoops have been feverishly searching for a left midfielder and have approached multiple teams about veteran options on the flank. If they cannot find a veteran before the draft look for Schellas Hyndman to grab Hall, a left winger who can play on either side and who boasts good speed and a surprising goal-scoring touch.

6. D.C. United-Kevin Alston, D, Indiana

D.C. will be pleased as can be if Alston falls to them. With contract discussions with right back Bryan Namoff at a standstill, United could land a cheaper and more athletic alternative who also happens to be from the area. He doesn't boast Wallace's upside, but Alston has the tools to be a very good pro.

7. D.C. United- Michael Lahoud, M, Wake Forest

With no standout central defenders available here, look for D.C. to grab the speedy and versatile Lahoud, who has shown an ability to play on the left flank as well as in a defensive midfield role. D.C. needs to add some speed in midfield and Lahoud is just the player to provide it. Do not be surprised to see D.C. grab Frei. Yes, they have Crayton and re-signed Zach Wells, but Frei is a special talent D.C. might not be able to pass on.

8. Kansas City- Baggio Husidic, M, Illinois-Chicago

The Wizards need a midfielder who can create and provide a real threat out of the middle. While they are still interested in bringing back Claudio Lopez he is not getting any younger. Enter Husidic, who boasts an impressive combination of size and a deft passing touch. There are concerns about him being able to cope at the next level, so the Combine will be key for Husidic.

9. Chivas USA-  Stefan Frei, GK, California

Do not be surprised to see Frei go higher, much higher. There are teams that rate the 6-foot-3 shot stopper as one of the best goalkeepers to come out of college in years, with some even saying he has more potential at this point in his career than Brad Guzan had.

10. New England-  Peri Marosevic, F, Michigan

The Revs clearly need help in central defense, but with a group of centerbacks still available, and the Revs holding another first-round pick, they grab the best young attacking prospect available in Marosevic. A tough and strong forward in the mold of an Alejandro Moreno, Marosevic could develop into the perfect partner for Taylor Twellman, and potentially a replacement for him if Twellman ever leaves.

11. FC Dallas- Yohance Marshall, D, South Florida

Let's be clear here. We still see FC Dallas winding up with No. 2 and taking Gonzalez. If not, and if this drat scenario played out, the Hoops would grab the best center back available, which most MLS folks believe is Marshall, a strong and athletic college senior with four years experience as a starter.

12. Real Salt Lake- Daniel Cruz, M, UNLV

If there is one position RSL lacks more than most it is a right-sided player and Cruz projects to be a tough righting winger. The youngest player in the draft, Cruz is still considered one of the most physically gifted. A strong and fit player who can find the net on his own as well as deliver good crosses in, Cruz can also be used up top if needed.

13. Toronto- O’Brian White, F, UConn

This pick isn't the foregone conclusion it seemed a few weeks ago. No, not because Toronto doesn't want him, but because there are other teams that covet White (D.C. United and RSL to name two). TFC might be tempted land a higher pick (after dealing away 2 and 4 that is) in order to secure White's services, or Toronto can gamble that teams will be too scared by White's recovery from knee surgery to spend a Top 12 pick on him.

14. New York- Lyle Adams, D, Wake Forest

In an ideal world, the Red Bulls would prefer to trade up to grab Rodney Wallace, but with that very unlikely, the Red Bulls would do well to grab Adams as a consolation prize. A speedy left back who can also get forward into the attack, Adams is just the type of overlapping fullback Juan Carlos Osorio is looking for. The Red Bulls could also go for a forward, like Chris Pontius.

15. New England- Calum Angus, D, St. Louis

The Revs need to replace Michael Parkhurst, a smallish but skillful central defender, and could have his replacement in Angus. While Angus projects more as a right back on the pro level, he did play well as a central defender in college and Steve Nicol just might see him as a player he can mold into a starting central defender. Another possibility is the Revs could draft Indiana midfielder Brad Ring and work toward moving Jeff Larentowicz into central defense.

MLS Draft Best XI (Version 3.0)

———-Peri Marosevic———Steve Zakuani————-

———————-Baggio Husidic————————–

Jeremy Hall—————————————-Daniel Cruz

————————-Sam Cronin—————————

Rodney Wallace———————————Kevin Alston

————Omar Gonzalez—-Yohance Marshall———–

————————Stefan Frei—————————-

—————————————————————–

What do you think of the new mock draft? Still don't think Zakuani will be the first pick? Have a hard time seeing LA grab Cronin at No. 3? Happy with who your team landed?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Draft 2009. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to SBI MLS Mock Draft (v. 4.0)

  1. KingSnake says:

    That dude from Oasis played for Wake Forest?

  2. Garrett says:

    Frei is a beast… he single-handedly led Cal to the NCAA Tourney upset v. UCSB. He had a couple of amazing saves and looked stronger than any college keeper I’d ever seen. All this while 20 of us sat behind his net and heckled him for the final 60 + OT minutes. This guy is a find and if he keeps improving the Nat’s might want to try and keep him from joining the Swiss? Nat. team.

    Honestly looked like he belonged in Europe more than the NCAA.

  3. Chris says:

    Would Frei be considered an international on rosters?

  4. ELAC says:

    What’s your take on Frie, Ives? We have Kennedy and Thornton, but we no longer have Zak Abdel.

    He’s kinda the reason why Guzan developed so quickly here at ChivasUSA.

    Is Frei ready to start now?

  5. The Athority says:

    As for the Red Bulls pick…..after watching Chris Pontius for many years, I would prefer that he be selected.

    He is not much of a player but his skits on Jackass were just hilarious.

  6. Ed says:

    You would think with the salary cap issues of LA they would pick a Generation Adidas player, but then again that was the line of thinking last year when they chose Franklin…

  7. eric says:

    Makes sense that Bruce would grab the most ready to play guy at #3, he doesn’t have patience letting his rookies develop.

    As far as the Sounder’s pick at #1, it just seems weird that the no 2 guy (Gonzalez) is the one getting all the hype. And if teams are offering Toronto so much for the #2 slot, shouldn’t Seattle offer up the number 1 pick if they can get a decent starter and a lower pick?

    Along those lines, I get why Tor wants to deal the 2nd pick, but why are they so eager to deal 2 and 4? I bet Wynne will be gone to Europe sooner rather than later, but I would LOVE to see them pair him with Wallace as the fullback tandem.

  8. matt c says:

    RE: Yohance Marshall. I’ve been watching (off and on) him play at USF for four years. He always stands out as one the best, most skilled and composed players on the fielf. Always thought he had pro potential.

    For those that haven’t seen him, he will remind you of Shalrie Joseph by his play. Until he cut his dreds off, he looked like him too. Comes from Trinidad and played for the youth national teams.

  9. Eugene says:

    Wow Ives, the previous mocks seemed pretty good, but this one looks well off to me

    I’m just not convinced that Cronin goes that high, especially for LA that needs defenders or some reasonably priced veterans. I think LA, given the cap situation, is also more likely to take a GA like Wallace or Alston or a young back-up for Eddie Lewis at left mid.

    I also don’t see DC taking Lahoud, who is “undersized” despite his speed and seems like a Corey Ashe-type player — great speed and athleticism but… technique? DC already has a veteran left wing in Fred and a veteran d-mid in Simms. Why take a project for full price rather than a GA? I think DC would be better off taking Husidic and moving Jaime Moreno forward. I could also see them taking Marosevic because they need some more youth in their striker corp.

    NE already has Dube and Mansally to partner Twellman, why pick up another young player there? Also none of their forwards from the last few years have come this high in the draft. I think you’re right in your later comment and NE goes with defense here. I could also see NE taking Lahoud or Cronin so they can move Larentowicz back and have a veteran defense. Lahoud also for speed on the left wing where they gave up Khano Smith.

    Your choice for RSL seems the strangest to me. This one sparked some controversy last time too. But why would RSL pick up an “undersized” project at right wing where they already have Alex Nimo developing? I get the impression that Nimo is higher up in the U-20 pecking order as well. Furthermore, RSL already has a young striker corp, why pick up another one there? For their right wing, they need someone with a different profile. I think they’re more likely to take an outside back given that they’re looking to move their veteran outside backs.

    For NY, if they trade up for Wallace, we can start the FIRE AGOOS call in earnest. I strongly think Wallace is overrated and I would prefer that NY just sit tight and take Lyle Adams or Calum Angus here, neither of which are consolation prizes. NY taking a forward this high in the draft? Why on earth? Magee can be sold for the right price, otherwise he’s fine right here. If he can stay healthy, I think he can have a better year next year than this year.

  10. Evan says:

    Not for nothing Ives, but you keep suggesting that the Revs should look to grab a central defender with one of their first two picks, but they already have potential replacements in Gabriel Badilla, and Rob Valentino. With Nicol having indicated that Badilla is stepping into Parkhurst’s old slot in the middle, why use a pick on another central defender so early in the draft when they have the most picks of any club in the draft?

  11. jim says:

    the dude in that picture looks just like Joey Barton. hopefully he isnt an ass like him. i have nothing else to add.

  12. Bits says:

    Will put money that RSL does not pick Cruz as they have a young project in Nimo there already!!!!

  13. Ives says:

    Eugene, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion but it’s just a mock draft and I’m not sitting here saying that this is how the first round will look because there are going to be a bunch of trades that shake up the order. That said, I have talked to enough team officials and have enough solid sources that I’m confident this is a good representation of where players are being rated and where they might go if the draft were held today and there were no trades.

    There are a bunch of different scenarios that play out even in doing the mock myself. All it takes is one change of a pick to change the entire round. For example, I agree that DC could go Husidic over Lahoud, that’s a very good possibility. Now, if that happened then Lahoud could slip to the Revs, but to say D.C. couldn’t use Lahoud and the Revs wouldn’t be interested in Marosevic is entirely your opinion based solely on what you think the teams need and how you think they might rate the players. I happen to believe differently based on what I’ve heard.

    The same applies with Cronin to LA. It’s easy to say that LA must get a Generation adidas player because their cap is a mess and what not, but Cronin’s not making big bucks and LA would be better off with a player who can step in right away than picking someone who might be a project. Yes, they need central defenders but taking anybody other than Gonzalez at No. 3 is a reach. You might think Cronin is a reach at No. 3 but I’ll tell you half the league disagrees with you.

    As for Danny Cruz, RSL may or may not take him but to say they wouldn’t take him because Nimo is there is a stretch to say the least. Cruz is more highly-regarded than Nimo in the youth national team setup and is a much more physically equipped player for the pro game at this point.

    Eugene, I respect your opinions on how you think the draft should go and I agree with plenty of your logic, but your opinions aren’t necessarily representative of what teams are actually thinking and how teams rate players at this point in time.

  14. cam says:

    why are these guys choosing denmark over mls? are these danish teams offering them more money? i know aalborg is going to play in the champions league, but no more than one game against a celtic or a man u. if in fact the reason they are leaving is because the danish teams are offering them more money, then garber must raise the salary cap. losing american talent to a minnow european league like denmark is an absolute embarassment.

  15. martha in miami says:

    Hey Ives,

    Are ya here yet? How ’bout them Gators!!!!!

    Looking like great weather for ya, though a touch cool in the evenings for this Miami gal.

    Call me and hope to see ya,
    Marta

    P.S. Always glad to hear we are short of forwards, as I know a good dynamic one, whom happens to be looking….lol!

  16. Rich says:

    Ives, can you explain the rationale behind TFC trading the second pick? The team needs help on defence and Gonzalez seems to be a coveted defender, so something doesn’t line up. Is it that Gonzalez is a project and Mo wants someone who can contribute right away? Or does Mo just not rate him as highly as some other teams?

  17. tonytdc says:

    if rbny already went through a drawn out process to acquire kandji, why select a striker in round 1? in a generally accepted scenario, i would much rather see adams, angus, or even ring selected. would be very happy if besler or ogunbiyi were selected in round 2. really help 2 positions in the defense.

  18. Bob says:

    Is the draft on TV????????? If so when and what station?

  19. Kaiser says:

    Ives,

    I read a rumor on a website about a 3 way trade with LA, TOR, and DAL. It went like this:

    LA gets: Johann Smith, 4th pick, 5th pick

    DAL gets: 2nd Pick, Eddie Lewis

    TOR gets: Serioux, Jazic, and allocation $$

    I know crazy rumors fly around this time of year, but what do you think of the deal? Is it plausible? Wanted your expert opinion. As an LA fan I really like the deal cause it gives the Galaxy some cap space and some young talent (something Lalas left us without much of). Think its a solid deal for the other 2 as well.

  20. Eugene says:

    Ives,

    I certainly recognize that you are in the flow of quality information and I’m not, and your draft reflects that information…

    …but teams make mistakes in the draft all the time. Perhaps it’s some kind of group think that gets them carried away with certain players while overlooking others. What this draft order indicates to me is that this year will be no different.

    There are a couple of coaches/team officials that are very good at drafting and I’d say Mo is near the top of that list. The fact that he has three picks and is jumping out implies that he doesn’t see any must have talents here.

    For all that, I’m just happy that the potential RBNY picks of Lyle Adams or Calum Angus make sense to me.

    I definitely understand that there are professionals at teams making these picks and I’m not one of them

  21. Chest Rockwell says:

    I think you may be right about the DC picks, but I wish you weren’t. Alston I’m OK with, since a) Namoff may end up leaving, b) DCU doesn’t seem to look at McTavish as an outside back, even though that’s clearly what his natural position is, c) GA players are golden, especially on a team that will spend as close to the full cap as possible, and d) more speed in the back is vital.

    I’m not so sure I see Lahoud as being the right pick for DC, though. The team has 2 useful defensive midfielders in Simms and Vide (though I wouldn’t mind seeing us improve on Vide, it’s pretty far down the list of changes needed), and on the left there’s Fred and Guerrero (who, incidentally, is an experienced and more skilled version of the “hard-working, speedy left midfielder” mold that Lahoud comes from). There are more pressing needs that can be filled with this pick: athleticism in defense (Marshall, or trade for someone like Dasan Robinson), a backup keeper that isn’t Wells (Frei), and a natural attacking midfielder to serve as Gallardo’s understudy (Husidic). I’d really rather see DC take any of those three before Lahoud.

    The recent comments from Kasper on behindthebadge indicate that the picks aren’t going to be traded, so I hope that, for once, we draft players that are both good enough and not going to sign in Europe a week into training camp (Robles, Jacobson, etc).

  22. VPjr says:

    Cam…Denmark is a solid 2nd tier Euro league.

    I know people playing pro in Denmark and they often speak highly about how good a job their clubs do in developing their players.

    Furthermore, yes, the money is likely better in Denmark than in MLS for most/all graduating seniors.

    Rich….TFC will/should trade out of the 2nd and 4th picks for proven players because a) the fans want a winner now and b) Mo Johnston & John Carver are under pressure to win this season.

    Gonzalez could very well be the next All Star CB in this league or, very easily, he could be the next Julius James.

  23. northzax says:

    Cam: yes, it’s money and lifestyle. If you spent your whole life playing soccer, wouldn’t you dream of playing in Europe? if you were a 22 year old single athlete, are you going to pick $150k in Copenhagen, where people know your name and you have a chance of playing in serious matches against the teams you likely grew up idolizing on television, or $33k in Kansas City, where you might as well be an administrative assistant at the local State Farm office for all the attention you will get?

    Bob: yes, the first hour is on the Deuce, Thursday 15th at 2PM EST.

  24. Jim says:

    Chest,

    What if they just stop dickering around, sign Namoff, and then draft Frei and Husidic?

  25. Jason says:

    if Frei is so good, when will Switzlerand call him up? next year?

  26. HIncha Tim says:

    Cam:

    Have you seen the women in Denmark? If you had you wouldn’t have to ask that question. The term “Hot Danish” can be used for more than a bakery product.

  27. northzax says:

    Jim:

    that won’t happen. DC needs at least one player who can contribute serious minutes now, not in a year or two. I don’t think anyone rates Husidic as a regular starter quality on day one. I think they will take EITHER Husidic, Marosovic or Frei, but in combination with someone like Alston who can play now.

  28. Jerry says:

    seriously does anyone really care about the MLS draft? let alone do we need 4 different “mock versions” of it? I just want my damn questions answered Ives sorry to come off like a jerk

  29. elopingcamel says:

    Cronin looks like Andy from The Office in that picture. He just needs the Cornell jersey and I would buy it.

  30. Johny says:

    I don’t follow college soccer, but do any of these players have any high technical ability?

  31. MattC says:

    northrax: I understand the money part as the Danish League has some UEFA cup money to throw around. However, the rest of it I think you have totally wrong.

    Nobody has ever heard of the teams you will play against in Denmark. If you happen to be on the top team in the league then you might get a shot or two against a big club for this year. But honestly, most MLS clubs will play many more games against top tier Euro teams than the Danish league will. In the few years of existance so far, RSL has played home matches with Real Madrid, Everton, Boca Juniors, Tigres, the Chinese National team. I think it would be hard to argue that living in Denmark is a better lifestyle than living in the U.S.

  32. Chest Rockwell says:

    Jim:

    I think if DC signs Namoff, we’re still taking Alston. He’s local, we need GA players, we need speed, and it seems to be the word all the worthwhile journalists are hearing. So, if we do sign Namoff, I see DC picking Alston and either Frei or Husidic.

  33. undrafted says:

    High technical ability? I’m not sure what your standard is, but a few of these guys are at least decent, Marosevic being the one I’ve seen. I haven’t seen enough of Zakuani, Husidic, or Cruz but they might qualify also. Alston and Cronin are plenty technical enough for MLS for what that’s worth.

    The first round (first hour) of the draft is on ESPN2, it’s already on the schedule they have at espn.com for 2pm EST. The rest will be available on mlsnet.com via stream.

    Switzerland like most nations probably won’t call up college age gk’s often.

    Jerry, apparently several people here do care and, sorry or not, you are coming across as a jerk.

    Denmark generally does pay more. Unless you have pop appeal (Beckham, Blanco). MLS should be alble to offear nearly as much but rarely does for decent college seniors.

    I agree with Eugene about Lahoud but think Wallace has incredible upside with a small risk of not panning out.

  34. jloome says:

    LA gets: Johann Smith, 4th pick, 5th pick
    DAL gets: 2nd Pick, Eddie Lewis
    TOR gets: Serioux, Jazic, and allocation $$

    I know crazy rumors fly around this time of year, but what do you think of the deal? Is it plausible? Wanted your expert opinion. As an LA fan I really like the deal cause it gives the Galaxy some cap space and some young talent (something Lalas left us without much of). Think its a solid deal for the other 2 as well.>

    I mean this in a non–personal, purely-on-soccer-assessment basis:

    Are you demented? TFC isn’t giving up Johann Smith anytime soon. They’re certainly not giving up two first rounders and Smith for Adrian Serioux (a player we could use and who makes some sense, despite Mo showing in year one he didn’t want him when we had him) and Ante Jazic (a player who adds nothing other than his citizenship to our existing squad.)

    Wow.

  35. Kaiser says:

    @jloome

    I appreciate it not being personal, but from a purely-on-a-soccer assessment basis consider the following:

    If TFC was so in love with Johann Smith, was was he left unprotected in the expansion draft? If I were TFC I would hold on to the guy, too, but with a loaded midfield with the addition of DeRosario, perhaps Mo thinks D is a bigger need.

    The chance to add two veteran defenders (who also happened to be Canadian and would free up international spots) would strengthen the team in one of its weakest areas. I have been hearing rumors about Serioux heading up north for about a week, so that part of the deal seemed fit, and honestly I think he is the type of guy TFC needs on D (even if Mo doesn’t see it). As far as Jazic goes, I will admit that was the puzzler in the deal when i heard it, but I figured may there was a call to bring home a fellow Canadian (plus I would think LA would agree to pay part of his salary).

    I think the allocation money was a key part to the deal. With a good allocation TFC could help pay down the salaries for both DeRosario and a possible incoming DP (probably a striker).

    With a tougher D, stacked midfield, and DP up front TFC would be scary.

  36. disapointed says:

    donovan is playing like shite

  37. Eugene says:

    Kaiser,

    I agree with jloome. I see how LA wins, I see how Dallas wins, I don’t see how Toronto wins. In that trade, it actually looks like Toronto is doing all the giving and getting nothing back in return, which seems VERY out of character for Mo.

    Toronto is giving up Johann Smith and all of its 1st round draft picks for Adrian Serioux (ok), Jazic (too old and injury prone), and allocation $$ (they have plenty of this). Why?

    I can see Toronto giving up its #2 draft pick and maybe another one in the first round for Adrian Serioux, but it should stop there. Why should Toronto give up Johann Smith here and even another 1st round draft pick? Why should LA be involved in this trade at all?

    If Mo makes this deal, I will laugh at him all year.