Photo by ISIphotos.com
Good afternoon folks. For those of you who have taken a break from all the inauguration coverage (or a break from work), here are the answers to (most of) the rest of your post-draft questions.
And no, I haven't forgotten about the regular Q&A. I plan on having the first section of the last regular Q&A done for the morning.
For now, let's talk MLS Draft. With many of those draft picks reporting for practices this week, here is one last look back at the draft as I answer your draft-related questions.
FUBAR- Wallace (Costa Rican by birth) moved here at age 9. How does it work for someone like this regarding USMNT? Would he consider it or is he Costa Rican bound? I hate when we have to play against these types of guys…
IVES- Wallace (pictured above with the serious face he wore most of draft day) is eligible to play for the United States and has never represented Costa Rica on any level that I know of. He’s been involved with the ODP program so I think it’s safe to say he’s someone who plans on playing for the United States.
STERLINHO- What happens to the players that didn't get drafted? I know that the USL has a draft, but can teams just start calling players like Marshal, Angus, Hertel and invite them to camp? Do they have to sign them first as an undrafted free agent first?
IVES- Every team can put in a discovery claim on two undrafted rookies, meaning someone is likely to have MLS dibs on Marshall, Angus and Hertel. From what I’m hearing Marshall and Angus are more likely to pursue USL deals. I can’t say I blame them because if it’s the same money (and possibly more in some instances) you’re better off playing in USL than riding the pine in MLS with no reserve league to get games in.
AL JAROV- I think a lot less players would wash out of MLS if teams picked players that they could actually use and give minutes to instead of hoarding 'the best talent'. Drafting is a bit like shopping – if you buy something on sale, it's not good value unless you want/need it. I don't think RSL needed Frei, Ives, but then, I don't think Toronto did anything (at least in the short term) to address their needs by adding Cronin and Frei to back up positions theyu have excellent depth at.
IVES- Not sure I agree there Al. If a player has talent he will get on the field in MLS. Teams aren’t THAT deep to keep someone with real talent on the bench beyond a year. As for RSL, no kidding that they didn’t need Frei but value is value and Frei was worth considerably more than Jean Alexandre. RSL missed the chance to grab serious value and acquire more than just Alexandre via trade.
As for Toronto, their most pressing need is central defender and there was only one worth taking anywhere near that early (Omar Gonzalez) and TFC (like several other teams) didn’t rate Gonzalez that highly. They then took Cronin, who provides excellent cover for a midfield trio of DeRosario, Guevara and Robinson, which isn’t getting any younger. Also, the fact that you can put DeRosario on the left wing and use Robinson in central defense tells me that Cronin will get more playing time than fans in Toronto realize.
BUBBA- I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the Dynamo drafting the rights to Marcus Tracy? I know the Dynamo only had two draft picks in the latter stages of the draft but I was wondering if this gamble was better than taking a chance on one of the guys left in the draft? New England lucked out to get Michael Videira in a similar situation, but I just don't see the Dynamo being so lucky…
IVES- Here’s the thing with Houston. They were already a loaded team before the change in roster sizes, so now they have to trim four from that roster. Throw in Cruz, who should make the team as a Generation adidas player and suddenly the Houston roster doesn’t exactly have much room. Why waste a pick on a player who is highly unlikely to make the squad when you can take a chance on Tracy washing out of Europe (or maybe getting homesick). Would I have made that pick? Probably not, but I certainly understand why Houston did it.
ZACH- Hi Ives. What percentage of the players drafted do you see making the roster. And what is the average price for the non-Generation adidas picks of the 3rd and 4th rounds.
IVES- 40 percent sounds like a good number. Probably too high but there is a lot of dead weight that can be trimmed in MLS. Closer to 30 percent would be a safer bet but I've got confidence in this draft class.
SCOTT- Do you think the steal of the draft was Alston at #10 for NE? Or Frei at #13 for Toronto?
IVES- In terms of player value I would say Frei was the bigger steal, but in terms of a team’s desire for a player, the Revs absolutely loved finding Alston at 10 when they were ready to trade up to three to try and get him. Baggio Husidic just might wind up being the overall steal of the draft though.
EUGENE- You mentioned in your ESPN draft grades that the Red Bulls missed on the two players they wanted in the draft. Who were those two players?
IVES- I have heard that New York was targeting Notre Dame central defender Matt Besler with the No. 11 pick before KC took him at 8. Evan Brown was definitely a target for the No. 18 pick when the Red Bulls began the second round.
PAUL- Did the Galaxy manage to fill in some big holes with their draftees (and why)?
IVES- If you believe that Omar Gonzalez is as good as some teams think he is then you have to like him as a solution in central defense. LA also acquired Dema Kovalenko, which helped address the need for a defensive midfielder. I don’t think you can look at any of the team’s other draft picks and say they have addressed needs because they are all projects. I do like AJ De La Garza, Josh Boateng and Kyle Patterson as prospects, but can’t see anybody projecting them to start or play major minutes this year.
TONY IN QUAKELAND- The Quakes seem openly dismissive of the draft in general, trading away picks almost casually and hardly sounding enthusiastic about the guys they did pick. Are they right? Wrong? Do they reflect the hidden consensus?
IVES- I didn’t realize San Jose had given off that vibe. Perhaps the front office lacks the knowledge to make full use of the draft so they downplay it’s significance. I would say that most teams appreciate the draft for what it is and recognize the value in utilizing the draft and being prepared for it. Some teams are better at it than others. All that said, I’m pretty sure Frank Yallop would have taken back the No. 2 overall pick if he had the chance to because, let’s face it, Sam Cronin could start for San Jose and second-round pick Brad Ring just might.
BGNEWF- why did Frei fall so far down in the first round?
IVES- There were three teams I could see taking him early: DC, KC and Chivas. D.C. decided to grab Wallace and Pontius, arguably the best fullback and best pure goal scorer in the draft. They also had the intention of grabbing Milos Kucic. KC always planned on grabbing Matt Besler (and I heard they reached for him at No. 8 after getting wind of New York’s interest).
Chivas USA would have absolutely taken Frei before losing Francisco Mendoza and learning that Sacha Kljestan was set for a trial with Celtic. Once Lahoud fell to the Goats they had to take him and pass on Frei. After that New England pounced on Alston, New York jumped on Jeremy Hall and Real Salt Lake reached badly for Jean Alexandre.
UNITED FURY- With DC taking Milos Kocic higher then everybody thought he would, does that mean Zach Wells or Louis Crayton is on the way out of DC? It seems that they wouldn't have taken him that high unless they planned on him being the #2 goalkeeper.
IVES- I’m not sold on United being committed to Wells so it wouldn’t shock me of Kocik was drafted to take the No. 2 job from Wells.
LAKAiX15- With the draft that RBNY had do you think, that Sir. Osorio and Agoos will trade any players from last years team. Or waive or let go any players that didnt get any minutes to get more cap space for the new players or new other signings? also is RBNY looking for any p[layers in MLS that they want for possible trade and or do you know who RBNY is looking at out of the league and any identify if you do know who?
IVES- Let’s look at who is already gone:
Dave Van Den Bergh
Here is who has joined already: '
That leaves five spots, which make up for the four-spot decrease in the roster size.
Once you factor in the roster spot that will be left by at least one goalkeeper leaving (and possibly two) that makes the room for Jeremy Hall and potentially Babjide Ogunbiyi or Jack Traynor. This means the team still needs to cut at least one more player to make room for a draft pick, and one or two more spots for new signings in the back-line and possibly in central midfield. Who is in danger of being cut? Michael Palacio, John Gilkerson and David Roth are all on the fence and will need to battle hard to retain their roster spots.
METROSTAR 4 LIFE- Ives, in your opinion, which team made the most out of their draft picks?
IVES- If we’re talking maximizing value for the picks that they had, I would say D.C., Chicago, LA. Colorado and New England got good value for the picks they made.
YO- Any chance the Red Bulls invite David Hertel, Yohance Marshall, Oscar Castillo and perhaps some others to the team's upcoming camp? Which player are you most surprised did not get picked in the MLS draft?
IVES- I see those three players getting invites but am not sure about the Red Bulls doing the inviting. ———————————-
RSLIDAHO- Did you happen to catch a whiff of what Kreis & Co. were smoking before the draft?
IVES- I believe it was called Nik Besagno 2.0.
TIM- What do you think of DCU's draft. Who specifically do you see playing a role in their season? Would you agree that most of them will see some playing time due to the extra games they will play because of the Champions league and the us open cup (if dc takes it as serious as they did last year)?
IVES- I thought D.C. had a very good draft. Rodney Wallace is the big question mark. If he can develop into the type of standout left back some feel he can be then D.C. will come away very happy. If not, then there will be questions about whether D.C. should have gone in another direction with the No. 6 pick. I do see Wallace, Pontius and Lyle Adams getting playing time in the multiple competitions the club will be involved in. If Kocic beats out Zach Wells for the No. 2 job then he will be in that group as well.
J- Which players in the draft pool do you think have real potential to play for a national team, and of those, which could find themselves trying to decide between 2 or more countries?
IVES- If the question is who could be the next Neven Subotic, I don’t think Stefan Frei is cap-tied to Switzerland so perhaps he could wind up being someone who struggles with a decision, especially if he winds up being as good as some scouts think he will be.
KEVIN- Why did DC wait so long for a keeper, when they could've gotten Stefan Frei?
IVES- They saw other needs to fill and thought very highly of Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius. Obviously they liked Milos Kocic enough to take him in the second round so maybe that made it easier to pass on Frei.
HEFFE- As an RSL fan, I would like your analysis on why RSL would pick Alexandre with the 12th pick? RSLIDAHO has it right.
IVES- Well Heffe, that was my initial reaction to the Alexandre pick. Here is the interesting thing about Alexandre. He was a goal-scoring machine in college but impressed at the Combine as a hard-tackling central midfielder. I don’t see any other team in MLS taking Alexandre as either a striker or defensive midfielder in the first round, and MAYBE as a defensive midfielder late in the second round.
SCOTT A- I noticed that ESPN changed the format of the front page on their website; now, the list of sports at the top goes NFL, MLB, NBA, Soccer, College Football & Basketball, then NHL, with several sports bumped. Will you accept that it was your MLS Draft coverage that caused ESPN to increase the visibility of the sport? Half-kidding…but good on ESPN
IVES- I wish I had that kind of influence, but it was definitely a nice change to the front page. Certainly makes it easier to get to the soccer content.
DEVON- Are the Sounders still hoping to reach a deal with Jeff Parke and did that uncertainty influence their draft moves?
IVES- Yes. I spoke to Sigi Schmid last week and he stated that the Sounders are still hoping to sign Parke. As to whether that impacted their selections, I’m not so sure about that. They were very interested in grabbing a right back and Evan Brown was the player they wanted. Now, if George John was available I think they would have grabbed him.
ERIC from TUCSON- Do you think its a good strategy to ignore the later round picks and go for the Europe bound players? Seems like they could develop in Europe, then return for some trading, allocating, or playing. Seems like a move for the future would pay off.
IVES- It’s a calculated gamble that certain teams take because the value of the draft picks isn’t the same for them. In this year’s cases, you had Toronto, which is limited in the number of American players it can have on its roster anyway, so it can afford to waste a pick on a flyer.
In Houston’s case, you have a loaded team that will already be cutting four players from a stacked roster due to roster rule changes so rather than taking some fourth-round college player with little chance of making the team the Dynamo takes a gamble on Marcus Tracy, who could wind up coming back to the United States for any number of reasons. They keep his rights for two years, which means two years when something could bring Tracy back.
CHRIS- The Red Bulls certainly seem to be faster and more athletic than last year, however they still have the same holes – center midfield and defense. Do you see them winning more games than last year?
IVES- The Red Bulls aren’t done with their roster. They have a bunch of allocation money and still need at least one more central defender and possibly a winger and/or fullback. I actually don’t think attacking midfielder is something the club will be looking for.
I know most Red Bulls fan think that is the top area of need but I think Juan Carlos Osorio will look to keep a pairing of Seth Stammler and either Luke Sassano, Sinisa Ubiparipovic or Juan Pietravallo in the middle, with Jorge Rojas also seeing games there as well as on the left wing. As the team sits right now I can’t say they would win more games, although having Juan Pablo Angel healthy for a whole season as opposed to half a season could help the win total.
GRANT- Great site, Ives. What will probably happen to the 12 guys that were entered in the draft and didn't get drafted? I guess you could also add to that the 20-30 guys who were drafted but won't make rosters. If you could give any info about Evan Bush in particular, I'd appreciate it.
IVES- There were far more than just 12 players who didn’t get drafted. Basically each MLS team can put a discovery claim on two undrafted rookies while also inviting as many undrafted and unclaimed rookies as they want to camp. I’m not sure who is interested in Bush, but I’m sure he will be invited to a camp.
EVAN- How important is the MLS Superdraft? In terms of improving a MLS team, how do MLS Managers value the draft or do Managers think signing foreign players, trading, etc. is a better means of improving their teams?
IVES- It really isn’t an either/or thing. Teams need to use both the draft and foreign signings/trades to bolster teams. With the salary cap as low as it is, teams would be foolish not to take advantage of the cheap source of labor that comes in through the draft each year.
DANIEL- Where's Zack Simmons, goalkeeper from Massachusetts? Is he going to be signed by somebody as a free agent?
IVES- He’s supposedly going to finish school but it wouldn’t shock me if he wound up in New England Revs camp, and eventually on their roster.
GREG- Can NYRB still sign Matt Kassel straight from the academy? Wouldn't they want to do that rather than risk losing him in next year's draft?
IVES- The Red Bulls can sign Kassel as long as he fulfills the requirements of the league, meaning he has to maintain his status with the Red Bulls youth set-up. If he stops training and playing with the Red Bull academy then the team loses its rights to him.
All the folks who are outraged that Kassel hasn’t signed yet should take into account the fact that with rosters down to 24 from 28 it is that much tougher for teams to carry young players who are still a year or two away from playing, particularly weaker teams that need ever roster spot. The general consensus around the league about Kassel was that he wasn’t ready this year, which is why he didn’t come out. I think Kassel comes out next year, but am not as sure that he will still be a Red Bull prospect then.
JOAMIQ- Ives, do you think the Red Bulls have adequately addressed their defensive depth concerns through the draft, or do you think they still have work to do? Do you think Traynor will be able to give them anything next year?
IVES- They definitely still have work to do. I think they need to sign two more defenders, a central defender and a fullback, preferably someone who can play right and left back. I’m not so sure about Traynor stepping and playing much in year one, though he was pretty well-regarded coming out of college.