MLS Combine: Matchday One Commentary

Mls

The 2010 MLS Combine is set to kick off and the best way to describe the scene at Central Broward Regional Park is miserable. It's rainy and cold and a terrible setting, but the players on display today will have to suck it up and show they're tough as well as skilled.

The projected No. 1 player in the draft, Danny Mwanga, is not in Florida. Sources tell me he and the Philadelphia Union reached an agreement that will make Mwanga the No. 1 pick in the MLS Draft so MLS let Mwanga no he no longer needed to play.

So what will be the main storyline? Ike Opara and Tony Tchani will very likely be battling to be the New York Red Bulls pick at No. 2. I'd bet on Opara, but if Tchani can impress, new Red Bulls GM Erik Soler could be tempted to go with the midfielder over the central defender.

I will be providing live commentary throughout the day so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action:

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6pm- FINAL, Predator 0, Jabulani 0. What a snoozer of a match. That's it for now. I'll check back in later with some updates. Thank you for following along.

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5:56 pm- Shame about the field conditions. The players in the second match are having to deal with a pretty chewed up field. Still can't believe there have been no goals this game.

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5:51 pm- Other players who have impressed in the second match:

Samuel Appiah

Kwaku Nyamekye

Jack McInerney

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5:46 pm- Ugly game. Here are some thoughts:

Two-Boys Gumede is very fast.

Collen Warner has some good skill and looks like a good sleeper pick.

Mike Seamon also looks good as far as passing and movement.

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5:32 pm- Mike Pezza with the first yellow card of the Combine for a pretty harsh challenge. Crosses, Pezza, you need to hit some crosses.

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5:29 pm- McInerney hits a nice volley for a would-be goal on a great pass from Mike Seamon, but the linesman has the flag up. Somebody tell the linesman that we need some goals scored in this game before everybody falls asleep.

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5:26 pm- Mike Seamon is showing good energy in midfield for Predator.

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5:23 pm- Second half is underway. Samuel Appiah shows some good speed early.

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5:17 pm- From other observers: Teal Bunbury and Andre Akpan looked good as Team Predator dominated play in the first half. Their midfield is stacked.

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5:14 pm- The field is bad and it's even colder than earlier.

Haven't been able to tap into any real trade talk just yet, though I'm getting the sense that Toronto will find a way to trade into the first round.

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5:04 pm- It's halftime of the second match and I can't say I saw much of the action. I watched half of the first half and nothing stood out.

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5:04 pm- MLS COMBINE UPDATE. The schedule could be changed. Sunday's games may be played on Monday, which would make Sunday an off-day. Still waiting for final word on that.

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5:01pm- To call the second game today a snooze-fest would be an understatement.

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4:50pm- Here are the Game two lineups (it's scoreless in the first half):

JABULANI

———–Bunbury—–Schilawski————

Duka————Nakazawa———–Estrada

——————–Okugo———————

Aiyegbusi—-Tangney—-Clack———–Welch

———————Haggarty———————

PREDATOR

—————Akpan——-Chinn——————-

Da Luz——-Gavin—–Bone————Stephens

Sinovic——-Ream—-Edgington———Borak

——————-Bubonja————————–

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4:46pm- Remember U.S. Under-17 national team midfielder Carlos Martinez? He isn't at the Combine, or coming to MLS, but he is beginning a training stint with Mexican club Tigres and has received an invitation to train with Boca Juniors.

So why didn't he sign with MLS after graduating high school? Martinez signed a contract with Nike last year, making a Generation adidas deal impossible.

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4:45pm- Apologies for the delay, but we were doing interviews.. Some good tidbits though

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4:15pm- Watson-Siriboe has looked surprisingly fast for his size, while Hadaveg has looked pretty slow. 

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4:12 pm- Millien needs to learn how to pass the ball rather than dance on it.

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4:10- Justin Morrow has done well getting forward. He's been the most impressive fullback in this match.

Also, I like Irving Garcia's game. He's got to be impressing coaches with his confidence on the ball in tight spaces.

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4:06pm- F50 draws a PK on a Peterman foul of LaBaeux. Drew Yates converts the penalty.

CONDIVO 4, F50i 1

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4:05pm- If you are following the action here on SBI, let me know in the comments section.

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3:59pm- GOAL CONDIVO. Othaniel Yanez with a BLAST of a goal from 30 yards out. Stunned everybody with that one. Best goal of the day.

The Louisville defensive midfielder is a sleeper who has looked good since coming in for Tchani.

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3:53 pm- Some second-half thoughts:

Isaac Kissi has looked good as a forward, though he just skied a free kick.

Irving Garcia has been impressive when he's gotten the ball. He's small, but clearly he's skilled

Tyler Barry is playing right back rather than left back, tried a move with the ball in his own third and got stripped for a counter. He's a good player, but is coming back from knee surgery so the rust shows.

Millien is on the left now for F50, joining Sarkodie on that side. Poor Sarkodie can't get away from the ball-hogging winger so he can show his stuff going forward.

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3:45pm- Here are the second half lineups:

CONDIVO

————–Kissi——-Elenz-Martin————–

Loyd————-Thomas———————-Braun

———————Yanez—————————

Peterman—-Opara——–Kinney———-Barry

———————Perk————————-

ADIDAS F50

————–Garcia———Walker—————-

Millien——–Yates———O'Brien——-LaBauex

Sarkodie—–Watson-Siriboe—Hedevag—-Herold

———————-Moore—————————–

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3:26pm- HALFTIME in the first game. Condivo 3, adidas F50i 0.

Who's looked good?

Hoxie, Tchani, Loyd, Opara and Alexander for Condivo. Not many looked bad for Condivo to be honest.

Yates and, well, that's pretty much it. Millien has had a lot of the ball, but has produced little effectively. Sarkodie has handled his defensive duties, but hasn't shown anything offensively. Sean Johnson hasn't had much of a chance to impress. Andrew Wiedeman has been invisible, but has had no service to speak of.

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3:18pm- Sarkodie with a good defensive intervention. Yates with some more good possession. Loyd just tried to run past Sarkodie but Sarkodie did well to close him down, but he did give up a corner.

Sean Johnson hasn't had much of a chance on any of the three Condivo goals. Perk has had a bit more to do and looks quick, which is one of his obvious strengths.

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3:14pm- Millien has had more of the ball than anybody on F50.

Ofori Sarkodie finally gets forward and sends a floating cross in that didn't quite provide a threat. Tough spot for Sarkodie because he can't really get forward with Millian dominating his flank.

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3:11pm- Ike Opara's speed is impressive, but even with that, Millien still got space against him for a nice cross.

For some reason Hoxie and Dike keep trying to put moves on when they're just a bit too slow to pull them off. That said, Hoxie has impressed.

GOAL CONDIVO- Eric Alexander with the finish from 20 off a pass from Hoxie. Tchani started that play.

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3:03pm- Pascal Millien, a shifty winger from U. of Tampa, has looked decent on the right flank. He's quick and not bad on the ball.

GOAL CONDIVO- Steven Kinney (Elon) heads home a free kick. Not sure who sent that one in. I'll look to find out who.

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2:58pm- Drew Yates has looked sharp and Tchani has seemingly won every challenge he's jumped into.

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2:56pm- Updates won't be as frequent as I had hoped. Not much to report right now, teams are feeling each other out, Tchani has looked good whn he's touched the ball.

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2:49pm- GOAL Condivo. Andrew Hoxie with a nice finish from the left flank, he came down the left, cut to his right and sent a curling right-footed shot into the far corner. He's not just a big man, he's got some skill at forward.

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2:47pm- Here are the lineups for today's first match:

TEAM CONDIVO

—————Dike——Hoxie———————

Loyd————–Tchani——————–Vroom

——————-Alexander———————

Morrow——Opara——-Kinney———-Edwards

——————–Perk——————————-

TEAM ADIDAS F50i

————Wiedeman—-Bouemboue——————

Becerra—–LaBauex——-Yates————-Millien

Davis——–McVea———-Cardenas——Sarkodie

———————-Johnson————————–

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2:46pm- The First match is underway. Lineups are coming

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PRE-GAME- New York is on the clock now since Philly has locked up Mwanga. Ike Opara is the leading candidate to be the pick, but Tchani really could play himself into that spot. I don't see the Red Bulls going for a forward or for Corben Bone.

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PRE-GAME- Teams are doing some run-throughs. Looks like we're running late. 

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PRE-GAME- For those of you who are interested in following all things Combine, MLSNet is having live coverage, including live on-site video (I'm taking part as a guest for some of it).

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PRE-GAME- Good afternoon folks. The first match is set to kick off at 2:30pm. I will try to post lineups (to say the set-up here for the media is awful is an understatement).

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56 Responses to MLS Combine: Matchday One Commentary

  1. Joel V. says:

    Great update Ives. Your website continues to be the best American soccer website. I enjoy reading it everyday. Thank you for existing!!!

  2. JJ says:

    With Houston not having a pick until Round 3 I think (and not sure how many they have – maybe only 2 picks), any chance of a trade or allocation dollars to get those picks back or just sit and see which guy comes our way who is Gen Adidas and draft him to avoid the cap hit?

  3. Jason says:

    Nice to see Ives in action. For those that want it, there’s coverage on the MLS Insider blog

  4. donturtuccio says:

    what kind of a first name is two-boys?

  5. Igor says:

    Heads up:
    You have Loyd twice on both flanks.

  6. MB Beachbum says:

    They should have had the combina at the HDC. It is 75 and sunny here today.

  7. patrick says:

    for anyone interested, there’s a brief interview with donovan after the game. Scroll down to the bottom.

    link to news.bbc.co.uk

  8. DDT5583 says:

    Hey Ives,

    Is Klopas floating around down there? I’m not sure where he’s been managing the CdlC negotiations from, but I would think he’d need to be at the Combine given that the drafting burden will fall mainly on his shoulders.

  9. Amit says:

    There won’t be any Gen Ad players left by round 3. They’re the most coveted as their salaries do not count against the salary cap.

  10. Tim F. says:

    Thanks for this coverage Ives. How deep is this draft? What’s your guess of how many players in this year’s draft will develop in three years into solid MLS starters? 20? 35? 50?

  11. Non says:

    anything on Ross Labeaux?

  12. frank says:

    following

  13. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    I’m right here Ives. Thanks for the updates.

  14. GY says:

    Definitely following you on here Ives. Hoping Walker and Hedevag from UCSB do something in the second half. None of the others seem to have good commentary. You’re doing great. Thanks for that.

  15. Nick_C says:

    i’ve been following. garcia doing well doesn’t surprise me, I was at the Irvine @ UCSB game at the end of the season, and he dominated throughout. Despite being small, he looked like a tough player, seemed to win all the 50-50 fights he was in and never got pushed off the ball.

  16. Non says:

    following

  17. Stan says:

    Folloeing

  18. Chicago Mike says:

    here :)

  19. Jason says:

    following, thanks for the updates.

  20. billy says:

    hey ives, im following. was wondering though about the video coverage on mlsnet. you made it sound as if there was live coverage, but i couldnt find any. just pregame video on mlsinsider. is that all there is?

  21. Jason says:

    I’m still following. Any “insider” stuff you care to share? Or how about how some players (Wiedeman and Loyd, specifically) are doing?

  22. Tim F. says:

    Following Ives. By the way, great appearance on MLS.net combine coverage!

  23. DJ Barnett says:

    I’ve been here all day baby!!!!!!Thanks for all the countless hours you put in away from the family to provide the SBI Mafia with our fixes!!!

  24. Jason says:

    Yep. There will be highlights later on, plus some half-time and post-game stuff.

  25. Baysider says:

    Thanks for the updates Ives.

    The irony is that they moved the combine from the HDC after having problems with the weather

  26. CC says:

    anything on the Predator game yet?

  27. David says:

    Following.

  28. John in Seattle says:

    Thanks for the updates!

  29. joe smith says:

    thanks for the updates

  30. emilio says:

    HEY Ives,

    thanks for the coverage, and word on potential trades?

  31. odsum25 says:

    Thanks for the updates, Ives!

  32. who is this millen guy?

  33. JamieC says:

    Thanks for the coverage Ives. Been checking in here and at MLS Insider, and looking forward to your insights in the next couple of days.

  34. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the coverage Ives, I really enjoyed last years commentary about the combine. Glad you are back again this year.

  35. ernj says:

    I keep checking in. Great stuff!

  36. Red Card says:

    I saw Irving Garcia in 2008 at an NCAA playoff game at St John’s. He was really impressive. Size will be an issue, but his skill is definitely there. He is an ACM of the Cienfuegos type. I believe he is Guatemalan but has USA citizenship. Not really sure.

  37. adenovato says:

    following this

    too bad there is such a ball hog

    talk about killing your chances

  38. Josh says:

    following… get the ball hog outta there coaches

  39. smorebs says:

    following…Really waiting for game 2 though.

  40. Nick_C says:

    has hadaveg assisted an own goal yet?

  41. adenovato says:

    boca juniors? that’s incredible

    if he performs… cap him quick!

  42. Rex says:

    Thats what Houston thought last year until GA Danny Cruz fell into their lap.

  43. I think good for carlos, because if neither of those stints work out he can enter the league as a free agent. But i think he will do fine in mexico.

  44. ACE says:

    Way to continue your mistaken grammar-filled splurges!

  45. over there says:

    following the action, good work

  46. Josh says:

    where is toni stahl?

  47. Ryan says:

    Thoughts on the UCLA kids, Perk, Stephens, Okugo, Estrada and Nakazawa?

  48. Sean M says:

    For the two who were wondering:Two-Boys is my friend,he’s originally from South Africa

    Also Irviing Garcia lived in a rural part of Arizona before going to UCI,his parents are from Mexico.Watched him play college (UCI is close to my house),great to hear him doing well so far,he has a rediculous amount of pace and a good touch

  49. Fred says:

    Ives,

    Hasn’t anybody told you that the MLS draft doesn’t matter? Just wondering.

  50. Rory says:

    Following your posts while watching the JETS playoff game.

    Now if Edgeington does well and the Jets pull out a win this will be a good day for me.

    Also, the deeper this field proves to be the better for my Rapids which need some help in midfield depth.

  51. timothy says:

    i have to say that I would be very excited if Carlos Martinez could make it with Boca Juniors. I really hope he takes that trial

  52. Tyler says:

    Good post Ives, thanks.

    I was wondering about your impression of Dilly Duka? I guess no mentions means he didn’t particularly stand out. Do you remember anything in particular?

  53. micahdepaul says:

    bright dike is awful, played against him in college, he lacks so much soccer skill. physical attributes, he has, however, he doesnt even know how to use them correctly in a proper soccer manner. would be a better running back.

  54. Nicole Sundby says:

    Following you… not literally… just in the blog…

    Would love to hear more about the California boys – too bad about Hedavog being slow – what about Walker (UCSB)?

  55. SrySnffy says:

    Think you’ve seen enough to list a top 5ish prospects? (no keepers, obviously)

    I need/want Da Luz and McInerney to show well. They both seem like players RSL would snag.

  56. pete says:

    Why hold combine in freezing weather. Hold it in California.