MLS Combine’s Top Performers

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The 2010 MLS Combine is history, but before it gets put to bed, we're going to look at the combine's top performers.

While several players impressed during the three days worth of matches in freezing Fort Lauderdale, FL., only a few can be labeled as the cream of the crop. Now this list is not a list of the most talented guys at the combine, nor is it a list of who will be selected first. This is simply just a list of the players with the best overall performances at the combine.

With that said, here are my top performers from the combine:


5. Drew Yates, M, Maryland

There was a plethora of attacking midfielders among the draft prospects, but Drew Yates was certainly among the better ones. Yates was confident on the ball, and constantly released dangerous passes to his forwards. Yates' always looked to be involved in his team's attacks, and his first touch was smooth for the most part. He also confidently claimed and converted a penalty kick on Day One.

4. Irving Garcia, M, UC-Irvine

Irving Garcia may be small, but he can play. Garcia looked good throughout his games, and scored a goal on Day Two. The quick 5'5 midfielder is confident with the ball at his feet, and can dribble through tight spaces, traits rarely seen among this pool of players. Along with taking players on 1-v-1, Garcia showed some mental toughness, playing through pain in the final game after a collision forced him out for part of Day Two.

3. Eric Alexander, M, Indiana University

Playing on a team that was stacked with talented midfielders, Eric Alexander still managed to shine. Alexander had a great combine, showing off a good first touch while also being able to make a tough tackle or two. Alexander also delivered good set-pieces, and scored two good-looking goals, including a game-winning, long-range blast on Day Three.

2. Justin Morrow, D, Notre Dame

Justin Morrow was all over the field in his three games at the combine, and MLS coaches likely took notice. Questions remain about how good he is defensively, but Morrow can motor up and down the wing and is a threat with his pin-point crosses. Morrow, who had a nice assist on Day One, played left back for much of the combine, but was deployed at left mid in the second half of the final match, where he was a constant threat.

1. Tony Tchani, M, University of Virginia

Tony Tchani is the real deal. The 20-year-old midfielder had a near-flawless combine, breaking up countless plays while also demonstrating an ablity to maintain possession and make nice passes. Tchani's fearless performances at the combine proved he will be ready to contribute to an MLS team from the start, so don't be surprised if you see the New York Red Bulls pass on defender Ike Opara in favor of Tchani with the second overall pick on Thursday.

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What do you think of this list? Surprised by any of these players' inclusion? Think your team has a realistic chance of landing any of these players?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to MLS Combine’s Top Performers

  1. Isaac says:

    Nice to see a creative attacking midfielder doing well. I would keep a fixed eye on Austin da Luz.

  2. Smith says:

    Ives – In time will Dilly Duka be the greatest player of all time or just one of the top five????

  3. M says:

    I heard Bunbury sucked bigtime

  4. Tim says:

    Never any forwards impressing in these things are there?

  5. Isaac says:

    Not any eligible for the USA, no.

  6. I had Peri Marosevic listed in last year’s top five.

    link to soccerbyives.net

  7. pete says:

    where did you hear this?

  8. M says:

    He didn’t score a single goal in 3 days at the combine. Ask anyone who attended the thing

  9. Gary says:

    I second that. He is the best creative midfielder by far.

  10. Gary says:

    Interesting. From watching the college cup, he looked good. Second to Mwanga though.

  11. fischy says:

    I did. And…you’re wrong.

  12. Peterjh says:

    Yeah, Bunbury sucked. Any team with one of the top ten picks would be crazy to take him.

  13. over there says:

    off subject, but has anyone found a good feed for the african cup of nations?

  14. Brian says:

    I’m hoping for Da Luz in LA. I just dont think he’ll fall down to #15.

  15. Dave says:

    Happy to see Morrow do so well. He seems like a real nice kid.

  16. SL_AZ says:

    irvin garcia is gonna be the best player picked in this year’s draft…i know it

  17. Roy says:

    did u here ives called Duka, the messi of the combine
    when someone calls u messi that means u were nasty and had great skills on day 2, not going to lie that i was there and i saw duka cut up 5 players like they weren’t even there and plus made them fall to the ground, he even gave a pass to teal that was a open goal and he missed the whole goal, but they want to keep all the hype on tony cuz of his size, doesnt have much skills, very slow on the ball and played horribly in his third game, where ever duka goes he winning the mls cup

  18. DC Josh says:

    Wow, I’m surprised Yates played so well. He is a solid player, very technical, especially for his size. Would be glad to see him go to any team in the MLS and get some time on the pitch this season.

  19. Chis says:

    Mr. Duka, is that you?

  20. Socrates says:

    Since you mention it Franco your list from last year was:

    5. Oscar Castillo, D, UConn
    4. Kevin Alston, D, Indiana
    3. Sam Cronin, M, Wake F
    2. Peri Marosevic, F, Mich.
    1. AJ DeLaGarza, D, Maryland

    Three of those guys had fantastic rookie seasons, and Peri may pan out later when he gets more of a chance to play. So, even though these rankings only reflect performance at the combine (not overall pro potential), and even though the combine is far from perfect as an evaluation tool, combine performance may still be a pretty good indicator of player quality, at least when limited to those who really stand out from the crowd.

    As for Oscar Castillo… what happened to that guy?

  21. Tom says:

    If the NFL has taught us anything, it’s that combine performance is regularly overvalued compared to “real-world” performance over time.