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The 2010 MLS Draft is less than a week away, and the MLS Combine is just a day away, meaning the prospects in this year's draft will soon have their chance to improve their stock and are just days from learning their professional fates.
This weekend's Combine will go a long way in determining where players will be drafted, especially players such as Dilly Duka (pictured), who has been out of action for months. A strong Combine could catapult Duka into the Top six or seven, while a bad Combine could see him slide down to the Red Bulls at 14.
The top of the draft looks set and is unlikely to change regardless of the Combine performances. Danny Mwanga, Ike Opara, Corben Bone, Teal Bunbury and Tony Tchani are widely regarded as the cream of this draft's crop and the only real question regarding those five is what order they will be drafted in.
Here is the final SBI MLS Mock Draft before the Combine and the final one before our ESPN.com Mock Draft on Wednesday:
SBI 2010 MLS Mock Draft (v 3.0)
1. Philadelphia Union- DANNY MWANGA, F, Oregon State
Ike Opara is regarded by many as the top prospect, but with Philly already boasting Danny Califf and Shavar Thomas (and the club linked to a Colombian defender), the Union will go with Mwanga, the most dangerous forward in the draft. Teal Bunbury had been believed to be the choice here, but that was before Philly pressed the league to sign Mwanga.
2. New York Red Bulls- IKE OPARA, D, Wake Forest
The Red Bulls' defense was awful at times in 2009 and doesn't boast a single shutdown defender. Enter Opara, who some regarded as good enough to be a Top Three pick in 2009. He had shaky moments in the Under-20 World Cup, but Opara is a top-notch defender who should be able to step in and start from year one. As much of a no-brainer as this pick appears, the Red Bulls may actually wind up having to make a tough call between Opara and Tony Tchani.
3. San Jose Earthquakes- CORBEN BONE, M, Wake Forest
The Earthquakes under Frank Yallop are notorious for not being big fans of the draft, but if they keep this pick it will be a tough call between Tony Tchani, Teal Bunbury and Corben Bone. Having lost Darren Huckerby and Shea Salinas, the Earthquakes are in dire need of an attack-minded midfielder. As tough as it may be for Frank Yallop to pass on Teal Bunbury, I see San Jose going with Bone over Bunbury in a very close call.
4. Kansas City Wizards- TEAL BUNBURY, F, Akron
The Wizards will be overjoyed if this scenario plays out and the son of a former Wizard becomes the first son of an MLS player to join MLS. Alex Bunbury's career in Kansas City was brief, but former teammate Peter Vermes will be hoping Teal's career with the WIzards is longer and filled with more goals.
5. FC Dallas- TONY TCHANI, M, Virginia
With the recent signing of Ghanaian defender Aziz Ansah FC Dallas appears less likely to deal up to draft Ike Opara. Schellas Hyndman can focus on the best available player at this point and Tchani is the easy call. A big central midfield who some believe could evolve into a Shalrie Joseph-type player, Tchani isn't really a ball-winner, but a strong creator who can also score goals on his own.
6. FC Dallas- ANDRE AKPAN, F, Harvard
Dallas-area fans will be happy to see the hometown product returning to Texas, but Akpan is more than just a homer pick. He's arguably the best forward in the pool, and could be this draft's Chris Pontius. FC Dallas could also flip this pick in a deal for allocation money or a veteran player.
7. D.C. United- ANDREW WIEDEMAN, F, California
The Curt Onalfo era in D.C. is supposed to feature plenty of attacking soccer, so look for Onalfo to grab the best attacking player on the board in Wiedeman, a proven goal-scorer on the college level. He's only 20, but is mature for his age. A Pontius-Wiedeman partnership could be a dangerous one once Jaime Moreno has moved on.
8. Columbus Crew- AMOBI OKUGO, M, UCLA
The Crew could have used a forward here, but with the four best off the board, Columbus could deal this pick to one of the teams that covets Ukogo or Zach Loyd. If Columbus stands pat, look for Robert Warzycha to go with the youngster with tons of upside over the older senior roster picks in Zach Loyd and Toni Stahl.
9. New England Revolution- ZACH LOYD, M, North Carolina
The Revs always do well in the draft because they take proven and mature players. In this instance, Steve Nicol has two solid options to choose from in Loyd and Toni Stahl. You would think Stahl has the edge here considering he played at UConn, but Loyd's versatility gives him the edge. If Jeff Larentowicz departs for Europe as expected, Loyd could step into a central midfield role. If Larentowicz stays, Loyd could replace retired defender Jay Heaps.
10. Chivas USA- TONI STAHL, M, UConn
The Goats could be tempted to go with one of the young attacking talents on the board in Jack McInerney or Dilly Duka, but Martin Vasquez goes with a talented defensive midfielder in Stahl, arguably the most MLS-ready player left on the board.
11. Seattle Sounders- JACK McINERNEY, F, U.S. Under-17
The Sounders missed out on the top forwards available, but land a top prospect who could ultimately better than them all in McInerney. He didn't have the best Under-17 World Cup, but McInerney impressed scouts at the recent Under-20 national team camp and is considered one of the brighter prospects in the U.S. youth national team system.
12. Columbus Crew- DILLY DUKA, M, Rutgers
Having secured a young standout in Okugo, the Crew couldn't be blamed for looking for a more experienced pick in one of the seniors available, but Duka is a very promising attacking midfield talent who could develop into a special player.
13. Chicago Fire- KWAME WATSON-SIRIBOE, D, UConn
The Fire could use a left back, but with so many available in this draft, Chicago is better off bolstering its centerback stable with Wilman Conde heading into the final year of his deal and C.J. Brown coming close to the end of his career. Watson-Siriboe is
14. New York Red Bulls- BLAIR GAVIN, M, Akron
Gavin is skilled, young and full of potential. He might not be as MLS-ready from a physical maturity standpoint, but his upside is hard to ignore. Red Bulls fans will be disappointed to see Duka gone, but Gavin could wind up being the better player. It should also be noted that the Red Bulls could certainly move up from this spot in order to grab Duka.
15. Los Angeles Galaxy- AUSTIN DA LUZ, F, Wake Forest
With Eddie Lewis coming to the end of his career, and with David Beckham gone for half the season on loan, the Galaxy can use some depth in midfield. Enter Da Luz, one of the most skillful players in the draft and a player who can add depth in a playmaking role and on the left flank.
16. Real Salt Lake- ZACK SCHILAWSKI, F, Wake Forest
With Yura Movsisyan bound for Europe, the defending champions could use some reinforcements at stiker. Schilawski is good value at the end of the first-round. He's quick, good on the ball and is a steady finisher.
17. Philadelphia Union- KYLE NAKAZAWA, M, UCLA
The Union look for more attacking talent and find one in Nakazawa, who was a standout on the 2005 U.S. Under-17 World Cup team coached by Philly assistant John Hackworth.
18. New York Red Bulls- MICHAEL STEPHENS, M, UCLA
Red Bulls fans were hoping to land a smallish attacking midfielder in Duka, but they get a decent consolation price in another smallish attacking midfielder in Stephens.
19. San Jose Earthquakes- CHRIS SCHULER, D, Creighton
The Earthquakes could use some depth in central defense and the 6-foot-4 Schuler is one tough and physical force.
20. Kansas City Wizards-SEAN JOHNSON, GK, Central Florida
The Wizards grab the best talent on the board in Johnson, the best long-term goalkeeper prospect in the pool and a potential replacement for Kevin Hartman.
21. FC Dallas- OFORI SARKODIE, D, Indiana
With a midfielder and forward already in the fold, Dallas can turn to adding some defensive depth, and the versatile Sarkodie gets the nod. His stock has dropped some as teams question his attacking qualities at fullback, but he's strong and steady and can play on either side of the defense.
22. Colorado Rapids- COLLEN WARNER, M, Portland
One of the draft's true sleepers, Warner is a popular player among West Coast teams familiar with his profile. A skillful, fast and strong player who can create and score on his own, Warner could wind up being a relative unknown who plays himself into the first round off a strong combine.
23. Colorado Rapids-NICK CARDENAS, D, San Diego State
The Rapids will be tempted to grab a left back here to help cover for the loss of Jordan Harvey, but they will be hard-pressed to pass on hometown product Cardenas, a Colorado native who's a 6-foot-5 centerback adept at heading home set pieces.
24. Toronto FC- PHIL EDGINGTON, D, Louisville
Anyone who watched TFC fall short in its hunt for a playoff spot knows the team's defense failed badly. Edgington is the best defender on the board, and as much as some TFC fans might think of Andrew Boyens when they see a tall centerback from New Zealand being drafted, Edgington was one of the more impressive central defenders in college last season.
25. New England Revolution-JOVAN BUBONJA, GK, Illinois-Chicago
The Revs always find a way to make out on draft day, don't they? After losing back-up goalkeeper Brad Knighton in the expansion draft, New England enters this draft needing to find a new one. How do they? They only land a goalkeeper who some scouts thought might be a first-round pick if he left school a year ago.
26. Chivas USA- TIM REAM, D, ST. LOUIS
Martin Vasquez is going to need to bolster his defense, and while he is expected to add some veteran defenders, he can also find good talent in the second round. Ream is a left-footed centerback who can also play left back.
27. Seattle Sounders- DAVID WALKER, F, UCSB
While McInerney is a good long-term prospect, the Sounders immediate need for some forward help could lead them to Walker, a speedy striker who offers a bit of a dynamic element up top.
28. San Jose Earthquakes- ROSS LaBAUEX, M, Virginia
The Earthquakes can afford to go for the best available player here and LaBauex's versatility (he can play defensive midfielder and could be converted into a right back) as well as his work rate and athleticism makes him an easy pick here.
29. Chicago Fire-DREW YATES, F/M, Maryland
With the defense being bolstered in the first round, Yates could become Chicago's answer for the loss of Chris Rolfe. Though not as fast as Rolfe, Yates is a quick and versatile attacker who can play up top as well as on the wing. The Fire could also grab one of the left backs on the board, such as Ryan Peterman and Seth Sinovic.
30. San Jose Earthquakes- RONNIE BOUEMBOUE, F, North Carolina State
The Earthquakes could use a speed option up top and Bouemboue is one of the fastest forwards in the draft. If San Jose settles on Bunbury in the first round, look for them to grab one of the many left back prospects available here.
31.New York Red Bulls- RYAN PETERMAN, D, U. of San Diego
The Red Bulls will look to help address their left back needs by grabbing Peterman, one of the best fullbacks in the pool. Left back is surprisingly deep this year so the Red Bulls could grab any number of prospects (including Creighton's Seth Sinovic). Combine performances could ultimately decide which let back prospect the Red Bulls grab here.
32.Real Salt Lake- BRIAN PERK, GK, UCLA
The champs traded back-up goalkeeper Chris Seitz to Philly, but land a quality prospect in Perk, who is cut from the Nick Rimando mold as a quick and aggressive shot-stopper (who also happens to come from Rimando's alma mater, goalkeeper factory UCLA).
What do you think of these rankings? Like the players your team ended up with? Who would you want your team to take in this draft?
Share your thoughts below.