The 2014 MLS Draft: Team Rankings

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 Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

Now that all 77 picks have been made, and scarves placed around the necks of draftees, and even the one tricky situation involving a draft pick appears resolved (for now), it is time to look back at how all 19 teams fared in the 2014 MLS Draft.

It will take a few years to really know just how well or poorly teams judged the talent in this year’s draft, but we will offer a breakdown of all 19 teams based on how this year’s prospects were rated heading into the draft.

We won’t do traditional grading, but rather we will rank MLS teams from 1 to 19, with the team that enjoyed the best draft haul holding onto the top spot.

Keep in mind that players drafted aren’t the only factor in the grades. Getting value for where picks are positioned is a big key, and accruing things like allocation money or other players via trades involving draft picks can also boost or hurt a team’s grade. If your team gave away a high draft pick for a player who was less than stellar, chances are your team’s grade will be low.

Here is a look at how all 19 MLS teams fared in the 2014 MLS Draft:

2014 MLS DRAFT: SBI Team Rankings

1. PHILADELPHIA UNION

(1) GK-Andre Blake, (15) M- Pedro Ribeiro, (25) CB- Kevin Cope, (27) LB/LM- Robbie Derschang, (44) CB- Richie Marquez, (46) M- Alex Sweetin, (52) M- Aodhan Quinn, (63) M- Luca Gimenez.

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Moved up to grab the best talent in the draft in Blake, then wheeling and dealing allowed the Union to re-coup the allocation money and still land two top talents at their positions in Ribeiro and Cope.

Second day value in Marquez, who is a project, but a very athletic one. Sweetin, Quinn and Gimenez will battle for midfield roster spots and John Hackworth will be happy if one of them makes the squad.

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2. PORTLAND TIMBERS

(17) F- Schillo Tshuma, (26) CB- Taylor Peay, (36) DM- Aaron Long, (39) DM- George Fochive, (71) F- Victor Chavez, (73) LM- Nikita Kotlov.

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Draft was textbook for the Timbers, who landed an absolute steal in the first round, then snatched some great values in the fourth round. Tshuma could be a perfect fit for Portland’s 4-3-3, giving the team some left forward depth in the absence of injured starter Rodney Wallace. Taylor Peay was one of the best athletes in the draft and a centerback project Caleb Porter won’t mind working in.

Long and Fochive will battle to provide defensive midfield depth, while Chavez and Kotlov were second-round values who slipped in the draft. Making the team won’t be easy, but Kotlov could be one of the steals of the draft if he makes the team, and if Porter can help him find his 2012 form.

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3. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

(3) CB- Christian Dean, (7) M- Andre Lewis, (30) F- Mamadou Diouf, (51) DM- Michael Kafari, (58) F- Mackenzie Pridham, (64) AM- Michael Calderon.

Might seem odd to have Vancouver rated this highly given the Andre Lewis fiasco, but given the fact that MLS HQ is on the hook for that mess, and Lewis is heading to the Whitecaps on loan, we can still add him to what was actually a strong draft-day haul.

Vancouver loaded up on potential, not sure things, so the Whitecaps could wind up with the best draft of the bunch, or a forgettable one. Dean is a classic boom-or-bust pick. Some prospects love him, some don’t think he’s mentally strong enough to be a top pro. Lewis is a dynamic young midfielder who could take some time to make an impact, while Diouf just might be the one who makes the most immediate impact as a real second-round steal. The day two picks all have some potential, but making the team will be tough, particularly for the likes of Calderon.

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4. COLORADO RAPIDS

(12) M- Marlon Hairston, (19) CB- Grant Van De Casteele, (33) DM- Jared Watts, (35) GK- John Berner, (49) CB- Tolani Ibikunle, (68) D- Albert Edward.

Went with a longer-term project in Hairston, who will need a few years to be a useful MLS player, but later day one picks Van De Casteele and Watts should help give Colorado some immediate depth. Day two flyers weren’t as impressive.

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5. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

(4) F/M- Steve Neumann, (11) F- Patrick Mullins, (31) DM- Alec Sundly, (50) F- Pierre Omanga.

Grabbing Neumann and Mullins in the first round was a major boost to a forward line that needed revamping. Sundly would have been rated higher on draft day if not for concerns of a failed physical (due to a blood pressure issue New England did get cleared) so he could provide some depth. Omanga is very much a project. Failing to snag a physical defensive midfielder seemed an oversight, but then we don’t know what international moves the Revs might be making.

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6- D.C. UNITED

(2) CB-Steve Birnbaum, (29) M- Victor Munoz, (56) DM- Zach Barnes, (69) D- Travis Golden.

Scoring what sources tell SBI was a $75,000 allocation simply for moving from No. 1 to No. 2 overall was a good bit of business, and grabbing a sure thing in Birnbaum was a wise decision. Munoz has good quality and technical skill, but his international status makes him a bit of a luxury pick. Barnes has the quality to make the roster, while Golden will have a tough time making the squad.

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7. CHICAGO FIRE

(13) RB- Marco Franco, (61) LM- Zach Bolden, (65) LM- Kadeem Dacres, (75) DM- Bryan Ciesiulka,

Needed a natural right back and landed arguably the best one in the draft in Franco, who could step right in and start for the Fire. Bolden and Dacres should provide some wing depth, while Ciesiulka was a Fire Homegrown Player the team passed on signing before deciding to grab him in the final round for a chance to make the team in camp.

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8. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

(9) DM- J.J. Koval, (28) CB- Joe Sofia, (47) AM- A.J. Corrado, (66) RB- Devante Dubose, (74) GK- Billy Knutsen.

Added a good central midfield in Koval, which fills a need, and scored good value in Sofia, who fell off the radar a bit after not being invited to the MLS Combine. Corrado has the skill to offer something off the bench, while college centerback Devante DuBose looks likely to be groomed as a right back.

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9. SPORTING KANSAS CITY

(38) F- Adnan Gabeljic, (41) CB- Peter Schmetz, (57) M- Alex Martinez, (76) F- Reinaldo Brenes

Considering the champs didn’t have a pick until the end of the second round, Sporting KC had a strong draft. Gabeljic has the size-speed combo to do well in the pros, Schemtz is a large centerback project and Martinez has the skill to give KC some good central midfield depth. Grabbing Brenes late in the fourth round could prove to be one of the best value picks of the entire draft.

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10. MONTREAL IMPACT

(5) RB/LB- Eric Miller, (37) RM- George Malki, (48) F- Pete Caringi, (67) F- Jordan Ongaro

Frank Klopas wanted Eric Miller and he got him, trading him to snag the Generation adidas right back from Creighton. Miller can play right back or left back, and could start as a rookie. Malki is a project as a winger, while Caringi is a sleeper who could wind up sticking.

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11. HOUSTON DYNAMO

(16) CB- A.J. Cochran, (32) F- Mark Sherrod, (54) GK- Michael Lisch

Scored good value at 16 with Cochran, a Generation adidas centerback with good upside. Sherrod has the talent to make the team as a resident bruiser forward, while Lisch should slot in as a third goalkeeper.

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12. FC DALLAS

(6) F- Tesho Akindele, (43) CB- Nicholas Walker, (62) CB- Ronny Mendoza.

Dallas jumped on Akindele early rather than trading down to take him. Smart move, or wasted value? There were definitely teams eying him in the first round, but No. 6 felt really early.

Walker and Mendoza are both intriguing centerback prospects who could give FC Dallas value, but both are international players and both play a position that is FC Dallas’ deepest. Dallas did add an international player slot to move down one spot in the first round.

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13. COLUMBUS CREW

(14) LB- Ben Sweat, (42) DM- Kingsley Baiden, (45) M/F- Adam Bedell,

Position scarcity suggests grabbing Sweat was a good value, and his ties to the Crew made it an easier pick, but you have to wonder if the Crew didn’t miss out on some better talents still on the board at that pick. Baiden is an interesting third-round pick, but it’s tough seeing him getting playing time any time soon. I forgot to factor in the fact the Crew traded the No. 4 overall pick (and allocation money) to New England for the rights to Michael Parkhurst, which boosts them to this spot.

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14. LOS ANGELES GALAXY

(23) CB- Kyle Venter

Passing on their fourth-round pick seemed a bit silly, but they still earn a relative good mark for this draft for trading out of the first round and securing allocation money, and then still landing a first-round value in Venter, who went 8-10 picks later than he should have. Another good draft day for Bruce Arena.

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15. REAL SALT LAKE

(18) RB/RM- Ryan Neil, (53) DM- Joey Dillon, (70) Daniel Jackson.

Landed a good player in Neil who can offer an option at right back or the right wing, giving RSL some width they needed. Dillon was an absolute steal at 53 and is good enough to make this team.

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16. TORONTO FC

(10) CB- Nick Hagglund, (24) LM- Daniel Lovitz, (60) F- Kene Eze,

Hagglund could wind up being a very good centerback, but wasn’t the best one on the board when taken. Lovitz also felt like a reach. Eze is a long shot to make the team.

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17. SEATTLE SOUNDERS

(8) CB- Damion Lowe, (21) CB- Jimmy Ockford, (55) M/F- Stefano Rijssel, (77) AM- Fabio Pereira.

Landing a long-term project and Generation adidas player like Lowe is generally a smart move, but there was a sense that he went too early. Ockford was not the best centerback on the board when he was drafted. Rijssel is an international player who will struggle to make the team, while Pereira could wind up providing some value if he can get his green card, which sources tell SBI is in the works already.

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18. NEW YORK RED BULLS

(22) RB- Chris Duvall, (34), LB/LM- Eric Stevenson.

Reached with first pick, grabbing Duvall at least a round earlier than they needed to, while Stevenson could wind up being a good value. Low rating has as much to do with the fact the Red Bulls traded out of the first round to add enigmatic midfielder Bobby Convey.

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19. CHIVAS USA

(20) AM- Tommy McNamara, (40) F/M- Kris Tyrpak, (59) CB- Michael Nwiloh

Reached a bit for McNamara, who does have some good quality, and may have found a gem in Tyrpak. So why No. 19? Trading away what became the No. 2 overall pick for Gabriel Farfan drops the Goats to the bottom of the 2014 MLS Draft rankings.

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26 Responses to The 2014 MLS Draft: Team Rankings

  1. henry says:

    Ha ha ha why is chivas always last

    • MC says:

      Why is the sky blue? Some things just are what they are :)

      All jokes aside, I hope ChivasUSA organization turns things around, or else Garber needs to re-locate this embarrassment to MLS.

      • mack says:

        If we want to be a top 10 league we have to do that. We have a b team from another league in our own region.

  2. WK says:

    though not part of the draft, I’d suggest the Quakes signing of Tommy Thompson pushes our off-season performance even higher. high hopes all around NorCal for the 18 yr old rookie!

    • QuakerOtis says:

      +1

    • beto says:

      all the hoopla over this draft is a bit ridiculous with out any recognition of the HGP’s that have been signed around the league. Similar player pool, age, quality and timing

      How about covering some of the best HGP signings around the league this off-season and how they compare to the drafted players?

  3. Al DiFranco says:

    So you are supposedly giving value to players acquired through trades of draft picks, yet the Crew are 17th? They got Michael Parkhurst – a guy who should be an MLS All-Star defenseman – for the fourth pick, which you don’t mention. I think that alone should take their ranking up to middle of the pack at worst.

    • Brian says:

      Two negative values were given to the lowest two teams. No other team was given consideration.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      A) yes, I forgot to factor that in on the initial run, I have since adjusted their ranking and B) what’s a defenseman?

  4. MC says:

    If you are going to evaluate draft position trades for one team, (Chivas traded away #2 overall for Farfan = bad move on Chivas part), shouldn’t you do it for all of them?

    SKC trading the 2014 #19th overall pick in exchange for 2013+ Benny Feilhaber (leading SKC to two 2013 MLS playoff late game “series-winning” assists) had to be one of the best trades of 2014 Draft picks.

    • Matt B. says:

      Columbus trading #4 for Parkhurst then quickly turning around and getting Jimenez and the #14 pick (Ben Sweat) was also good dealing. Basically getting 3 players by just moving 10 places down the draft and a small chunk of allocation money.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        Getting Parkhurst was good, and I adjusted their ranking to reflect that. Getting Jimenez isn’t something I’m going to factor in the draft grade much because A) that trade was more about allocation money and moving back into the first round and B) Jimenez isn’t THAT much of an impact acquisition.

        BTW, why do you think it was a small chunk of allocation money? Why exactly would LA have moved out of the first round AND given up a player like Jimenez for a small amount of allocation money? Pretty sure it wasn’t small.

  5. The ghost of Brad Guzan's hair says:

    I wonder if LA’s behavior in the draft (i.e. trading or passing two draft opportunities; only selecting one player) is indicative of Bruce’s vision for the club, or 2014 was just a one-off year? I read several times that this group of players was underwhelming overall, so maybe it was to be expected. Still, signing two homegrowns (with a third immanent) and two foreigners (with a third immanent) and only selecting one out of college; makes ya wonder.

    • SoccerSchool says:

      Yes…if you think the player you draft will not make the team then why waste everyones time by picking them? Some of these players may be good or add depth for some teams but many will have to go to the lower divisions if they want to have a career.

    • Bobb says:

      LA added two homegrown players and are about to add a third. If you add HGPs to the draft picks, LA Galaxy move into the top ten easily.

  6. dude1 says:

    Pretty baffling that Chivas were so bad last season, yet somehow couldn’t manage to make their roster better when their position in the draft falls this low.

  7. Lost in Space says:

    If you consider DC’s other additions prior to the draft (Arnaud, Espindola, EJ, Franklin, Boswell & Parke) they’ve done a lot to address the holes their team had this past season. Hopefully Pontius & DeLeon get & stay healthy as this could be a very entertaining team.

    • Brian says:

      The East should be entertaining from top to bottom. It was a tight league last year and the two worst teams made the biggest moves.

  8. Ossington Mental Youth says:

    Id love to see who drafted best at the end of the season and all the players have played (or not)

    • Thomas513 says:

      This. Ranking the draft before training camps open may draw page views but, if I were any team, I would never rank my draft until at least a year out. There is simply no reliable way to know how this stuff will work out.

      • Ives Galarcep says:

        A) teams don’t really rank drafts, they take part in them, B) ranking a draft based on where players were rated before the draft isn’t some crazy, foreign, or even unique concept. Happens in every sport, has happened for years. Now, not everyone is equipped to offer legit rankings since there aren’t that many people out there who really have a clue about college players, but our track record is pretty good so we’ll keep doing them, and C) if I could truly predict the future I think I’d find more lucrative things to do than rank soccer drafts. In the end it’s informed conversation fodder. No real need to get any deeper than that.

  9. ELAC says:

    God help us. (Chivas USA)

  10. user222 says:

    the Chivas drafts don’t have Spanish surnames.. wft? :)

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