2011 MLS SuperDraft Grades and Recap

2011 MLS SuperDraft Grades and Recap

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 14, 2011
  • 2011 MLS SuperDraft, 2011 SuperDraft Grades

Omar Salgado was the surprise number 1 pick yesterday. (photo vis MLS)

Yesterday was an absolute crazy day. The SuperDraft came and went in a hurry too. I wanted to first of all thank those who joined me here for the live blog. I’m sorry I was only able to keep it going for the first two rounds and really the second round was a bit light on my part. But there were plenty and I mean plenty of other quality sites out there with coverage yesterday so fans all around had their options for sure.

So the draft has now passed and a day later I think I’m ready to look things over here and give you all my team-by-team opinions on who did well and who really did the opposite. I thought a handful of teams did rather well while a couple did poorly and a couple more will be tough to grade considering they barely picked at all (I’m looking at you RSL).

Below are my team draft grades with each of their picks listed as well. For this I’ll go draft order with Vancouver first.

Vancouver Whitecaps:

Picks: Omar Salgado (#1), Michael Nanchoff (#8), Jeb Brovsky (#19), Bilal Duckett (#37)

Thoughts: The snub from Darlington Nagbe earlier this week had to do a number on the Whitecaps. They certainly wanted him at number one but their hands were tied as the kid did not want to go there and probably would have not played there if they had picked him. Instead they took Salgado first, shocking everyone at the draft. The interesting thing about Salgado is he can’t play for them until this summer when he turns 18 according to FIFA rules. Now they are going to try and get an exemption on this for him but I doubt it will happen in time. It won’t matter anyways as Salgado is viewed as a long-term project anyways, not a short-term one. He wouldn’t contribute on day one as it is so he’ll get some time to train with the club and also play with the U-20s before joining the club this summer.

Vancouver’s second first round selection was Akron’s Michael Nanchoff. (photo vis MLS)

I did like their pick of Jed Brovsky at 19. Michael Nanchoff was also a nice pick at 8 and both could contribute to the club this season fairly early.

WVH Draft Grade: C-


Portland Timbers

Akron head coach Caleb Porter represented Darlington Nagbe. (photo vis MLS)


Picks: Darlington Nagbe (#2), Chris Taylor (#22)

Thoughts: Nagbe is a steal for them at number 2. But the bigger news for this club has to be the addition of Kenny Cooper. They now have plenty of forwards in their attack and quite honestly they should be fun to watch. Their draft wasn’t anything amazing or spectacular but Nagbe was the best player in most folks opinions and Taylor is a solid defender that will play early on for them. It was a simple and effect draft for John Spencer and company.

WVH Draft Grade: B-


D.C. United


D.C. United snagged Perry Kitchen. (photo vis MLS)


Picks: Perry Kitchen (#3), Chris Korb (#31), Joe Willis (#50)

Thoughts: D.C. went for the Akron duo of Kitchen and Korb. Quite honestly I was shocked to see Kitchen fall to them but in reality it means they ended up with the first or second best player depending on who you talk to. Drafting at number 3 you really can’t beat that. Kitchen can fill any number of needs in the midfield or defense for D.C. too. Very solid draft for Ben Olsen and the more I look at it the more I like it. Wills could end up being a big steal for them there in the third round, he’ll sit behind Cronin and Hamid but don’t be shocked if we see him at some point this year in some USOC games.

WVH Draft Grade: A


Chivas USA


Zarek Valentin joins Chivas as the 4th overall pick. (photo vis MLS)


Picks: Zarek Valentin (#4), Victor Estupinan (#14), Jon Okafor (#40)

Thoughts: I like where Robin Fraser went with his first draft as head coach. He grabbed one, if not, the best defender available. Then he got one of the better foreign strikers in the draft in Estupinan. Both are excellent selections for the first year coach. Chivas is finally heading in a direction that I like here too with Fraser, this draft proves it.

WVH Draft Grade: A-


Philadelphia Union

Zac MacMath went early to Philadelphia at number 5. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Zac MacMath (#5), Michael Farfan (#23), Levi Houapeu (#41)

Thoughts: A lot of people including myself didn’t have Philly going for a keeper in this draft because of the signing of Faryd Mondragon. Honestly I don’t blame Peter Nowak for drafting MacMath at all here first. He gets a keeper that is full of potential and could start tomorrow if he really wanted him to. He’ll probably sit for a little while under Mongradon but look for him to get plenty of time this year for the Union.

The other two picks I thought were very nice for Nowak. I’ve been a huge Farfan fan for a while and though his Combine wasn’t anything special he has the tools to really help this club out offensively. As does Houapeu with his speed and athleticism.

WVH Draft Grade: B+


New England Revolution

AJ Soares will be called to help New England’s defense. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: AJ Soares (#6), Stephen McCarthy (#24), Steven Perry (#39), Ryan Kinne (#42), Alan Koger (#54)

Thoughts: The Revs had plenty of picks and really did the most with them. Grabbing Soares at six is not a reach in the least bit. He’ll start for them on day one I’d imagine. I absolutely love them getting McCarthy in the second round which is a major steal for them there, as is grabbing both Perry and Kinne. Those two should help boost their offense a good bit. I think after a so-so draft last year for ┬áSteve Nicol he has returned to snagging top talent yet again.

WVH Draft Grade: A-


Houston Dynamo

Will Bruin was selected 11th overall by Houston. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Kofi Sarkodie (#7), Will Bruin (#11)

Thoughts: Easily their best draft since moving to Houston. Dominic Kinnear addressed two big needs of the club and got two very capable players in return. Hard to believe they went into this with only one pick and yet came away as the biggest winners of all in most eyes.

WVH Draft Grade: A


Chicago Fire

Chicago’s first round pick Jalil Anibaba. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Jalil Anibaba (#9), Jason Herrick (#45), Davis Paul (#51)

Thoughts: I really liked what the Fire did in this draft. Sure they had one early pick and two late ones but boy did they ever cash in on those two late ones. I thought snagging both Herrick and Paul late were huge for them. Anibaba was a very nice pick for them, he’ll start on day one for sure in the back.

WVH Draft Grade: B+


Sporting Kansas City

CJ Sapong was a surprise pick at number 10 for KC. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: CJ Sapong (#10), TJ Murray (#32), Konrad Warzycha (#46)

Thoughts: Sapong was a surprise pick for most folks at 10. But KC has an idea of what they want to do with their offense and Sapong fits it better than others out there so you can’t blame them for going for what they need here. It just felt like a bit of a reach though that early. Murry will fill a need in the back but I still see that being a defense that needs work before the season starts.

WVH Draft Grade: C


Columbus Crew

Justin Meram was selected by Columbus. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Rich Balchan (#12), Justin Meram (#15), Cole Grossman (#28), Bernardo Anor (#48)

Thoughts: It was a weird day for the Crew but honestly it could prove to be a good one in the end. Trading Steven Lenhart for the Meram pick doesn’t bother me in the least bit. Balchan could be a bit of a reach at 12 but at the same time I think he could prove to be very valuable to them this season. The big pick in my mind for them was getting Grossman when they did in the second round. Really felt that was one of the steals of the draft yesterday.

WVH Draft Grade: C+


New York Red Bulls

Corey Hertzog was taken by New York. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Corey Hertzog (#13), John Rooney (#25), Tyler Lassiter (#30), Billy Cortes (#38)

Thoughts: Hertzog was an interesting pick and one I wouldn’t be at all shocked seeing them trade away to Philly before long. If they keep him he’ll have a lot of work to do to move above Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, and Salou Ibrahim in the pecking order. Rooney was a flier type of pick though and not one for putting butts-in-seats like some think.

Lassiter could end up being their best pick of the bunch though. His combine wasn’t great but I’ve seen enough of him over the last year to know he can do some good in the back for them.

WVH Draft Grade: C


LA Galaxy

Paolo Cardozo was taken by the LA Galaxy. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Paolo Cardozo (#16), Hector Jimenez (#34)

Thoughts: Bruce Arena went international here and a lot of people didn’t like it. They also traded for Chad Barrett who I think could do very well in LA with guys like Landon Donovan and David Beckham playing around him. He’s no Edson Buddle but he could prove to be a big draft day trade for them.

Jimenez is local but I’m not sure I follow the logic in taking yet another right-footed midfielder. They’re already fairly loaded on that side in the midfield.

WVH Draft Grade: C+


FC Dallas

Stanford’s Bobby Warshaw was selected by FC Dallas. (photo vis MLS)

Picks: Bobby Warshaw (#17), Charlie Campbell (#35), Scott Gordon (#53)

Thoughts: I had Warshaw in my initial write-up for FC Dallas but removed him at the last minute (note I submitted that story a week before they posted it). He was a late first round/early second round pick in my mind so this wasn’t a reach by any stretch. He fits the Schellas Hyndman mold of versatile players. I like the Charlie Campbell pick as well as it will add some depth to the defensive cover.

WVH Draft Grade: B-


Colorado Rapids

Picks: Eddie Ababio (#18), Colin Givens (#36)

Thoughts: I figured they’d go defensive and they did. Ababio was a great pick at 18 and Givens is another solid defender that will add to their depth. There really isn’t anything special to say about the Rapids draft either. With only two picks they addressed areas that needed some depth for a busier schedule this year.

WVH Draft Grade: C+


Seattle Sounders FC

Picks: Michael Tetteh (#20), Leone Cruz (#21), Servando Carrasco (#27), Bryan Meredith (#29), Alex Caskey (#47)

Thoughts: They did some maneuvering yesterday but ended up with a solid group of picks. Tetteh adds some nice depth and cover on the defensive wings, while not hitting the salary cap as a GA player. He’s also a quality left-footed defender which is very tough to find in any league really.

Cruz is a nice depth pick and Meredith will sit behind Kasey Keller and Terry Boss this year. He’s got plenty of skills to be a start down the road in this league I think.

WVH Draft Grade: C+


Toronto FC

Picks: Demitrius Omphroy (#26), Matt Gold (#43), Junior Burgos (#44), Joao Plata (#49)

Thoughts: They went for the defensive cover in Omphroy and took chances with Plata. Having so many late picks really doesn’t do a lot for them right away. This is definitely a club that will play the open market starting next week. But for the most part this will be a draft TFC fans will probably not remember in a couple years, or even months, which is tough to say considering their lack of early picks for once.

WVH Draft Grade: D


San Jose Earthquakes

Picks: Anthony Ampaipitakwong (#33)

Thoughts: They needed a striker and traded for one in Steven Lenhart, a move I really like for them. Ampai dropped due to his Combine performance but he’s a very nice pick for the Quakes here. He’ll add some creative spark to their offense for sure this year.

WVH Draft Grade: C-


Real Salt Lake

Picks: Jarad vanSchaik (#52)

Thoughts: We had a hunch a while back that RSL would trade their first round pick and they ended up doing just that to get some cap relief. Their only selection was pretty late, someone who’ll just be on their development roster this year I’d imagine. Hard to really grade their one and only pick seeing as how he wasn’t at the Combine and he was one of the last picks in the draft. But I’m willing to bet RSL did their homework on the guy.

WVH Draft Grade: C