2012 MLS Draft Team Grades

2012 MLS Draft Team Grades

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 13, 2012
  • 7 Comments
  • 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Features

The 2012 MLS SuperDraft has come and gone. With only two rounds this year, the draft flew by like never before. There were no trades during the draft to make it interesting and overall, there weren’t too many surprises.

I figured I would give it almost a day before I came back with my draft grades. I’ll admit, it will be a little tough to grade a couple teams based on one pick but there will be a grade for each club. No in completes like in previous years for those with one or two picks because of the whole two-round draft.

Let’s not go too crazy about the draft. The lack of trades should tell us a thing or two about this group of players. Obviously there wasn’t “enough” out there for any one club to make a drastic deal with someone above them in the order to get someone that they “had to have”. There just wasn’t any of that this year. Instead, we are left with a decent pool of new players, some that will contribute right away, some that will get some decent playing time and some that won’t sniff the playing field at all in MLS.

So, here are my grades, I’ll go in the ABC order like I usually do for these things.

Chicago Fire 

Picks: Austin Berry, D, Louisville, 9th pick; Lucky Mkosana, F, Dartmouth, 23rd pick; Hunter Jumper, D, Virginia, 28th pick

Notes: Their two defensive picks really excite me for this club and overall I really feel good once again about the Fire’s draft. This club continues to show how to do it each year in the draft. With Berry and Jumper, the Fire now have a great young core of defenders to go with Jalil Anibaba. Mkosana is a smart attacking player that could fight for playing time. In all, a really strong draft once again for the Fire.

Draft Grade: A

Chivas USA

Picks: Casey Townsend, F, Maryland, 5th pick

Notes: One pick to get it right in this draft for Chivas USA. They went out and drafted one of the better pure scorers in the draft pool in Townsend. The only question most have is about whether or not Townsend can handle a full MLS slate due to his injury history. Overall though it wasn’t a bad pick for their only selection as they needed depth and talent up top thanks to the departure of Justin Braun.

Draft Grade: B-

Colorado Rapids

Pick: Tony Cascio, MF, Connecticut, 14th pick

Notes: It was a little surprising not to see them go for a Generation adidas signing with three left on the board when they were drafting. Cascio is a fantastic player though that will do well in Colorado for Oscar Pareja. I found it funny how I had Cascio in my first two mock drafts and then not in the final one and the Rapids take him. Still, decent pick but the club could have saved a little cap space with a GA pick.

Draft Grade: C+

Columbus Crew

Picks: Ethan Finlay, F, Creighton, 10th pick, Aubrey Perry, D, South Florida, 26th pick, Kevan George, MF, Central Florida, 29th pick

Notes: Possibly one of the more underrated drafts was the Crew’s. Landing Finlay, one of the better attackers in this draft was big. A lot of folks weren’t too high on Perry but landing George with their third pick made up for it. It won’t be a high draft grade from many people but something tells me this could end up being one of the better drafts from this year down the road.

Draft Grade: C+

DC United

Pick: Nick DeLeon, MF, Louisville, 7th pick

Notes: I’m pretty sure they were surprised to see Townsend come off the board as early as he did. Instead of taking the next best striker, Hoffman or Finlay, they snatch up a pretty solid attacking midfielder in DeLeon. They needed a striker though more than anything but I do like this pick. DeLeon should contribute right away for Ben Olsen.

Draft Grade: B-

FC Dallas

Pick: Matt Hedges, D, North Carolina, 11th pick

Notes: Schellas Hyndman could have gone two ways with this pick, take an attacking player or a defensive one. He stuck true to his words from earlier in the week and said drafting a defender was a high priority. That was wise too given the fact that George John is out of the door during training camp. Matt Hedges has plenty of time to get into the top 18 and push John when he returns from England in March.

Draft Grade: B+

Houston Dynamo

Picks: Colin Rolfe, F, Louisville, 18th pick, Warren Creavalle, MF, Central Florida, 37th pick

Notes: Colin Rolfe could end up being a major steal at No. 18. He’s the type of striker that doesn’t mind doing the dirty work and could be a guy that will be in Houston for years to come. Creavalle should provide some decent depth for the fullback spots, something that had to be addressed.

Draft Grade: B

LA Galaxy

Picks: Tommy Meyer, D, Indiana, 19th pick, Kenny Walker, MF, Louisville, 38th pick

Notes: I was a little surprised they passed on Hunter Jumper, given their need to provide some depth at the right back spot. But Meyer is a smart defender with good ball skills. Walker is a pretty solid defensive midfielder that could see minutes down the road. Overall, Bruce Arena did well given his order in the draft.

Draft Grade: C+

Montreal Impact

Picks: Andrew Wenger, D/F, Duke, 1st pick, Calum Mallace, MF, Marquette, 20th pick

Notes: I, like many of you, were shocked when they didn’t take Darron Mattocks with the first pick. But giving it a little more thought the team went for the best overall player at number 1 with Wenger. I think Wenger has an incredibly bright future ahead of him and will be a big part of this club in their expansion season. Mallace was a bit of a surprise pick but you can tell Jesse Marsch went for what was best available at that time. They still lack speed up top but I’m sure that will come before the season starts.

Draft Grade: B

New England Revolution

Picks: Kelyn Rowe, MF, UCLA, 3rd pick, Tyler Polak, D, Creighton, 22nd pick

Notes: I want to like this draft for the Revs but I find myself not liking it as much as I should. Rowe is a good player, don’t get me wrong and taking him was a good value pick. But grabbing a player like him that plays pretty much the same role as Benny Feilhaber makes no sense. Polak has plenty of upside though and getting him in the second round could be a major steal. Still, you do have to give Jay Heaps credit for taking to GA players in this draft. Nothing will count on the salary cap this year, and possibly next year too. Very smart.

Draft Grade: B

New York Red Bulls

Pick: Ryan Meara, GK, Fordham, 31st pick

Notes: Only a second round pick due to the club’s trading practices (they won’t have another first round pick until 2014). They spent their only pick on a keeper that is probably better than any other option that they’ve had the last two years and he probably won’t even make the team this year. We know they’re really interested in spending money on overseas players.

Draft Grade: F

Philadelphia Union

Picks: Chandler Hoffman, F, UCLA, 13th pick, Greg Jordan, MF, Creighton, 32nd pick, Raymon Gaddis, D, West Virginia, 35th pick

Notes: Another team that I felt hit a home run with their selections yesterday. Hoffman was a steal for them at No. 13 and drafting Gaddis should be one of the better picks of the second round (I say that with as little biased in regards to his school and mine, WVU). Jordan may struggle to find playing time but overall I felt Peter Nowak did a great job for the third straight year in this draft.

Draft Grade: A

Portland Timbers

Picks: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, D, Connecticut, 8th pick, Brendan King, MF, Notre Dame, 27th pick

Notes: AJB is a solid player but one that will take a year or two to really be good in this league. He has the All-Star potential in him and the GA tag that helps make this pick worth doing. Drafting King felt like a reach to me as I don’t feel he’ll contribute any solid minutes to this club. Overall, a decent but not a stellar draft for John Spencer. It was weird hearing that they wouldn’t draft AJB before the day started and then they end up taking him.

Draft Grade: C

Real Salt Lake

Picks: Enzo Martinez, MF, North Carolina, 17th pick, Diogo de Almeida, D, SMU, 24th pick, Sebastian Velasquez, MF, Spartanburg Methodist, 36th pick

Notes: Martinez was an absolute steal at No. 17. He’ll fit Jason Kreis’ system like a glove and his GA tag fits their tight budget even better. Their other two picks are long shots at best to make the team but some feel that if anything Velasquez could surprise us all and contribute down the road. Overall, I think RSL and it’s fans have to love what happened yesterday

Draft Grade: A-

San Jose Earthquakes 

Picks: Sam Garza, F, UC Santa Barbara, 6th pick, Jacob Hustedt, MF, Washington, 25th pick, Chris Blais, GK, South Florida, 33rd pick

Notes: One of the more interesting drafts was the Quakes. Garza is a solid pick but not one that really fits their biggest needs in the midfield. Though he and Marvin Chavez on the wings could be very dangerous for the Quakes. Their other two picks were a bit off for me. Why on earth would they take a keeper when they have Jon Busch and David Bingham? Possibly something going on there to make them take a keeper like Blais.

Draft Grade: C+

Seattle Sounders FC

Picks: Andrew Duran, D, Creighton, 15th pick, Babayele Sodade, F, Alabama-Birmingham, 34th pick

Notes: Taking two back-ups in Duran and Sodade made for an interesting draft once again for Sigi Schmid. We’ve seen him take risks before in this draft (David Estrada anyone?) and really these two picks were about getting cheap, young talent. It may be a year (or two) before we can really comment on how well the Sounders did yesterday but for now it wasn’t that great.

Draft Grade: D+

Sporting Kansas City

Picks: Dom Dwyer, F, South Florida, 16th pick, Cyprian Hedrik, D, Coastal Carolina, 30th pick

Notes: Peter Vermes went offensive yet again by taking Dwyer. I love it. We’ve questioned Vermes and his drafts before and after the last two years, I won’t do it again. The guy knows what he is doing and even if Hedrik is a waste of a pick, Dwyer should be able to plug into the lineup right away with Teal Bunbury and Kei Kamara. Plus, Dwyer won’t cost them a thing on the cap this year so they can still go out and get a quality defender to beef up their defense.

Draft Grade: B

Toronto FC

Picks: Luis Silva, MF, UC Santa Barbara, 4th pick, Aaron Maund, D, Notre Dame, 12th pick

Notes: Most will say Silva is a great pick while Maund is a reach. I get that and for the most part agree with it. Silva should contribute right away for Aron Winter while Maund may struggle to get minutes. But the thing I do like about the Maund pick is that it is certainly a Paul Mariner selection, one that has a lot of meaning behind it. Maund may not play right away but before long we should see why this pick was made so early.

Draft Grade: B

Vancouver Whitecaps

Picks: Darren Mattocks, F, Akron, 2nd pick, Chris Estridge, D, Indiana, 21st pick

Notes: I pretty much believe the Whitecaps had the best day yesterday. Mattocks was clearly the best attacking option in this draft and will be fun to watch with Eric Hassli and Omar Salgado. Estridge will be in the mix for minutes right away in the defense as well. First year coach Martin Rennie scored huge yesterday, it is as simple as that.

Draft Grade: A

  • Ned Smitty

    Matthew Doyle at MLSsoccer.com gave Seattle a 4 out of 10
    You give Seattle a D+
    Ives Galarcep gives them a B+

    Someone doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  As a Sounder fan I agree it could be Sigi, but I think it’s unfair to grade them based on the notion that these kids won’t play much.  Honestly – who in this draft would get any time for that team?  Especially anyone left when they were picking?  Plus, who follows college soccer that closely?  If you do, you have a lot more free time than I do.

    • Ned, my grade is more about the fact that they passed on three GA players. In a year that they need all the help they can get on the salary cap, taking Tyler Polak, Dom Dwyer or Enzo Martinez made a lot of sense. But hey, I’m always fine with being wrong on things like this.

      • Anonymous

        GA contracts, expire, right? So if they are getting a long term depth player who they want to develop, I think it would be better to go with the short term price of paying a little now, rather than a lot when the player graduates from the program.

        • Most of this year’s GA class isn’t nearly as expensive as ones in the past. So really, difference of price long term isn’t much of a problem. Most people would rather have that player who is a long-term project and not have to pay for him on the salary cap for a couple seasons. It’s different for each club though and Schmid has drafted his own ways for years. Time will tell how this works out for them.

  • Steve

    In a vacuum I agree that the Timbers didn’t have the best draft.  But AJB’s GA status, along with the Cooper trade gave the Timbers a pretty massive financial opportunity-one it seems they will use to sign two solid guys in the coming weeks. (As alluded to my Merrit Paulson)

    • Yeah, I’m sure the Timbers will be fine here after Thursday. Freeing up that cap space from Cooper is huge and is probably a bigger deal than the two they drafted.

  • Anonymous

    I have a feeling that the Crew made pretty good choices. They lost a fullback in the draft, while Rogers is leaving. In context with their international signings, I’d say this was pretty good.