We’re nearly done with our early lists for the 2013 MLS SuperDraft prospects. Yesterday we tackled the defenders and last week we took a quick look at the few goalkeepers that may be available in January.
Today we’re going to move up the field a bit to examine the midfielders. The midfield and forward lists should be a tad longer, given how that is where most teams hope to get the most value in the draft.
With that usual alert out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Scott Caldwell (Akron) - The New England Revolution product has been the main guy that drives Akron. He has to be a lock for a HGP contract from the Revs, which is great because he will provide some instant quality to their midfield. He is great on the ball, comfortable with both feet and is great at frustrating opposing defenses.
Dillon Powers (Notre Dame) - He’s been with the Irish for four seasons now and he could have easily been a GA target each of the last two. He is a solid box-to-box midfielder with decent speed, good range and excellent passing ability. He’s been extremely dangerous this season, leading the Irish to the top seed in the College Cup tournament.
Jose Gomez (Creighton) - I finally was able to see a couple Creighton games over the last week but thankfully I was already familiar with Gomez. But man was I blown away at how much he had improved from last year to this year. He reads the game so well and looks so comfortable on the ball. He is about as MLS-ready as there is when it comes to looking at the top seniors in this draft.
Mikey Lopez (UNC) - Here is my first GA target on this prospect list. Some view him as the top player in this draft pool, others think he’ll at least be a top five pick. This kid had a ton of talent and is extremely driven to succeed. He’s someone that is MLS-ready and I believe that each time I watch him play.
John Stertzer (Maryland) - I could see him play either in the middle of the park and be that controlling figure there or out on the flanks. He likes to attack and typically sits a little higher in the midfield because of that.
Ian Christianson (Georgetown) - The Chicago Fire product has done well with the Hoyas. He wins balls well and does a good job at connecting the back four with the attack. Some question whether or not the Fire will sign him but a good run in the College Cup will certainly change their mind if that is the case. They need depth in the defensive midfield area and Christianson would be a perfect piece to add.
Ryan Hollingshead (UCLA) - A senior that is certainly cut out for the physical demands in MLS. I see him playing a little more of a defensive midfield role in MLS, but he certainly could cut out as a linking midfielder. The early loss in the College Cup hurts his stock though so he’ll need a strong Combine to get back in favor of some clubs.
Carlos Alvarez (UConn) - This senior midfielder is another guy that could go fairly early in the first round if all goes well for him. He doesn’t have a ton of pace with him but in the right set up I think he’ll find his own tole in MLS. He has great passing ability, vision and he reads the game very nicely.
Blake Smith (New Mexico) - He is a quality winger that does very well to get in behind defenders and whip in good crosses into the penalty box. Someone late in the draft will probably find him as a good prospect for the future given his assist rate this season (13 assists in 19 games).
Will Trapp (Akron) - The Columbus Crew product could still stay in Akron for another season or two but with Caleb Porter on his way out, I think he may push for a HGP deal with the Crew. The linking midfielder would do well in the Columbus system now anyways, and could see minutes in his rookie season.
Uwem Etuk (West Virginia) - WVU has a handfull of DCU academy products but I like Etuk and Pittman the best. He didn’t have a great season with the Mountaineers and given the fact that they failed to reach the College Cup, may make it harder for them to earn HGP contracts. However, I think with some more training and Etuk could develop very well with United.
Travis Pittman (West Virginia) - Just like his teammate above, he is a DCU product. He made big strides over the last two seasons and I think he could be the one guy that gets signed first if DCU decides to go with any of their HGP prospects. Pittman does a good job in his holding midfielder role and with a little more time he could be a good depth piece to have going forward for DC United.