Expect Edu to be the first choice
When it comes to predicting how the 2007 MLS SuperDraft will play out, it's clear that the stellar work of Miss Cleo, the Amazing Kreskin and John Edward would be most welcome. How else is one supposed to wade through the myriad possibilities that have presented themselves? The lips of coaches these days are in perma-zip mode. What's worse is that now you have the players joining in on the fun, especially given the "to heck with it, I'm going to Europe" threats that have been emanating from several potential picks.
Then there's the general consensus that this is a down year for the draft, which is what the G.C. seems to say every year. Nevertheless, into the murky morass of the mock draft I wade.
1. Toronto FC -- Maurice Edu, M, Maryland
In a draft full of potential twists and turns, one definite appears to be the selection of Edu with the first pick. Given the number of roster spots he needs to fill, TFC head coach Mo Johnston could easily trade the selection for more draft picks, but as of now, it looks like the Scot will hold onto it. He could certainly do worse than have Edu on his roster, who aside from being a headline in waiting ("Edu Bids Adu Adieu") has the size and passing ability to be a poor man's Shalrie Joseph.
2. Columbus Crew -- Michael Harrington, D, North Carolina
This is a pick that has been notoriously difficult to figure out. Harrington? His dalliance with Europe may see the left back slide down the draft. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz? The Crew just acquired Will Hesmer and are supposedly high on Andy Gruenebaum. Utility man and possible left back Anthony Wallace? Both he and nominal left back Tim Ward will be gone for the U-20 World Cup this summer. So what do you do if you're Sigi Schmid? You get assurances from Harrington that he'll stay on this side of the pond and you take him with the second pick. If not, I'll venture that Wallace is his guy.
3. Kansas City Wizards -- Anthony Wallace, D/M, South Florida
In his effort to shore up the flanks and with Wallace still on the board, head coach Curt Onalfo opts for a player who can play either in the back or in midfield. Wallace has blazing speed, and if he plays on defense, that should allow him to get forward with devastating effect. Wallace is currently playing in a holding role for the U-20s, such is his range on the field.
4. Real Salt Lake -- Bakary Soumare, D, Virginia
Soumare has been compared to current RSL defender Eddie Pope, and what better way to break into MLS than to spend your first year under the tutelage of the former U.S. international. The selection of Soumare would also address Real's dire need for defenders, especially given a defense that was tied for worst in the league last year.
Soumare has been labeled as being a bit raw, but given head coach John Ellinger's experience with grooming young players, the Virginia product should be in an excellent position to realize his vast potential.
5. Los Angeles Galaxy -- Amaechi Igwe, D, Santa Clara
While Igwe played mostly in an attacking role at Santa Clara, it would appear that fullback is where his professional future lies, especially since that is where he currently plays for the U-20s. His selection would also address the Galaxy's need for an outside back, given that they have little to no depth there at the moment. L.A. could wait and try to select Igwe with the 10th pick, but given the way Generation adidas players get taken early, that's a risk they likely won't take.
6. Colorado Rapids -- Chris Seitz, GK, Maryland
Many pundits have Seitz going earlier, with Columbus as a possible destination. That may indeed turn out to be true, but the Crew still have other, more important needs to fill and may wait until later in the draft to stock the goalkeeper position. Colorado -- with its offseason acquisitions of Brandon Prideaux, Herculez Gomez and Ugo Ihemelu -- have done much to address their positional needs, leaving them free to take the Maryland product, who at 6-foot-4 has drawn favorable comparisons to former U.S. international Brad Friedel.
7. Chivas USA -- Robbie Findley, F, Oregon State
The top-rated forward going into the combine, Findley reinforced that perception in Fort Lauderdale and retains that status heading into the draft. Given the losses of Paco Palencia and Juan Pablo Garcia, Chivas will be only too happy to snap him up as they look to revitalize their attack. Findley's speed should also provide the perfect complement to Ante Razov's lethal left foot.
8. Chicago Fire -- Nico Colaluca, M/F, Virginia
With the departure of Nate Jaqua, the Fire needs help on the wings, and they would get it by nabbing the Virginia product. Colaluca plays with an edge that can sometimes get him into trouble: case in point, his rather silly red card in the College Cup semifinal against UCLA. There is no doubting his ability, however, especially going forward.
9. FC Dallas -- Bryan Arguez, D/M, U.S. U-20 national team
While the selection of Arguez fails to address the Hoops' needs on the right side of the field, the Miami native is too good for head coach Steve Morrow to pass up. Arguez is described as a player with great tools who is incredibly comfortable on the ball. And with the likes of Richard Mulrooney to learn from, Arguez's transition into the pro ranks should be made all the easier.
10. Los Angeles Galaxy -- Greg Dalby, M, Notre Dame
Could Dalby go higher? Certainly, but he's rumored to be exploring options in Europe, and when you add in the fact that Generation adidas players tend to go higher, you have a recipe for sliding down the draft. Just call him this year's Nathan Sturgis and, like last year, the Galaxy could be the beneficiaries. If that's the case, they'll end up with a tremendous talent who can play in both midfield and in the back and who is a great locker-room presence to boot.
11. D.C. United -- Jeffrey Gonsalves, F, Rhode Island
The Black-and-Red need to shore up their forward line, and while the international market should give them some options, they'll need to add some depth, as well, with the 6-0, 160-pound Gonsalves giving them a lift. While the URI product is Canadian by birth, his status as a youth international won't stop United from taking him and just may provide them with some trade bait for Toronto.
12. New England -- John Cunliffe, M/F, Fort Lewis College
If Colaluca somehow remains on the board at No. 12, expect head coach Steve Nicol to take him, but a more likely scenario would see the Revs opt for Cunliffe. The Division II product excelled at the combine, and he has the ability to line up at forward, in the center of midfield or out wide. He could provide the Revs with some valuable flexibility.
13. Houston -- Edson Elcock, F, Old Dominion
Head coach Dominic Kinnear will be praying that a midfielder along the lines of Dalby or Arguez somehow falls into his lap, but that seems unlikely. Instead, he'll take someone along the lines of Elcock, who can add plenty of zip to the Dynamo's forward line. A player like SMU defender Jay Needham remains a possibility, as well, but in the end Kinnear's quest to shore up his midfield will have to wait until the later rounds.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.