MLS DRAFT: Mock first round

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
11:19
PM PT

The best players available in Thursday's Major League Soccer "SuperDraft"? They're below, in our mock first round. Trades will alter the order, with Real Salt Lake, in particular, looking to deal -- if anybody wants the No. 14 pick.

Several teams, the Galaxy included, could be looking to move up in the draft -- the first half-dozen or so players would help anybody, and there are a few more role players available in a class that might be better than first thought.

The draft has shrunk to just three rounds -- 54 picks -- but those not selected will be available in a four-round supplemental draft Tuesday.

And on to the picks:

1. VANCOUVER: Darlington Nagbe (Akron), Forward (GA)

Reports that Nagbe does not want to go to Vancouver could lead the Whitecaps to take Kitchen, but it'll be hard to pass up the most dynamic attacker available.

2. PORTLAND: Perry Kitchen (Akron), Midfielder (GA)

A central midfielder in the Sam Cronin vein, he'll contribute immediately and ought to be most influential within a few seasons.

3. D.C. UNITED: Will Bruin (Indiana), Forward (GA)

A target forward with a gift for finishing; not the most mobile striker, but he can be a solid contributor in MLS.

4. CHIVAS USA: Jalil Anibaba (North Carolina), Defender

Speedy, thoughtful, classy center back was the clear MVP of MLS's combine in Fort Lauderdale.

5. PHILADELPHIA: Kofi Sarkodie (Akron), Defender (GA)

Speedy right back is a force going forward, and he might be a better defender than advertised.

6. NEW ENGLAND: Victor Estupinan (LDU Quito/Ecuador)

The Revs badly need forwards, and the 22-year-old Estupinan -- one of the combine standouts -- brings experience other strikers in the draft lack.

7. HOUSTON: Zarek Valentin (Akron), Defender (GA)

Former Galaxy defender Julian Valentin's little brother might have the most upside among available backliners, and his versatility is a big plus.

8. VANCOUVER: Omar Salgado (U.S. U-20), Forward (GA)

The former Guadalajara youth phenom has size (6 feet 4), skill and enormous potential, but, at 17, he's probably a few years away.

9. CHICAGO: A.J. Soares (California), Defender

The No. 2 center back on the list is a smart, technical player who can start attacks from the back.

10. SPORTING CLUB KC: Michael Nanchoff (Akron), Midfielder (GA)

Dynamic left back, a superb attacker, didn't have the best combine, but his College Cup final four was something else.

11. SEATTLE: Zac MacMath (Maryland), Goalkeeper (GA)

Kasey Keller has one season to go. MacMath, a veteran U.S. youth national-teamer, is the lone sure-thing netminder available.

12. COLUMBUS: Corey Hertzog (Penn State), Forward (GA)

Prolific finisher has size and a nost for the net, but he could add some sophistication to his game.

13. NEW YORK: Michael Tetteh (UC Santa Barbara), Defender (GA)

The Red Bulls need a right back, but left back Tetteh's physical gifts -- so fast, so athletic -- is too good to pass up.

14. REAL SALT LAKE: Justin Meram (Michigan), Forward

Meram can score, but it's his ability to create space, to make runs that open defenses, that's special.

15. SAN JOSE: Bobby Warshaw (Stanford), Midfielder/Defender

Versatile and strong with the ball at his feet, could develop into a solid pro with the right schooling.

16. GALAXY: Cole Grossman (Duke), Midfielder

A steady, two-way central midfielder who enhanced his reputation with an outstanding combine.

17. FC DALLAS: Stephen McCarthy (North Carolina), Midfielder

Versatile defensive midfielder with size (6-4) and versatility would add depth to his hometown team.

18. COLORADO: John Rooney (Macclesfield Town/England), Midfielder

Wayne Rooney's 20-year-old brother has more than the name; an energetic midfielder who will fit perfectly into Rapids coach Gary Smith's scheme.

OTHER POTENTIAL FIRST-ROUNDERS

D Eddie Ababio (North Carolina)
M Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Akron)
D Michael Boxall (UC Santa Barbara)
M Paolo Cardozo (Quilmes/Argentina)
M Michael Farfan (North Carolina) (GA)
F Jason Herrick (Maryland)
D Greg King (Connecticut)
D Demetrius Omphroy (California)
F Joao Plata (LDU Quito/Ecuador)
F C.J. Sapong (James Madison)

(GA) - Generation adidas, does not count against salary cap nor roster size

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