Los Angeles Soccer: MLS Player Combine
Who goes third? Might be UCLA striker Chandler Hoffman, a Generation adidas player (like Mattocks and Wenger) whose rising stock grew with superb performances in his first two games at the MLS Player Combine, which wrapped up Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Hoffman, who scored 18 goals to lead the Bruins to the NCAA semifinals, scored an 80th-minute winner to lift adiPower to a 3-2 victory in Friday's combine opener -- moments after forcing a huge save on a breakaway -- and added the first goal in a 2-1 win Sunday.
AdiPower won the tournament with a 3-0-0 record, scoring nine goals behind Hoffman, Maryland forward Casey Townsend, Dartmouth forward Lucky Mkosana and attacking midfielders Kelyn Rowe of UCLA and Luis Silva of UC Santa Barbara.
“It's always good when the roster came out to see I had Kelyn and Luis and then Casey up top with me ...,” Hoffman said in a video posted on the Soccer By Ives blog. “It's made my job easy, just combining with them, playing simple and moving the ball.”
Hoffman, of course, has played the past two seasons with Rowe, a sophomore also expected to go early in the first round. And Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS), another first-round certainty, was Hoffman's summer teammate with USL Premier Development League side Orange County Blue Star.
The Alabaman and Townsend, who is considered the best senior forward (and, with Silva, the best senior) available in the draft, could have been teammates at Maryland -- and their connection at the combines suggests the Terrapins might have won a couple more NCAA titles had he not chosen UCLA.
“Sasho [Cirovski, Maryland's coach], when he was recruiting me, always talked about me and Casey playing together one day,” Hoffman told Major League Soccer's website. “Who knew it would be today?”
Four players looking to take UCLA to the NCAA men's soccer title next weekend have plans for next month. They're among 52 Division I college seniors invited to Major League Soccer's annual pre-draft Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The chosen Bruins are midfielders Eder Arreola and Andy Rose, defender Shawn Singh and goalkeeper Brian Rowe. Players from UC Irvine (forward Miguel Ibarra), Cal State Northridge (midfielder Rafael Garcia) and UC Santa Barbara (Luis Silva and James Kiffe) also are on the list announced Wednesday.
Two more UCLA players -- junior forward Chandler Hoffman and sophomore midfielder Kelyn Rowe -- would join the list if they sign Generation adidas contracts.
The Bruins meet North Carolina in an NCAA College Cup semifinal Friday night in Hoover, Ala. Three Tar Heels are on the combine list: defender Matt Hedges, midfielder Kirk Urso and forward Billy Schuler.
Creighton, which meets Charlotte in the other semifinal, received three invitations, for defender Andrew Duran, midfielder Greg Jordan and forward Ethan Finlay. No Charlotte player was invited.
The NCAA final is Sunday.