Jan 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; a view of the 2014 MLS Superdraft at Philadelphia Convention Center. (Eric Hartline, USA TODAY Sports)

MLS SuperDraft Grades: How Did Your Team Do?


The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is over. It was full of drama, deals, and defenders. The result of today may define the future of the league, as a future league MVP (or World Cup MVP) may have been selected to join his new team.

It all started off when the D.C. United traded away their first pick to the Philadelphia Union. According to several sources, the Vancouver Whitecaps were also in the running for the pick, but ultimately, their offer lost out. What followed was a flurry of other trades, where teams moved down, up, and sometimes both like FC Dallas, who moved from 5th to 10th to 6th.

Long ago, all 19 teams were given one pick in each round, but some teams were impatient, unwilling to wait for the full value to come forth, so they traded their picks for a player who could help their club immediately. For Sporting Kansas City, the strategy worked; their 1st round pick was traded for Benny Feilhaber, a player that made major contributions during their MLS Cup winning campaign. The New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy were the only other teams without 1st round selections.

What you’ll find here is a team by team look at the MLS SuperDraft results. Not every player will get analyzed, but no team will escape my wrath. So sit back and enjoy, or just scroll until you find your team — your choice. The order will follow that of the final draft positions, so I’ll start with Philadelphia…

 

Philadelphia Union

As mentioned before, the Union made a trade to jump up into the top spot, where they made the surprising pick of Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake. It wasn’t surprising because of Blake’s talent, in fact some were saying he was the best player in the draft, but Philadelphia already has a decent goalie in Zac MacMath. Either way, they’ll be good at the goalkeeper position for a few years, with goalie trade-bait just in case. With the later additions of midfielder Pedro Ribeiro (the reason he went so late at 15th was because he will automatically takes a DP slot), and defender Kevin Cope, the Union really made some valuable additions. This is truly one of the best drafts player-wise, but I’m marking off a few points for selecting a GK when you already have one, and losing a DP slot. GRADE:  A

D.C. United

D.C. has made quite a few good additions already this offseason, but a good draft can always add that one good player your missing or even add depth. They traded back in the draft to get two things that are immediately good for the team: defender Steve Birnbaum, and allocation money. Birnbaum will be a quality center back in the MLS. Selecting midfielder Victor Munoz provides the depth that D.C. lacked. GRADE:  B+

Vancouver Whitecaps

They entered the building hoping for Andre Blake, but were outbid by Philly. Instead they shore up two other needs in Christian Dean, who some argued was the best defender in the draft, and midfielder Andre Lewis. At least they got one guy named Andre, right? Nevermind.. GRADE:  A-

Jan 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Andre Blake (Connecticut) poses for a photo with MLS commissioner Don Garber after being selected as the number one overall pick in the first round to the Philadelphia Union in the 2014 MLS Superdraft at Philadelphia Convention Center. (Eric Hartline, USA TODAY Sports)

Jan 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Andre Blake (Connecticut) poses for a photo with MLS commissioner Don Garber after being selected as the number one overall pick in the first round to the Philadelphia Union in the 2014 MLS Superdraft at Philadelphia Convention Center. (Eric Hartline, USA TODAY Sports)

 New England Revolution

There is no doubt that the Revs came, saw, and conquered. Attacking midfielder Steve Neumann will spark the already potent attack, and yes, I still say that after losing Juan Agudelo to Stoke City. To directly replace Agudelo, the Revs made the best valued pick of the draft when they selected forward Patrick Mullins, the two-time winner of the Hermann Trophy for being the best player in college soccer. Even 2nd round selection Alec Sundly can become a starter for this team. They won the draft, no questions. GRADE:  A+

Montreal Impact

Defender Eric Miller is a really good player, but he isn’t going to fit directly into the Montreal system. He’s kinda like a smaller, circle-shaped block fitting snuggly into an octagon-shaped hole. Their 2nd round pick, midfielder George Melki, is considered to be quite a stretch. Basically, they could have done better. GRADE:  D+

FC Dallas

After moving from 5th to 10th to 6th, the Big D club selected Tesho Akindele, a midfielder who will be real good in a year or two. The pick probably won’t look that great in 2014, but 2015 or 2016 might make this look like a steal. GRADE:  C+

Seattle Sounders

Selecting Generation adidas defender Damien Lowe was a good choice for the money-strapped Sounders, selecting defender Jimmy Ockford wasn’t. First of all, Ockford is a stretch for an early 2nd round pick, but he’s also similar to what they got in Lowe. At least they have depth at D. GRADE:  C-

San Jose Earthquakes

One thing that the Quakes needed in 2013 was depth, and they definitely added to that with this draft. Midfielder J.J. Koval and defender Joe Sofia may not get a ton of minutes during these first few seasons, but they should be dependable backups for the most part, with Koval having a bit of potential to breakout. GRADE:  C

Toronto FC

They’ve added to the attack this season, but with their first selection they picked defender Nick Haggland, who will surely be with the team for years to come. Daniel Lovitz was one of the few good left wingers in the draft, so he automatically can add value. GRADE:  B+

Colorado Rapids

Midfielder Marlon Hairston has.. what’s another good word for potential, I feel like I’m using that word too much.. uuhh.. promise, yeah promise… Hairston has promise, enough to make this pick someday look like a no-brainer. Defender Grant Van De Steele and midfielder Jared Watts can capture a starting spot. Shout out to SIU-Edwardsville, the school where goalkeeper John Berner and I both got our educations. GRADE: A

Chicago Fire

One pick in the two rounds, Chicago replaced recently-traded defender Jalil Anibaba with defender Marco Franco. It’s a good pick because Franco come can start from Day One. GRADE:  B+

Columbus Crew

The Crew apparently have the desire to boost their defensive prowess. After adding defender Michael Parkhurst just this week, they select Ben Sweat who will surely shore up the left side of the defense. GRADE:  B-

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo got a quality center back with defender A.J. Cochran, who will be a starter for years to come. Second round selection Mark Sherrod won’t become a premier forward, but will add depth to their attack. GRADE:  A-

Jan 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Schillo Tshuma (Maryland) on stage after being selected as the number seventeen overall pick in the first round to the Portland Timbers in the 2014 MLS Superdraft at Philadelphia Convention Center. (Eric Hartline, USA TODAY Sports)

Portland Timbers

Portland sat back and waited, and lo-and-behold who should fall into their laps but Generation adidas forward Schillo Tshuma, a kid that head coach Caleb Porter appreciated verbally early in the week. Defender Taylor Peay and midfielder Aaron Long add more depth to an already strong team. Is there anything the Timbers do wrong lately? GRADE:  A-

Real Salt Lake

The problem for RSL is this: their pick comes late in the 1st round, and they don’t really need anything. They’re a really solid team that hasn’t lost a lot this offseason, except a coach. Selecting defender Ryan Neil was about as good a selection as they could’ve made. GRADE:  C+

Chivas USA

Being one of the worst teams in the league is tough, having only one pick that comes in the second round makes it tougher. Chivas is trying to score a hat-trick with who ever they take. Forward Thomas McNamara can help by connecting the pieces with his highly regarded passing. The Goats need as many good players as they can find right now. GRADE:  B

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls could use some depth at center back, which was made apparent when Jamison Olave went down this postseason. So what did they do in with their two picks? Right back Chris Duvall and midfielder Eric Stevenson, who were both considered a slight stretch at the time of their selections. GRADE: D+

Los Angeles Galaxy

You have one pick in the entire draft and you select defender Kyle Venters?!? Actually, yeah, that’s a good pick. Good job, Bruce Arena. GRADE: B+

Sporting Kansas City

The KC club has few weaknesses, but selecting forward Adnan Gabeljic they add to their impressive arsenal of young talented forwards. Does a team with too much potential goals have a problem? Only the good kind. GRADE: B

 

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Tags: MLS MLS SuperDraft