The Vancouver Whitecaps must choose whether to keep or move their No. 5 and No. 10 pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Goal.com's Martin MacMahon examines the options.
These are the sorts of questions club brass will have been pondering over the last couple of months, and no doubt a large chunk of the decisions made will come down to which players fall to the No. 5 and No. 10 spots, and what other teams have on offer.
And, snap decisions can change things in a big way. The club nearly didn’t select Omar Salgado in 2011, as moments before Vancouver’s pick, the Philadelphia Union offered a load of allocation money for the first overall choice.
The Whitecaps had a quick think but ultimately decided to select Salgado over taking the cash, and that seems to have been the right decision after a season of growth for the lanky Texan.
While the club has had success in its selections of Salgado in 2011 at No. 1 and Darren Mattocks in 2012 at No. 2, they are well aware of how things become a gamble as the draft progresses.
In that 2011 draft, the ‘Caps selected Michael Nanchoff with their eighth overall pick, and it’s difficult to call the Ohio native anything but a bust. He showed bits and pieces of being the attacking, dynamic player scouts believe he could become, but never made a convincing push to usurp the club’s other attacking players – even on the league’s lowest scoring playoff team in 2012.
Given that C.J. Sapong and Will Bruin were selected at No. 10 and No. 11 by Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo, respectively, perhaps the Whitecaps will opt for caution rather than the risk and try and bring in a steady MLSer who can help immediately.
Conversely, perhaps the opportunity to snap up a player like Sapong or Bruin will prove tantalizing and the club will roll the dice.
While the club has some promising young players and a mix of veterans, primarily with European experience, club president Bob Lenarduzzi has hinted perhaps going after some proven MLS players by trading one or both picks could be on the table.
"One of the things that's become abundantly clear is that even if you are good player - and there are plenty of good examples around the league - MLS is a different league," Lenarduzzi said during a media availability last week. "The travel is much greater. The makeup of the teams is much more multi-cultural. Getting players who are proven from within the league is something that can be very beneficial.
"Rather than simply looking abroad, we're looking within the league and talking to other clubs about players we think can help us and do we have something that can help them. There's plenty of discussion taking place."
If Eriq Zavaleta is still available at No. 5, he’s a target forward that would add something different to Vancouver’s attack. They have speedy in Mattocks and Kenny Miller, they have shifty in Camilo, and Salgado has primarily been used as a winger under Rennie.
Zavaleta could add hold-up play and help the team keep the ball in advanced areas of the field – something the ‘Caps struggled with mightily at times in 2012.
Alternatively, Carlos Alvarez is a playmaker who could be available at No. 5. If he’s on the table, he could add a creative spark and a bit of imagination to Vancouver’s current meat and potatoes midfield.
At No. 10, it’s difficult to say who will be available. Head coach Martin Rennie has worked with Kyle Bekker before with the Carolina RailHawks, and many are saying it’s a natural pick for him to go to Vancouver as he’s a Canadian and has that background with the Scottish tactician – however, whether Rennie’s knowledge of Bekker is in the midfielder’s favour or not is yet to be determined.