FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Chivas USA coach José Luis Sánchez Solá removed some of the uncertainty at the top end of the MLS SuperDraft and created a potential headache for himself by revealing he wants to draft Carlos Alvarez on Thursday.
Solá told MLSsoccer.com last night that he plans to choose the Connecticut midfielder with the second overall pick if his club opts to retain it.
The decision to take Alvarez does not come as much of a surprise. Solá previously indicated on Twitter that he wanted to see his club choose Mexican-American players in the SuperDraft. Both Alvarez and North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez indicated their interest in joining the club over the past couple of days. Solá ultimately developed a preference for the son of a former CD Guadalajara player instead of the box-to-box midfielder from Texas.
“He plays with his head up,” Solá said about a player he pictures as a central midfielder. “Before he gets the ball, he knows what to do with it. He plays toward the front.”
By revealing his preference for Alvarez three days prior to the SuperDraft, Solá opened his side up to a leverage play from Toronto FC and unnecessarily placed his chances of securing the player in a modest amount of danger.
Since Toronto FC holds the first and third picks in the draft, it could theoretically choose Alvarez to keep him away from Chivas USA without losing out on the top player on its draft board. The move would likely prompt the Red-and-White to select Lopez with the second pick and slot Louisville and Generation adidas defender Andrew Farrell – a player many see as the likely top overall pick at this juncture – into the third spot.
The pressing question for the Reds at this point: is the gambit too risky considering the players available on the board or does it represent the smart move from a value standpoint in a draft lacking in quality at the top end?
In this situation, the risk probably outweighs the reward. For a TFC side with holes everywhere on the field and several large contracts to manage heading into the season, the maneuver carries too many possible pitfalls given the small payoff – perhaps a modest amount of allocation money or another draft pick – likely on the table. Unless TFC rates Alvarez particularly highly on its draft board, it may benefit more by plucking two Generation adidas signings (presumably Farrell and another GA option) and sidestepping the prospect of adding a player that would count against the salary budget.
Even if Chivas USA escapes from this particular bout of frankness unscathed, the rather loose approach to proprietary information could hinder the club in the future. El Chelis may entertain his constituents and lull other MLS sides into a false sense of security with his approach, but his apparent desire to undermine bargaining positions will ultimately extract a toll in a league with a modest salary budget and a limited amount of resources.
Hurtado signs with MLS and signals his first-round spot is all but assured
In other news on Tuesday night, Santa Clara forward Erik Hurtado completed a deal with MLS, according to a Tweet from agent Richard Motzkin.
The move underscores Hurtado's place as one of the top forward prospects in the SuperDraft. MLS' decision to hand him a contract at this stage indicates he will likely come off the board at some point during the first round on Thursday.
Given the rather fluid nature of the draft after the top handful of players on the board, Hurtado dd well to secure his future now with a pair of solid performances at the MLS Player Combine and avoid any potential complications or draft day snafus later.