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College Soccer Professor: MLS Teams' Draft Needs

By J.R. Eskilson  

Chicago Fire

Picks (3): 13, 25, 49
Last Season's Record: 11-7-12, second round playoff exit
Offense: 39 goals (T-5th)
Defense: 34 goals against (7th)
Roster Composition: 2 GKs, 9 DEF, 6 MID, 6 FWD
Biggest Need: Midfield/ Defense

Analysis: Chicago Fire enters the draft at the beginning of a new era. With lots of turn-over rumored, it is hard to say how they will treat this draft. Technical director Frank Klopas has been collecting frequent flier miles like he was starring next to George Clooney in "Up In The Air" for the last few weeks while looking for a coach. However, you still have to assume he is the one making the decision on draft day since new head coach Carlos de los Cobos still hasn't seen the Sears Tower.

Chivas USA

Picks (5): 10, 26, 35, 42, 58
Last Season's Record: 13-11-6, first round playoff exit
Offense: 34 goals (11th)
Defense: 31 goals against (3rd)
Roster Comp: 4 GK, 8 DEF, 10 MID, 7 FWD
Biggest Need: Depth/Forward

Analysis: When you only score 34 goals in 30 games, you should rethink that offense. However, with the change in coaching and playing style, the club might have different needs than appearances suggest. The roster is relatively balanced, so possibilities are endless for Chivas USA. New head coaches are always the toughest to predict on draft day, leaving the Goats in the perfect spot to grab best talent left instead of taking a need.

Colorado Rapids

Picks (4): 22, 23, 40, 56
Last Season's Record: 10-10-10, missed playoffs
Offense: 42 goals (3rd)
Defense: 38 goals against (9th)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 7 DEF, 7 MID, 7 FWD
Biggest Need: Midfield/Defense

Analysis: Improve the defense and midfield a bit and Colorado should be in the playoffs next year. The problem is they traded away their first round draft pick for Pat Noonan. D'oh! Two picks early in the second round still offers some good value but they will likely miss out on the Generation adidas gravy chain.

Columbus Crew

Picks (5): 8, 12, 60, 61, 63
Last Season's Record: 13-7-10, Supporters Shield Winner
Offense: 41 goals (5th)
Defense: 31 goals against (T-3rd)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 6 DEF, 11 MID, 4 FWD
Biggest Need: Forward

Analysis: Now that Guillermo Barros Schelotto is back on the books, there has to be some relief coming from Columbus. Two first round picks and then three in the fourth round. Most fourth round picks don’t pan out, so those first two picks will make or break Thursday for the Crew. A utility player for the back line would be nice with the limited roster space, and a goal poacher to replace Alejandro Moreno would do this club well.

D.C. United

Picks (3): 7, 39, 55
Last Season's Record: 9-8-13, missed playoffs
Offense: 43 goals (T-2nd)
Defense: 44 goals against (10th)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 5 DEF, 10 MID, 7 FWD
Biggest Need: Defense

Analysis: The seventh pick is an intriguing spot to be in because FC Dallas is shopping the fifth and sixth picks, so there is no way to know who could end up in front of you. Best hope for the United faithful would be Zach Loyd. According to all accounts, he played well in Florida and after him the defenders on the board drop off a bit. United did really well last year with their two selections so maybe they will have a repeat performance. However, replacing Emilio could be the main focus in this draft.

FC Dallas

Picks (6): 5, 6, 21, 38, 44, 54
Last Season's Record: 11-13-6, missed playoffs
Offense: 50 goals (1st)
Defense: 47 goals against (T-13th)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 6 DEF, 11 MID, 4 FWD
Biggest Need: Midfield/Defense

Analysis: Little known fact: MLS rosters only permit four Generation adidas players to not have their salary count against the cap. Well Dallas, aren't you in a pickle? They are very close to the $2.3 million salary cap. Also, they already have four Generation adidas players on the roster! This is why a trade is so likely for this team. They need someone to save them from the Dave van den Bergh contract and they can throw a draft pick to go with it. Hypothetically, they take Ike Opara and Corben Bone, guesstimate their salaries to add up to the $260,000 range. Dallas would have to fill out the rest of their roster for $150,000. Sorry, this is way too much talking about finances for a league on the verge of a lockout.

Houston Dynamo

Picks (3): 43, 46, 62
Last Season's Record: 13-8-9, second round playoff exit
Offense: 39 goals (T-5th)
Defense: 29 goals against (T-1st)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 6 DEF, 8 MID, 6 FWD
Biggest Need: Depth

Analysis: So if Houston loses both Rico Clark and Stu Holden this off-season, they have to regret missing out on this draft. That said, Houston does well in late rounds and one of these picks will turn into a player.

Kansas City Wizards

Picks (5): 4, 20, 36, 41, 52
Last Season's Record: 8-13-9, missed playoffs
Offense: 33 goals (T-13th)
Defense: 42 goals against (10th)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 8 DEF, 9 MID, 6 FWD
Biggest Need: Forward

Analysis: Kansas City should be disgruntled with Ike Opara. If the report that he is staying in school till May is true, they just lost out on Teal Bunbury. Opara's stock takes a hit, I don't see a top three team taking him unless they think he will be there for training camp. Poor KC. It is too early to take any other forward, and moving further back in the first round just isn't in their MO. 808s and heartbreak for my small-field loving followers.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Picks (3): 15, 47, 64
Last Season's Record: 12-6-12, Western Conference Champions
Offense: 36 goals (T-10th)
Defense: 31 goals against (T-3rd)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 9 DEF, 6 MID, 9 FWD
Biggest need: Attacking midfield/forward

Analysis: Bruce Arena's side needs another weapon on offense. Have you ever watched this team play without Landon Donovan? It makes watching paint dry seem interesting. There should be a solid outside midfielder or forward still on the board by the time they pick.

New England Revolution

Picks (3): 9, 25, 57
Last Season's Record: 11-10-9, first round playoff exit
Offense: 33 goals (T-13th)
Defense: 37 goals against (8th)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 5 DEF, 8 MID, 6 FWD
Biggest need: Forward

Analysis: Who was the leading scorer for the Revs last season? Shalrie Joseph and Kheli Dube tied for top spot with eight apiece. There has to be a forward on the board who could improve that kind of production. It is hard to know exactly what New England wants to do with this pick, but getting a player to fill Taylor Twellman's spot would be wise.

New York Red Bulls

Picks (6): 2. 14, 18, 31, 34, 50
Last Season's Record: 5-19-6, missed playoffs
Offense: 27 goals (15th)
Defense: 47 goals against (13th)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 7 DEF, 8 MID, 4 FWD
Biggest need: Midfield

Analysis: With the second pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, New York selects Tony Tchani, University of Virginia. San Jose is on the clock.

Philadelphia Union

Picks (4): 1, 17, 33, 49
(Inaugural season)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 4 DEF, 4 MID, 2 FWD

Analysis: So Philly tells Danny Mwanga to skip the combine, and now we don't get the chance to compare him to the other top talents in this draft class. I understand the thought process behind this decision, but for Philadelphia sports fans this has to be more frustrating than watching Andy Reid self-implode in Dallas. Actually, on second thought, all Philly sports teams have frustrated their fans this year so they should be used to this by now. (Sorry! Please don't pelt me with snow balls!)  

Real Salt Lake

Picks (3): 16, 32, 48
Last Season's Record: 11-12-7, MLS Cup Champions
Offense: 43 goals (T-2nd)
Defense: 35 goals against (7th)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 4 DEF, 10 MID, 7 FWD
Biggest need: Defense

Analysis: No, really: there are only four defenders listed on the RSL roster currently. There is not much to debate about their draft pick. Top defender on the board, pack your bags.

San Jose Earthquakes

Picks: 3, 19, 28, 30, 37, 51
Last Season's Record: 7-14-9, missed playoffs
Offense: 36 goals (T-10th)
Defense: 50 goals against (15th)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 6 DEF, 8 MID, 5 FWD
Biggest need: Defense

Analysis: Two years in a row, San Jose trades away their top pick. Argue all you want about the merits of the draft but don't we have the perfect control in San Jose? They keep roughly the same record every season and they trade their first pick away for veteran players two years in a row. Use the draft, Frank. Take the top talent on the board and don't answer when Mo Johnston calls. He is up to no good.

Seattle Sounders FC

Picks (3): 11, 27, 59
Last Season's Record: 12-7-11, first round playoff exit
Offense: 38 goals (7th)
Defense: 29 goals against (T-1st)
Roster Comp: 3 GK, 7 DEF, 6 MID, 7 FWD
Biggest Need: Forward/Depth

Analysis: Last week, it looked like youngster Jack McInerney would be the only forward left on the board for Seattle. Now, it looks like he might be gone before they are up, but Andre Akpan and Andrew Wiedeman could be there. It is a nice luxury for Sigi Schmid and Co. to have. They are taking a forward, it is just a matter of who is left. Here is why I think pundits are off about Wiedeman. He is not going to create a ton of chances for himself. He is just going to be really lethal when he does get an opportunity in front of the net. So let's think about all the chances Seattle had against Houston and Chivas USA late last year, you don't think they want someone who can poach goals? "Come on, man!"

Toronto FC

Picks (2): 24, 53
Last Season's Record: 10-11-9, missed playoffs
Offense: 37 goals (8th)
Defense: 46 goals against (12th)
Roster Comp: 2 GK, 8 DEF, 6 MID, 5 FWD
Biggest Need: Defense

Analysis: I think Mo Johnston is the only person in the world that loves the draft more than I do. This is coming from a guy who spent 10,000 words analyzing ever angle of the SuperDraft over the last month. Check the twitter, Mo, I have some trade ideas for you.

J.R. Eskilson is the youth soccer editor at Follow him at

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