The Super Draft happened today. The Fire acquired four players. I don't see any of them being starters on opening day but they do provide the Fire with depth at key positions.
22 Years Old
Good decision here to go with a defender. You can never have to many defenders and frankly the Fire are stockpiling guys who can man the middle. I've heard the talk that he “has a chance to start” but that's a load of nonsense. He isn't going to start over Corey Gibbs and he most likely isn't going to beat out Kwame Watson-Siriboe who is bigger and has a year of professional play under his belt, or Dasan Robinson who looked good during his chances in the middle of the defense last season. His best chance to start is at right back if Steven Kinney isn't back from injury but Dasan Robinson can still play that position as well and could earn the starting spot due to his veteran experience. He is a straight defensive depth selection who is versatile along the backline. I could see him being in the mix as a bench option and a spot starter depending on injuries. Tweed keeps sounding the alarm regarding Kinney's injury from the last game of the season so perhaps Anibaba gets the nod at RB to start the season (Kinney out until May?) depending how the team decides to use Dasan Robinson.
It sounds like the combine helped his stock which makes me nervous. I am not a fan of the combine to use as a key evaluation tool. If the Fire were already high on him and the combine just sealed it great. If they didn't know who he was before the combine and grabbed him due to his performance well then I have issues with that. The only other option here would have to grab one of the available forwards and honestly I doubt that would have been better. The ceiling might be lower with Jalil but we should get a guy who can contribute at two positions and give us depth for a few seasons at the worst. At the best he turns into a shutdown right back who can also go forward and provide an offensive spark. Good RB's who can hit solid crosses are hard to find in MLS. Please tell me this kid can hit a good cross.
Local kid who has terrific experience at the highest college level. A 4 year starter at Maryland where he was always productive. 2007 season was lost to injury and he followed that up with his worst season; a 4 goal 4 assist campaign in 2008 where he started 24 games. His 2010 season was by far his best with 11 goals and 6 assists in 23 games started. A good value pick late in the draft. I could see him being a fixture on the Fire reserve team this season. Who knows good play there could get him elevated to the senior squad for friendlies and US Open Cup appearances. He does seem to have some potential but he isn't a young prospect. I haven't been able to find his age but he is a 5 year college player so he is probably 23 or 24. I wouldn't be overly excited about him but I'll definitely be monitoring the reserve team during the season to see how he is playing.
22 years old
2010 was Paul's breakout year. He had 8 goals and 14 assists. These totals are better than his previous three seasons combined. Frank Klopas again selected a 4 year college player. Here is another kid that is going to get a chance on the reserve team to make his case. It will be interesting to watch his progression. Apparently the guy is an avid snow boarder who had offers to do it professionally when he was younger. Clearly he is quite the athlete. Hopefully he can translate that to scoring goals at the professional level.
Veteran acquired via trade with Toronto FC:
33 years old
A solid MLS veteran keeper to help out with the Sean Johnson and Andrew Dykstra. Most likely teams are going to be forced to carry 3 keepers with the roster expansion. This was a wise pick up as it gives the team quality depth. I could see Conway being the 2nd string keeper on game day while Dykstra logs a lot of minutes in the reserve league this season. This give the team the option to trade Dykstra during the season and not have to worry about a backup keeper for Johnson.
This looks like a decent draft. Filled a nice need with the Jalil Anibaba while also acquiring two strikers who both have significant high level college soccer experience. The trade for Jon Conway caps off a nice day of filling out depth needs. Clearly the focus here was acquiring four year college starters. No project picks here, just guys who should be able to help out in the near future. It looks to me like Frank Klopas is building from his success in drafting Steven Kinney and Kwame Watson-Siriboe who were able to contribute last season as late round picks after being 4 year starters. That sounds like a good idea to me.