On Wednesday night, bloggers from all over the SB Nation network came together to participate in a live MLS Mock Draft. Merwin Mixdorf and I represented your very own Hot Time In Old Town and played the role of Frank Klopas & company. Merwin is more familiar with the leading players in the draft so I let him lead the way. Our first target was Will Bruin, a Generation adidas forward who comes from Indiana University. Merwin pointed out that Bruin is very accurate at putting shots on goal and after a season where the Chicago Fire struggled to create shots, the team could really use someone that will maximize the few chances presented to them. Post-mock draft, I discovered our desire to draft Bruin lined up with the projection of Goal.com's J.R. Eskilson so don't be surprised if that's who the real Fire take on draft day.
Bruin was not to be ours on Wednesday though as Dynamo Theory writer Zach Woosley selected the Hooiser with the 7th pick in the draft. When our turn came up at No. 9, Merwin decided it would be best for us to select Zarek Valentin, a Generation adidas defender from Akron.
Merwin Mixdorf (Hot Time In Old Town): See we like Valentin because he fills a spot of need, is young and frankly his GA status keeps more cap available to sign veterans who can contribute right away. We can build with Kwame Watson Siroboe and Valentin as part of a young and growing backline with Stephen Kinney. Hopefully to build a backline for years to come.
Drew Epperley (WV Hooligan): Once again the Fire get a steal in this draft. Valentin is capable of playing centerback or right back. He's possibly the best defender in this draft too. He'll help turn around a woeful defense.
Drew Epperley's own Mock Draft had the Fire missing out on both Zarek Valentin and Will Bruin and ending up with defender A.J. Soares of California. Soares was selected right after us with the 10th pick by Sporting KC blogger, Andy Edwards of The Daily Wiz. Epperley said Soares could be the 'Tim Ream of this draft' while Eskilson had Soares going around No. 13 and mainly noted his health; he only missed 1 game in four years at California. It sounds like Bruin, Soares, or Valentin could pay big dividends for the team next year. We could use Bruin for his shots, Valentin for his defensive flexibility as RB Steven Kinney will be out for the first couple of months, and after a year plagued by injuries and short squads, Soares' consistency doesn't sound too bad either.
MLSSoccer.com is supposedly streaming all of the MLS Combine games so starting tomorrow you can see most of the players in action yourself. As reported here earlier, Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Zac MacMath, Omar Salgado, and Zarek Valentin will all not be participating but Soares and Bruin should get regular amounts of playing time. The first game kicks off at 12:45 PM CST followed immediately by the second game. Monday and Tuesday will also feature doubleheaders.
Follow the break to see the full results of the SB Nation MLS Mock Draft.
6. New England Revolution: Corey Hertzog, forward, Penn State
8. Vancouver Whitecaps: Michael Farfan, midfielder, University of North Carolina
10. Sporting Kansas City: A.J. Soares, defender, UC Berkeley
1. Whitecaps: John Rooney, forward, Macclesfield Town
2. Timbers: Cole Grossman, midfielder, Duke University
3. Sounders: Josh Ford, goalkeeper, University of Connecticut
4. Timbers: Ryan Kinne, forward, Monmouth University
5. Union: LLevi Houapeu, forward/midfielder, UMBC
6. Revolution: Rich Balchan, midfielder, University of Maryland
7. Red Bulls: Chris Korb, fullback, University of Akron
9. Sounders: Amani Walker, forward, UC Irvine
11. Sounders: Bobby Warsaw, midfielder/defender, Stanford University
12. Red Bulls: Josue Soto, midfielder, Southern Methodist University
13. United: Daniel Keat, midfielder, Dartmouth University
14. Sporting KC: J.C. Banks, midfielder, UW Green Bay
15. Earthquakes: Jason Herrick, forward, University of Maryland
16. Galaxy: C.J. Sapong, forward, James Madison University
17. FC Dallas: Tyler Lassiter, defender, NC State
18. Rapids: Davis Paul, forward, UC Berkeley