One of the really huge advantages of a network like SB Nation’s is that we can credibly do something like this, a real Mock Draft - people coming together in a communal way, sharing their thoughts, just a white-hot nerdgasm of folks 100 percent down for their side demonstrating that they have not a single fucking clue what their respective front office staffs are thinking.
So, hey! Let’s do this. Hot Time was represented at the Mock Draft by the redoubtable Ruben Tisch, whose picks are sweet as honey-covered dates and twice as filling.
For the record (and those who choose not to click through to the entire draft), here’s Ruben’s blurb about his two picks:
Ken Krolicki (CM, Michigan State) is a box-to-box midfielder with high energy and high upside who could learn a lot under Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty. Marcelo Acuna (F, Virginia Tech) was the best player still on the board, and a projected first-round pick. He can play anywhere in the attacking part of midfield and have an impact.”
These aren’t Fire players, but they could be ... let’s go a tiny bit deeper, shall we?
Ken Krolicki, CM, Michigan State
As news comes that Our Cam Lindley is, in fact, about to be Fucking Orlando City’s Cam Lindley
After top HG prospect MF Cam Lindley rejected an offer from #cf97, the Fire are set to trade his rights to #OCSC— MLS Central (@mls_central) January 15, 2018
Cam Lindley ➡️#VamosOrlando
RB Rafael Ramos
Allocation Money ➡️ #cf97 https://t.co/4ZZkkzaysn
there’s suddenly room in the midfield for a young, technical midfielder with good vision and a great engine - and Ruben has found us one in our backyard in Michigan State central mid Ken Krolicki.
Krolicki can fill a few different roles in the center of the pitch, but excels in a fluid, possession-oriented scheme like the Fire’s. His first touch is excellent (likely thanks to the fact that he lived in Japan in his childhood - thank you, Tom Byer), he combines well, and his awareness of traffic around him is better than the NCAA baseline. If Krolicki can handle the jump in tempo and fatigue that moving to MLS promises, he could be a long-term pickup.
Marcelo Acuna, F, Virginia Tech
The Chicago Fire have had good experiences in the past with Saprissa academy players who played college ball in Virginia as an entry point to the USA (kofkofGonzalo Segareskof), so Acuna’s route to the draft doesn’t worry us - especially if he can continue to score clutch goals like the two that defeated then-No. 1 Notre Dame last September.
A tall, lanky attacker who can play on either wing or up top, Acuna has averaged a goal every other game in college, and would serve as an understudy all across the attacking band.
(Me, I’d’ve gone for FGSU striker Albert Ruiz in that second round, and tried to get him working with Nemanja Nikolic, hoping that the mentor’s relentlessness would wear off on the younger guy.
(What would you’ve done? Comments just below.)