Eriq Zavaleta could be a top pick. - (Photo via Indiana Athletic Department)
Time to look at the group that everyone always has an eye on, the guys who score the goals.
One final group of players to talk about today as we continue to gear up for the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. We've looked over the midfielders, the defenders and the keepers so far. Time now to move up the field to the forwards, a group that everyone always gets interested in around this time of the year.
Naturally a lot could change with this list as we still do not know the full Generation adidas class just yet. Same can be said for the Home Grown Players that are set to sign with the various clubs around the league. Should one of the bigger seniors not sign with their respective clubs, they could end up in the draft pool.
Again, these are players that could potentially be available to FC Dallas at number 7 in the first round, and at number 20 in the second round.
So here we go...
Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana) - This would be a major thing IF he signs with the league as a Generation adidas player and IF FCD were to trade up for him. Some don't believe he'll sign, others like myself think he will. With IU winning the national title this year I think he will see that he can move on to the professional game. Would he drop to number 7? Possibly, other GA players have slipped this far before but we know how Schellas Hyndman is at drafting young, inexperienced forwards. It certainly is a high-risk/high-reward type of pick.
Ryan Finley (Notre Dame) - He scored a ton of goals at Notre Dame this year. Oddly enough he did it all off the bench and didn't start in any game. He is the very definition of a super-sub. Hyndman has done well with guys like this in the past when you look at Eric Avila or even what we thought Andrew Wiedeman could have been. Finley reminds me of Avila in a way but possibly a little better. I think he'll still need to prove to all coaches in MLS that he can handle playing longer stretches at a time.
Will Bates (Virginia) - Injuries hurt him over the years but he is still a quality player. The senior didn't have a ton of support this year at UVA but his size and strength should win people over. He is good on the ball and with a creative midfield behind him he will be a good goalscorer in this league.
Chris Thomas (Elon) - The nation's leading scorer will attract some attention in this draft for sure. He has good speed and is very athletic. I see him possibly being more of a winger in MLS rather than a striker but his Combine should tell the real story on that front.
Patrick Mullins (Maryland) - Another GA target here, I think if Zavaleta isn't obtainable for FCD, Mullins certainly could be worth a good look. Some believe he could return to Maryland for his senior season, so there is still a lot of "what ifs" with him at the moment. I think he is versatile enough and has a good enough work ethic to make Hyndman take a serious look at him.
Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina) - Another small school guy that lead his school. Having an international status also doesn't help his cause for FCD to pick him but if somehow a green card is present with him, he could be a solid pickup. His Combine will need to be big though to get more teams to believe he is worth a pick.
J.J. Johnson (VCU) - A third GA target on the list. Johnson has the speed that teams will drool over. But what I like about him is that he can combine the speed with a power game, something that will serve him well at the next level.