Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn't how we thought it would go, but FCD may have grabbed a couple steals on draft day.
The 2013 SuperDraft is over for FC Dallas. With the #7 pick, they drafted U20 US National Team defender Walker Zimmerman while with the #20 overall pick, Schellas Hyndman took winger Ryan Hollingshead from UCLA. Let's just go over each of the picks and then overall thoughts from draft day.
That was unexpected.
While I'm not shocked that Dallas took a defender, I don't think I remember seeing any scenario where Zimmerman would fall to FC Dallas at #7 overall. In fact, there were rumors flying that the Rapids, at #6, were furiously attempting to trade up in order to grab Zimmerman. With that in mind, the young defender truly was the best available. Ives had Zimmerman has his #2 overall talent while Simon Borg rated him as the top central defender in the draft.
While today's top draft pick wasn't sexy, I'm going to equate it to another type of football. How many times over the past decade have the Dallas Cowboys drafted a flashy, skill position player, only to see that guy either flame out, get injured or create a general nuisance on the team while others plug along with lineman after lineman while finishing 10-6 every year?
FC Dallas chooses to draft offensive lineman in the draft, and it's served them very well. Next year, Dallas will play a starting back line consisting of three of Schellas Hyndman's draft picks. You spend your money on skill positions while going the young American route on defenders. It's a recipe for success and it's one that Hyndman has mastered. FC Dallas has options at center back, but last year the #4 CB on the depth chart to start the season ended up nearly winning Rookie of the Year.
Zimmerman is not nearly as MLS-ready as Matt Hedges was, and to be honest I've only seen him play just a couple of times, but this pick just seems like one that was too good to refuse. It's not sexy, it's not exciting, but it's a potentially star-caliber player that costs you nothing off the salary cap. It's also a deeply religious guy who should provide no problems in the locker room while potentially becoming a future leader of the squad.
It's not flashy, but it makes sense.
It's a pretty crazy thought that potentially three of the defenders that could represent the USA should they qualify for the U20 World Cup will be FC Dallas players(Zimmerman, Okwuono, Ambrose).
This was a bit of a head-scratcher of a pick in the sense that Hollingshead is currently on a mission trip in Haiti and it's rumored that he may choose to pass on a professional soccer career. I've been told that Hollingshead returns from his mission in late January and FCD will talk to him at that time.
Putting the rest aside, let's talk Hollingshead the player. He's a guy who I've watched many times as the PAC-12 Network shows a ton of college soccer and, honestly, he was probably my favorite player in the conference. Hollingshead is a relatively lanky winger who loves to cut in centrally and have a go. He's not super technically gifted, but he's strong on the ball with good vision, good runs off the ball and a knack for finishing. I love his size going up against smaller MLS outside backs and while he isn't a winger built for the counter attack, he's a guy who is good on dead balls and good as a possession-based player.
Here's what Top Drawer Soccer's JR Eskilson had to say about Hollingshead, a player he's seen in person many times.
Ryan Hollingshead is strong on the ball, decent touch, and can hit a cracker from distance. He played in an advanced wing role in his final season with UCLA, which seemed to suit the type of player that he is - he likes to get forward, he likes to get in crosses, and he is capable of getting his head on the end of things. I compared him to Brad Evans earlier this year, which I think is still his prototype, but he is not a versatile as the Sounders man and perhaps more eager to take up his attacking role. I believe he can be successful in MLS, but its going to take the right situation and environment for Hollingshead.
If he does end up playing for FCD, he's a steal at #20 overall. Here's some video(#12)
Hollingshead scores the winner for UCLA in the PAC-12 Championship deciding win over Washington
A nice goal and assist in the win at Oregon State
It was a weird draft for Dallas, that's for sure. In Zimmerman, they didn't really address a need, but they got a guy many projected to go at #1 all the way down at #7. Drafting lineman is never fun, but Steve Davis thinks that Zimmerman will eventually be seen as the best pick of the 2013 SuperDraft. I don't love the pick, but given how giddy Hyndman sounded after locking Zimmerman up, it's tough to not think Dallas may have gotten away with theft and if there's any team that's in a good position to have a young stud defender who needs some time to simmer, it's FCD.
That was really too good to be true," said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman on Zimmerman’s selection. "He’s an outstandping player. He’s young. He does so many good things as a center back. He’s only getting better with the U.S. U-20’s. We thought he’d go number one or number two in the draft. We had worked trying to move up in the draft to get him, and when he fell to us that was like it was meant to be, so we’re really excited. He’s a good player, very talented, great upside and a wonderful person."
Hollingshead is another out-of-left-field pick, but if he does play for FCD, he could be a major contributor off the bench right away. I like Fernando Clavijo's ability to smooth talk Hollingshead to join Dallas and with another religious youngster joining the team in Zimmerman, it seems there's already a built-in roommate. We'll just have to see how this one plays out, but I think the coaching staff knows what they're doing on this one.