You've got to say today was a pretty good day for FC Dallas overall. They had one pick and got a center back that was rated by many to be the best available in the draft. I've got 5 thoughts/notes on today's draft.
Hedges Easily Slots In News has come down today that George John has agreed on a loan to buy deal with West Ham leaving a gaping hole in the center of defense. I asked college soccer expert JR Eskilson to give us a few words about Hedges and this is what he said:
Matt Hedges is the best defender from this draft class. He reads the game at a level that most players do not see until after a few years in the professional ranks. The main reason why is that Hedges was coached by one of the finest duos in the game right now (Kelly Findley/Dave Acosta) for much of his club and college days - Indiana United/Butler.
The overtly obvious criticism of Hedges is that he looks awkward at times, which is true. He is not the most graceful athlete you will see on the field. But he is damn convincing in what he does do. He organizes a defense about as well as any player from college over the last four years. He is nearly impossible to mark on corner kicks. He intercepts countless passes into the attacking third with his long legs and positioning. And he walks into a locker room without an ego.He needs to improve his 1v1 defending to reach the level of George John, but he is the best starting point FC Dallas could ask for from this draft.
That sure does sound a lot like George John doesn't it? If Hedges can come close to John's potential and Dallas can make some money on the sale of the Greek defender, everyone comes out ahead. At 6'4, he's actually an inch taller than the 6'3 John is listed at.
Aerial threat Hedges has 18 goals in 65 college matches at UNC and Butler including six in his senior year at UNC good for 5th on the national championship-winning team. As JR said at 6'4 he's going to be a nightmare for teams to mark in the box, especially a team like FC Dallas that will be boasting a goal poacher extraordinaire in Blas Perez. George John was always good for a few goals a season and that production shouldn't be lost bringing in a guy like Hedges.
Strong Temperment Schellas Hyndman loves his smart players and in four years of college play, Hedges has had just one yellow card and zero red cards. That's not to say he doesn't have an edge to him, Schellas Hyndman had this to say:
We were kind of surprised he was still available at No. 11. He's strong. He's got great size at 6’4” and he has really good feet, good movement, quickness and ball distribution. He’s also got a little bit of a bite to him that you want in your defenders.
You really can see him fitting in well to a back four with Loyd, Ugo and Jair.
Defensive Depth Center back is looking pretty good for FCD now, even with the loss of George John. Between Ugo Ihemelu, Hedges, Hernan Pertuz, Jack Stewart and potentially Luis Moreno, Dallas has got a lot of options to work with. The team could still use a backup outside back, possibly Carlos Rodriguez from Tauro, but other than that seems thing to be pretty well "balanced" in the back as Schellas would say.
Looking at the supplemental draft The drafting is not quite over yet as the Supplemental Draft takes place on Tuesday via conference call. I'll try and drum up a few names that could be useful to Dallas, but we all know that Arthur Ivo from SMU is still on the board. I'm extremely high on this kid and really hope Schellas finds a way to bring him here. Dallas has the #11 pick in the first and third rounds of the supplemental draft, but these picks can be had for pretty much nothing so if Schellas wants someone in particular, he can go get him.