The MLS SuperDraft is sort of like a lottery ticket these days. You could strike it rich and win big, but more often than not, you’re just expecting to get nothing from the exercise. It’s really an odd exercise that the league still employs, and certainly as a way of honoring its North American roots. But with Academies in place and the increasing ability to lure young talent from South America, the typical North American sports route from college to the pros is a dying one in soccer.
But, since this is still a thing, we might as well play. Coaches like Bruce Arena and Caleb Porter really don’t care for this and just seem to pick by throwing names on a dart, which is fair. Their respective rosters and systems were not built around the draft and why bother expending resources here? Dallas on the hand, have found a few key players that have produced well for the first team in recent years (Tesho Akindele, Ryan Hollingshead, Jacori Hayes) so the eye of talent is certainly there to be used by Dallas.
Before we dive in, let’s assess Dallas’ current reality.
Dallas currently holds two picks in the first round (4th and 10th). Realistically, the first round is where you can reasonable expect to pick up players who can contribute. There are some diamonds in the rough and an odd exception here and there (hi, Hollingshead) but that’s just icing on the cake.
This is a mechanism that needs to be filed in the back of everyone’s mind as the process unfolds. Generation Adidas (aka GA) is a way for younger players who not draft eligible, to enter the draft early. GA players do not count against the MLS senior roster and usually have a high salary than the league minimum that most drafted rookies earn.
Position of Need
Some years this strategy works best based on the talent pool and where the club is roster wise. If there’s an abundance of solid players, and Dallas has a gaping hole somewhere on the roster depth, FCD can opt to go strictly for a need based position and draft a player to fill that role.
Taking a quick look at how the roster looks at this moment, it doesn’t look like Dallas really has any major positions of need.
Best Player Available
When rosters are pretty full and set, a good strategy is to just grab the best player, even if you don’t need them and stash them away. With the USL team coming in 2019, Dallas certainly has a chance to do just that with the 10th pick. Perhaps grabbing whoever has the most upside and quickly sending them to North Texas SC for a year of development.
Flip the Picks
If nobody of interest materializes, FC Dallas could certainly just trade the picks for assets like allocation or another player.
What should Dallas do?
I have watched exactly zero minutes of men’s college soccer this year, so I couldn’t tell you anything about the players and their projected pro careers. So armed with zero knowledge, knowing Luchi wants to give some of the young guys who just recently graduated from the Academy a chance, the formation of NTSC and the overall depth that Dallas already has, I’m going to guess FCD will just roll the dice and opt for the best available talent and use those players to help fill out their USL 1 team’s roster.
Once the combine starts and having reviewed some of the scrimmages, we’ll have some names to suggest or to keep an eye out for. In the meantime, what do you think? Is there a specific player you’d be elated if Dallas got their hands on? Should Dallas just grab whoever they can and consider it a win? Or do you not care about this at all and you’re team #NoMoreSuperDraft?