It is January and in Major League Soccer, which means it is time for the SuperDraft. For those who are a bit new to this process, the SuperDraft is basically the league’s college draft. It isn’t nearly as big as the name implies (it is only broadcasted online these days) but it is a good way for clubs to boost their roster depth and in some cases, find some hidden gems that could be huge for the long run.
Last Friday on the preseason media call, FCD technical director Andre Zanotta said that the club expects to find some quality in this draft. That should be the case given that the club will pick 6th overall in Tuesday’s draft. In prior years, that means getting a Generation adidas player (someone who will not count against the salary cap) and in 2022, that should be the case again.
So what does FC Dallas actually need in this draft? Here are some positional needs and a look at some recent Mock Drafts from those who have kept a closer eye on the college game this past year.
FCD’s SuperDraft Strategy
With the 6th pick, the options for FC Dallas to make a big move are there. Here are a few suggestions that I see playing out tomorrow afternoon for them.
- Take the best player available - This seems simple enough but given how the club handles their academy and Homegrown system, grabbing a guy that can be plugged in early does make plenty of sense. The GA class for this year’s draft is a bit bigger than the last couple of seasons, which means there should be a guy available for the club to select.
- Trade some GAM and move up - If you look above you in the draft order, outside of the two Texas rivals, there is Toronto, Cincy, and newcomers Charlotte FC. Out of that group of clubs, you have to imagine any or all of them would take some extra allocation money to swap picks. You do this if you really want a guy like Kipp Keller (CB, Saint Louis) or Ben Bender (M, Maryland), or Isaiah Parker (F, Saint Louis). All three are considered some of the top prospects.
- Go back to the bread and butter, draft a CB - Right now, drafting a center back should be a priority in this draft for FC Dallas. While Matt Hedges, Nkosi Tafari, and Jose Martinez are all capable starters, but I love the idea of snagging the best available center back in this draft if you stay at the 6th spot. FC Dallas has done so well in previous years in drafting center backs from Hedges, Tafari, to back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman. According to the scouts and those who watch the college game most, the center back pool is deep this year.
- Trade down/out and pick up some GAM - This is the road less traveled but if the club has a set of moves coming out from Homegrown signings (which we fully expect a couple by the start of preseason based on Zanotta’s comments last week), or international signings (those are coming too), there is no harm in pulling a Philadelphia here and trading out of the top 10 and the first round altogether to snag some allocation money.
Positions FC Dallas should focus
- Forwards - Since the sale of Ricardo Pepi, the club has a big hole in the attacking department. While Jesus Ferreira and Franco Jara are still on the books for 2022, the club would be wise to find the best striker in this draft that they can.
- Center back - As I mentioned above, go to a center back. There are loads of them in this draft that are worth a look at.
- Left back - Following the offseason moves to let Johnny Nelson go (who eventually landed with FC Cincinnati), the left back spot is pretty thin behind Ryan Hollingshead.
Latest SuperDraft Projections
MLSSoccer.com - Ousseni Bouda (Forward, Stanford)
While striker is a position of need, it’s hard to pass on the potential of Bouda. The winger is a live-wire attacking talent that can score goals and create them, which is something FC Dallas could use. The Generation adidas status is helpful as well.
BDS Thoughts - Snagging a GA is good and this is a position of need.
Top Drawer Soccer - Patrick Schulte (GK, St. Louis)
FCD currently has one goalkeeper on its roster. While Antonio Carrera seems like a lock to be a Homegrown signing, Schulte’s a quality candidate to get picked here and offer depth.
BDS Thoughts: While FCD does only have one keeper on the books right now, the club is rumored to sign some from overseas and I would expect one of the HGP signings to be in this spot as well (either Antonio Carrera or Julian Eyestone).