In 2011, the Portland Timbers invested heavily in Darlington Nagbe, the Hermann award winning college player from Akron. In 2012 they opted to instead go for a defender in Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who also happened to be a GA player despite falling to the relatively low position of 8 in 2012. With that in mind, is it time for the Portland Timbers to use their 3rd overall pick to select an out and out midfielder? Given the glut of young forwards currently on the squad, I would certainly say so.
So, with that in mind, here are some possible candidates for midfielders in the 2013 SuperDraft.
Mikey Lopez (North Carolina)
Probably the most obvious candidate as he's been a standout at North Carolina this year. He's also trained and played with the USMNT U-20 squad which makes him a prime target for future USMNT picks as well as which would certainly help developing him. Beyond that, he's pretty much a lock for a Generation Adidas contract and has been consistently ranked as one of the best college players. If he falls as "low" as third, it would be wise of the Timbers to add him to their arsenal.
Jose Gomez (Creighton)
Coach Porter should be pretty familiar with Gomez considering it was hi team that sent Akron packing in the NCAA Tournament, but beyond that Gomez is billed as one of the most MLS-ready midfielders in the 2013 class. WVHooligan seems to be most impressed by him as well as his development from last year to this year. The one concern? I can't find any mention of MLS even sniffing at him for a GA contract.
Note: Gomez is listed across the internet as being either a midfielder or defender. It could mean he's comfortable in either position or has simply been mislabeled.
Dillon Powers (Notre Dame)
Billed as a "box-to-box" midfielder with decent ball skills, Powers could be seen as a decent sub or replacement for the indefatigable Diego Chara when he invariably gets his red card during the 8th minute of the second game in 2013. Additionally, it appears as though he could be in line for one of those precious GA contracts that are all the rage these days. Keep an eye on this kid.
So there you have it. The top choices for midfielders heading into the 2013 MLS season. We'll have pieces examining the top forwards and defenders in the coming days/weeks.
Given the choice, who would you select? Are there any midfielders I missed that the Timbers should check out?
[Special thanks to TopDrawerSoccer.com for being an amazing college player resource.]