Alright, so I know I've already been doing some examinations of teams in the past (namely Seattle, Columbus, and Real Salt Lake thus far), however, today I participated in an actual mock draft, with all the same rules as the real expansion draft. Both myself and 86 Forever's Benjamin Massey took turns drafting players from each of the other 16 MLS teams, carefully selecting players we believed would make for a good 2011 roster.
Here were the rules:
- Playing the part of the Timbers, I got first pick for each round. Take that Vancouver.
- Only two players maximum were allowed to be taken from each team. So if I took 2 from Chivas, Chivas would be closed to both myself and Benjamin.
- Once a player was taken from a team, that team could then go back and protect one additional player.
Anyway, here were my picks for the Timbers. Please keep in mind that these are my opinion ONLY and some of the picks were made due to Benjamin stealing my other picks... what a jerk. (kidding!)
From first pick to last:
1. Jack Jewsbury - M - Sporting Kansas City
I took Jack for a single reason. He's a strong, capable midfielder. Regardless of his other attributes this alone singles him out as a potential candidate not only for the starting 11, but possibly for the captaincy of the team. Jack has played nearly his entire career at Kansas City and has, unfortunately, gone unused for the duration of the 2010 campaign. As such, I believe it is only fitting to put him in a role where he could really make a difference for an expansion side.
2. Ryan Cochrane - D - Houston Dynamo
Alright, many Houston commenters had their laugh when they saw I chose Cochrane. I may have struck out on this one (to borrow another sport's terminology), however I still stand by my pick for a couple reasons. Yes he is overpaid in Houston based on his performance, but perhaps moving back to his home (he was born in Portland) will motivate him a bit more. Additionally, I believe his past experience with our head coach John Spencer could prove to be a valuable combination.
3. Alex Nimo - MF - Real Salt Lake
Alright, who didn't see this one coming? I originally believed Nimo would be stuck on the GA list for another year, however, we recently learned he was graduating thus making him an easy 3rd round pick. Nimo has played well for us the past two seasons he has been on loan. Not only that, but he also has experience playing with both Ryan Pore and Bright Dike, two players we are "graduating" from our D2 team to MLS. Those three together next year could be a potent weapon.
4. Sanna Nyassi - M - Seattle Sounders
Oh man did I wrestle with myself over whether to take Nyassi or not from Seattle. On the one hand, it's impossible not to see the potential that this kid has. He scored both the goals in the Open Cup final against Columbus and has shown flashes of brilliance in regular season play. However, he also seems to get sloppy, lazy, and even unmotivated at times. I chalk this up to Seattle's terrible coaching staff (zing!) though. While he may be young and suffer from some undesirable traits chances are we can train him out of those traits in the near future and give him a serious role on our team moving forward.
5. Eric Brunner - D - Columbus Crew
Cheap. Big. Young. Experienced. What's not to like about this kid? I feel like he could become a powerful force on our backline, almost similar to what Omar Gonzalez does for LA. Not only that but I've seen Crew fans in the past comparing him to Chad Marshall, Columbus' other great defender. Based on that, I feel like he is a worthy, calculated risk.
6. Scott Sealy - F - San Jose Earthquakes
As I mentioned when choosing Scott, I see him as a bit of an enigma with San Jose's current line up. He seems to have the raw talent for scoring, but, for whatever reason, he just hasn't been able to put it in the back of the next this past season. Still, given his past experience abroad and his former 10 goals in a single season with Kansas City, I'm thinking he might just be a decent striker to pair up with Dike so long as he can get back into form.
7. Alejandro Moreno - F - Philadelphia Union
Another striker which looks great on paper, but has failed to live up to the hype surrounding him. While the former Columbus man did well for the Crew over three years (over 20 goals) his experience has seemingly been for naught in Philly's 2010 campaign. Still, if left available I can't ignore his impressive stats sheet. It's simply too full of opportunity.
8. Kyle Davies - D - FC Dallas
Despite recent injuries Davies has a lot going for him. He's still young, and has been training this entire year with possible MLS Cup champions FC Dallas. Additionally, he is the former captain of the USMNT U-20 squad. That might not seem like much, but given his experience, price and abilities it really is the metaphorical "cherry on the top." Were he to stay healthy I believe Davies could be a strong choice for first 11 defender, or at least a consistent sub.
9. Frankie Hejduk - M - Columbus Crew
I was very surprised to hear that Columbus had no intention of bringing back their old captain who lead the team to three years of good play, including an MLS Cup. I mean, I know he's getting old, but the shear amount of experience this man has in both club and international duty is impressive, to say the least. My selection of Hejduk is simply based off the fact that he could be invaluable in helping to solidify our team and give our younger players the training needed. Aside from Jewsbury, I see Hejduk as being captain material.
10. Dema Kovalenko - M - LA Galaxy
Fiery. Heated. Temperamental. Angry. These are just some of the words I've seen used to describe Kovalenko's play in recent years. But that doesn't necessarily bode ill for the Timbers should they opt to pick him up. Kovalenko knows how to fight when he needs to fight. Sure, he acquires a few more red cards each season than I'm comfortable with, but his tenacity on the field can never be understated. Plus, I believe his fiery attitude would fit in well with what Spencer is imaging for our team next season.
So, yeah, those are my personal choices for the team. I have no idea if the Timbers will actually select any of them, but I feel fairly decent about them. Also, keep note that some of these players could just have been taken in order to get traded away for more desirable players.
I would like to thank both Jeremiah Oshan for allowing me to participate in such an event and Benjamin Massey for taking on the role of my counterpart. This event was a lot of fun even if the Timbers opt not to take any of my suggestions. Hell, I'd find it hilarious if that happened.