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MLS Draft 2011: A Recap

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BALTIMORE - JANUARY 13: Coaches and front office staff of the Portland Timbers discuss options during the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on January 13 2011 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE - JANUARY 13: Coaches and front office staff of the Portland Timbers discuss options during the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on January 13 2011 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
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I just want to apologize to everybody for my lack of work yesterday. I had made a deal with my job (who is based in Los Angeles) that if I could slack off on their work on Thursday I'd make it up with double work on Friday. Needless to say, it was an exhausting day. As such, I was unable to write about the Timbers.

Anyway, the first thing I really wanted to get on was a recap for the SuperDraft. I provided a bit of commentary for our own team, but as the SuperDraft as a whole goes I wanted to revisit it a bit and analyze our selections and what they mean for us, but also other team selections and what they mean to us, particularly our Cascadia rivals.

Portland Timbers

Heading into the SuperDraft I though we would absolutely end up with Kitchen and Nagbe would head up to Vancouver. As you can imagine, I'm absolutely delighted that that wasn't the case. Not that Kitchen isn't a solid player, it's just that prior to Thursday we had an abundance of defenders and a only two untested forwards. It was a worrying matter, to be sure.

But wait, you say, isn't Darlington Nagbe also untested in MLS? Yes and that's something we have to watch out for. I will say, however, that his winning the Herman Award speaks volumes about his ability to compete in the league. Let's put it in perspective, the last three winners of the trophy were Teal Bunbury (currently considered one of the best young players in the league) playing for Sporting Kansas City, Marcus Tracy who actually signed with a European club almost right after being drafted by Houston, and O'Brian White who currently is held up with Seattle. Three players, all of which ae still getting solid minutes and time with their respective clubs. That says something...

Of course, Darlington Nagbe wasn't the only play we added to our roster. A relative unknown in Chris Taylor will also be joining or team come March. While I'm still trying to find more information on Chris Taylor (maybe I'll just organize an interview), I must say that I'm not upset we picked him. Taylor is a left back of which is actually a little rare right now in the league. Bringing in a solid prospect from the SuperDraft was a smart idea, especially when we just added the bets player in the league.

Finally, as many of you may remember, there was actually quite a bit of trades happening around the Timbers. While we were originally supposed to get three picks we held two choice trades that would see our #20 pick+allocation money go to Seattle in exchange for their #11 pick+an international roster spot. We would then trade that #11 pick to Houston for allocation money. While I don't know the exact reason for the last minute trade to Houston, I'm assuming it's due to a player the Timbers FO wanted getting taken just prior to the #11 pick. Still we came out with some allocation money and an international roster spot. Not bad, in my opinion.

Our Cascadian Rivals

To win is to know your enemy. While I'm sure the Timbers FO is probably analyzing each team in and out to look for possible weak points, it's also important for we fans to at least check out our rivals and see what they are up to. Oh and, spoiler alert, of the three teams, I definitely felt like we came away with the strongest SuperDraft.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver started the SuperDraft with a surprise in choosing Omar Salgado, a player who not only did most people expect to fall to DC United, but one who also can't technically play with Vancouver until September which is practically at the end of the regular season anyway. Beyond even that, however, Salgado is a risky venture. I, personally, didn't see him as being MLS ready and would require a couple years of training and molding before being ready for first team action. And then there was that whole "I want to play in Europe" thing that I didn't care much for.

Looking beyond Salgado, Vancouver also selected Michael Nanchoff, Jeb Brovsky, and Bilal Duckett in the draft. While the latter two I don't see as much of a threat, at least not early on, Nanchoff I'm feeling may be able to make a run for first team given his performance and sharp mind. Word actually has it that Nanchoff could actually have the best "footballing head' in the draft overall. He's a thinker, and those guys can be dangerous if matched with skill as well.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle's picks are a little harder to decipher than Vancouver's. The club traded away it's #11 pick to us and then proceeded to take four players in round two: Michael Tetteh, Juan Cruz, Servando Carrasco, Bryan Meredith and then a fifth in round three: Alex Caskey.

Of all their players, Tetteh is the only one I'm personally worried about. This easily could have been a player that went in the first round of the draft, but seemingly slipped to the second for whatever reason. Here is what 3four3 blog says about him:

I think he makes a strong case as an outside back. Forget his defensive responsibilities, his potential to be special is in his play on the ball. He has the technical quality of a midfielder and the capacity to open up defenses with his runs on the wing. This is something the US also lacks. Our defenders are horrific on the ball when compared to their international counterparts. Where’s our Danny Alves and Maicons? Well, MLS might have a closer version with Tetteh.

It worries me that anybody is thinking of him as "our Danny Alvez."

Beyond Tetteh, the other draftees probably won't be making a push for Seattl'es first team. They acquired two South American internationals, as Seattle typically does (Montano, Montero, etc.) so we should definitely keep an eye on them and see how they develop.

Seattle also picked up a new keeper in Bryan Meredith. Realistically, I don't see Meredith even being the second keeper at this point. He's young and still has some developing to do. Once Keller is out of the picture, Seattle will probably bring in another veteran before handing the keys over to Meredith.

The Rest

Of the remainder of the teams I was probably most impressed with Houston, who was able to grab both Kofi Sarkodie and Will Bruin in the first round, two very strong players who can make an immediate impact on their team. Bruin, for some pundits out there, was actually marked as the best forward in the draft, so he's definitely somebody we'll have to keep an eye on this upcoming season.

Chvas USA also came away from the draft with a couple of very impressive selections in the first draft: Zarek Valentin (who our own head coach mentioned in the combine) and Victor Estupinan, another South American international who was very impressive at the combine games. Both will no doubt make an immediate impact on Chivas' first team coming off one of the club's worst seasons.

No other team really impressed me all that much. DC United picked up Kitchen who will no doubt be a solid player for them, particularly in the backline.

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I hope you enjoyed this recap. If you're looking for information regarding specific team's and their selections I recommend taking a look at other MLS SB Nation blogs, we've all covered the SuperDraft fairly extensively.