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Breaking down new additions in MLS

Vancouver Whitecaps MLS SuperDraft PI
Vancouver's think-tank prepares to make its move at the MLS SuperDraft.
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Ives Galarcep

Ives Galarcep is a 14-year veteran of the American soccer beat. He created and operates the popular American soccer blog, Soccer By Ives, which was voted Best American Soccer Blog by US Soccer in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Ives was also voted Best Football Writer by SoccerLens in 2010. 
 

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A total of 105 players were drafted by Major League Soccer teams in recent days, over the course of five days and two drafts.

While the drafting of college talent remains anything but an exact science for MLS teams, its improving level has led to more teams finding more impact players through the draft in recent years.

It is tough to find a top MLS team that hasn’t benefited from draft day gems in recent years. Whether it’s New York finding Tim Ream a year ago, Los Angeles scoring the likes of Omar Gonzalez and Michael Stephens, or FC Dallas landing defenders George John and Zach Loyd in the past two seasons, MLS teams are finding top contributors via the draft far more often than ever.

Omar Salgado 300x166

MLS commissioner Don Garber is hoping No. 1 draft pick Omar Salgado is a hit with the Whitecaps.

Courtesy of MLS

So which teams made the most of last week's MLS SuperDraft and Tuesday's Supplemental Draft? Here is a rundown of how all 18 MLS teams did:

NEW YORK RED BULLS

Came into the drafts needing some defensive cover, but wound up with two promising attacking players in Corey Hertzog and John Rooney. North Carolina State defender Tyler Lassiter could wind up being a surprise, while Maryland’s Billy Cortes will have a chance to earn playing time at right back. New York added goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer in the Supplemental Draft, who can fight for a roster spot.

The Red Bulls came away from the draft still needing defensive cover, but head coach Hans Backe said the club will look for a central defender on the international market, and could use Rafa Marquez alongside Tim Ream if they fail to sign one.

COLUMBUS CREW

Reached too early for Indiana defender Rich Balchan, but rebounded very nicely with a good trade, sending Steven Lenhart to San Jose for allocation money and the pick used to select Justin Meram.

Columbus scored a pair of midfield steals later in the draft, taking Duke midfielder Cole Grossman and South Florida playmaker Bernardo Anor -- one of the draft’s true sleepers.

CHICAGO FIRE

The Fire badly needed a central defender and landed arguably the best one in the draft in Jalil Anibaba, a standout athlete who was the most impressive player at the MLS Combine. Anibaba could step in and start, helping offset the departures of Wilman Conde and C.J. Brown.

POLL

  • How much will the Drafts truly affect 2011's MLS clubs?
    • You'll hardly notice these guys
    • I expect to see many breakout stars
    • Big for the two new expansion clubs
    • The next Ronaldo is in there somewhere

Chicago found some good late-round value in Maryland forward Jason Herrick and California’s Davis Paul. The Fire added a pair of big forwards in the Supplemental Draft in Amani Walker and Yannick Salmon.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

The former Wizards tried trading down but wound up taking a forward they really liked in James Madison striker C.J. Sapong, a player widely-regarded as a second-round value. Sapong could fit in well with Sporting KC’s 4-3-3 attack.

While Sapong was a reach, K.C. found good value in the latter rounds, with promising left back J.T. Murray (Louisville) and Ohio State midfielder Konrad Warzycha, son of Columbus Crew head coach Robert Warzycha.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

The Union traded for Chris Seitz a year ago hoping he would be the future of Philadelphia goalkeeping. That didn’t quite work out, so the Union went back to the University of Maryland goalkeeping well to grab Zac MacMath, a U.S. Under-20 standout who will have time to develop playing behind Colombian veteran Faryd Mondragon.

Philadelphia added some quality depth with its other two picks, grabbing North Carolina playmaker Michael Farfan, a first-round value, in the second round, before grabbing speedy winger/forward Levi Houapeu in the third round.

D.C. UNITED

When you get the player you coveted most in the entire draft with the No. 3 pick then it’s a good day. D.C. wanted Perry Kitchen and now have a future captain and potential defensive anchor. The U.S. Under-20 standout could step in and start right away for a team sorely needing defensive help.

D.C. tapped into the Akron pipeline to grab fullback Chris Korb and also added a potential third goalkeeper in University of Denver’s Joe Willis.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The Revs entered the off-season with more issues than the drafts could address, but Steve Nicol still did a good job of adding some very good prospects who could contribute in year one. California centerback A.J. Soares could step in and start as a rookie.

New England scored in the later rounds with second-round midfielder Stephen McCarthy (North Carolina), who should challenge for minutes, and third-rounder Ryan Kinne (Monmouth), who could give the team a good attacking option off the bench

TORONTO FC

TFC dealt away its first-round pick earlier in the off-season for veteran defender Nathan Sturgis, but player personnel boss Paul Mariner showed why he’s considered a great evaluator of college talent with several smart picks.

Toronto landed some promising players with late MLS Draft picks in right back Demitrius Omphroy and wingers Efrain Burgos and Joao Plata. Omphroy could wind up starting, while Plata was one of the more intriguing players in the draft. He’s 5-foot-2, but is extremely quick and skilled and could wind up being a nice change-of-pace off the bench.

TFC then compiled one of the more impressive collections of talent in the Supplemental Draft in J.C. Banks, Steven Beattie and Spencer Thompson.

LOS ANGELES GALAXY

Landing Chad Barrett for a discount price was a good way to start draft day, but when Chivas USA and Columbus both traded up to grab top forward prospects in Victor Estupinan and Justin Meram, the Galaxy had to feel a pinch. Bruce Arena settled for diminutive midfielder Paulo Cardozo. Right winger Hector Jimenez (California) is another quality addition.

The Galaxy boosted its central midfield depth in the Supplemental Draft with Daniel Keat (Dartmouth) and Dustin McCarty (North Carolina), the younger brother of U.S. national team midfielder Dax McCarty.

CHIVAS USA

Robin Fraser’s first drafts as head coach yielded a deep haul of talent that should boost a thin roster. Zarek Valentin will be expected to step in and start, either at right back or in central defense, while Ecuadorian striker Victor Estupinan could help out a forward line that has little beyond Justin Braun.

Supplemental picks Ernesto Carranza (Sacramento State) and Curtis Ushedo (UAB) will have a good chance of making the roster.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The Earthquakes dealt away their first-round pick and allocation money for veteran striker Steven Lenhart, a solid addition up top, even if the price was a bit high.

The real steal for San Jose was landing Akron playmaker Anthony Ampaipitakwong late in the second round.

REAL SALT LAKE

Trading away a first-round pick for allocation money isn’t exactly a sexy move, but it is certainly practical for a loaded team with few needs aside from more cap space to keep all its talent.

RSL still managed to work some magic in the Supplemental Draft, where the club landed goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, arguably the second-best goalkeeper in this year’s draft pool.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS

The Sounders traded out of the first round, scoring some allocation money in the process, but Sigi Schmid’s side made the most of its collection of second round picks. Left back Michael Tetteh could wind up starting, while Juan Leone Cruz should provide some depth in central defense and at right back.

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Seattle’s quest for a potential successor to Kasey Keller led the club to draft a pair of goalkeepers in Bryan Meredith and Josh Ford. Both are a ways away from being starters, but each has good tools and could develop.

COLORADO RAPIDS

The defending champions didn’t have a ton of needs, but defensive depth was one of them. First-round pick Eddie Ababio is an athletic fullback who could also provide depth at centerback while Colin Givens can also provide defensive cover.

The Rapids could use some depth at forward and may have found a good bargain in Supplemental Draft pick Phillip Bannister (Loyola, Md.).

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Timbers came away from the MLS Draft with the most prepared attacking player in the pool in Darlington Nagbe, a Rookie of the Year front-runner. The Timbers traded into the first-round, but then traded right back out, securing an international player spot in the process.

Chris Taylor should provide some cover at left back, while speedy forward Spencer Thompson could prove to be a Supplemental Draft steal.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

The Whitecaps took a gamble on selecting Omar Salgado with the first pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, but his upside and skill set as a 17-year old could help him develop into a star. Vancouver added a pair of Notre Dame players in the versatile Jeb Brovsky and right back Bilal Duckett.

Vancouver found some very good values in the Supplemental Draft, with Michael Boxall a promising centerback and Santiago Bedoya, brother of U.S. national team midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, a left back prospect.

FC DALLAS

Schellas Hyndman already has a deep squad, but the addition of versatile defender/midfielder Bobby Warshaw could prove to be a genius move. Warshaw could be developed into an understudy for Daniel Hernandez.

Dallas loaded up in the Supplemental Draft, selecting some of Hyndman’s former college players, but they will find it tough to make a Dallas roster loaded with Homegrown Players.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Dynamo came away the big winners in the MLS Draft, landing highly-rated Akron right back Kofi Sarkodie before trading up to snatch Indiana striker Will Bruin. Sarkodie and Bruin are both good enough to play minutes as rookies and both are Generation adidas players, meaning they don’t count against the team’s salary cap.

Houston has always been known for scoring late-round steals, and Creighton midfielder Sergio Castillo could be this year’s late-round bargain.

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team.

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