(UPDATED: I missed a couple maneuvers on SuperDraft day…stupid Draft Tracker. The Crew picked up a couple picks in the 20’s and, with them, forward Ricardo Pierre-Louis and midfielder/defender Ryan Miller. See here for details.)
Well, the 2008 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft is over. Or close enough to for me to type out this little post, which, in the grand scheme, is a blank slate with a couple words stenciled on it. I may not always be informative, but at least I’m honest. As promised, I’m going to look at the day’s work put in by my two 2008 adoptees, the Columbus Crew and the Colorado Rapids. Here’s what each team picked up today (drawn from MLSnet.com’s SuperDraft Tracker, which is doing much better now, thank you, since it stopped updating every minute or so):
#5. Ciaran O’Brien, M
#36. Adrian Chevannes, D
#47. Brian Grazier, M
#49. Scott Campbell, M
#6. Andy Iro, D
#20. George Josten, F
#48. Steven Lenhart, M
I just checked my pre-SuperDraft posts (Crew and Rapids) to confirm that neither team traded away their spots; looks like they both stood pat. Given where their respective picks sat in the queue, Columbus had the better hand to play, but, perhaps no less significantly, they also chose players more people had in their heads going into the draft.
Given how (very, very) little I know about these players, I’m just going to pass on the few things I’ve read and make every effort – Scout’s honor – to pay close attention to all the players involved…assuming they don’t all wind up playing in the reserve league in ’08…I’m looking at you on this one, Colorado. Somewhat predictably, I haven’t branched out a hell of a lot from the two pundits I leaned on in the run-up to the SuperDraft – Buzz Carrick for his Top 20 prospects article and Ives Galarcep for his mock draft – so I’ll be leaning on them again (if by some chance I meet either man in person, I definitely owe them several pints). So, on with the show. This is, literally, it:
Galarcep didn’t name him in his mock draft, but that only went to 14 players, right? Contrary to what I wrote earlier, Carrick did flag O’Brien in his top 20 prospects. Here’s what he had to say:
“Composed and confident on the ball with terrific awareness and passing ability; O’Brien will be best-served as a linking, deep-lying midfielder on a team that uses two midfielders sitting in front of the defense.”
If memory serves, John Harkes, in between questioning the pick, said something similar. And, in his running commentary on the SuperDraft, Ives speculated that O’Brien might come in to replace a potentially on-the-move Pablo Mastroeni (see 2:24 p.m.).
Of the other three, I’m only seeing copy on Chevannes. Carrick wrote a bible on this cat in the scouting report on defenders he wrote for ESPN (though I’m also certain he has since posted updated information on 3rd Degree). Rather than copy/paste the scouting material, I’ll just note that Carrick seemed most impressed by Chevannes’ speed (sounds real fast) and that he’s a converted and seemingly versatile player.
So, where Colorado is concerned, it’s arguable they worked with what they had. They could have run with one of the more highly-touted midfielders – Eric Avila or that Videira guy – but, y’know, they did what they did. And Chevannes has this sneaker-pick vibe for me…probably just imagining it, but I hope not; good is good and MLS needs all the good it can get.
I already flagged something Galarcep heard about Iro in an earlier post (most unkind); at the same time, I read somewhere else that he is, indeed, happy to go to Columbus. The good news – for both club and player – is it sounds like Iro will get minutes this year, possibly big ones. But here’s what my two experts had to say about Iro:
“Capable of dominating a game defensively; he’s big, quick and physical. His feet aren’t very good, but neither were Eddie Pope’s.”
(Galarcep – and just try to apply the Galaxy slant to the Crew)
“Ruud Gullit didn’t like much of what he saw at the MLS combine [ah, but maybe Sigi Schmid did], but he had to be impressed with Iro’s imposing size and athletic ability. The Galaxy [or the Crew] need help in the back and Iro would give the Galaxy [or the Crew] a rock in the back.”
Being from the Inland Empire, and with Josten being a Gonzaga man, I was already warmly disposed to the forward. I had read generally good things about Josten – it helped, no doubt, he scored during the Combine, but he also reportedly has a nice mix of shots – so it surprised me, if only a little, that he lasted as long as he did. And even with rumors floating about Maciej Zurawski heading to Columbus (and he fits an earlier description for a prospective Crew DP), lord knows this bunch needs depth at forward. In other words, step it up or step down, Jason Garey. Here’s a little more (from Carrick’s forward’s scouting report):
“Josten was tapped as a Third Team All-American in 2007, the first All-American in Gonzaga history. His 34 career goals (tied with Brian Ching) and 17 career assists both rank third in school history. Josten is also a three-time West Coast Conference First Team player, another first time feat in school history. He led the WCC in goals and points in both his sophomore and junior years.”
I think Steve Lenhart’s too far down to hit anyone’s radar. Correct me if I’m wrong (especially if he’s on one of the pages I’m linking to), but I’ll have to catch up on him as well.
I’m a little biased (OK, possibly a lot biased; Ohio-boy, guilty as charged), but I think Columbus did all right. They had two primary needs by my count – forward and central defender – and they picked up one of each. As for their prospects in ’08 and beyond, Iro came onto the stage with the bigger reputation, but hurt himself a bit during the combine, while Josten seems to have retained a pretty decent profile throughout the SuperDraft process. So, it’s possible the Crew picked up a pair of gamers, but only time will tell on that.