SuperDraft Scouting: The Colorado Rapids’ Weak Hand

As anyone watching this space knows, I adopted two of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) original teams for the 2008 season: the Columbus Crew and the Colorado Rapids. Today, I’m going to make a stab at figuring what each team can or should do ahead of and/or during Friday’s SuperDraft. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll start with the Rapids.

And why would that be simpler? It could be down to the seeming absence of trading news coming out of Denver; the contrast with the comparatively hopping Ohio scene rather nicely sets up my planned narrative for the season. It could also be that I don’t see them getting up to much between here and Friday evening. I’m not alone in that: read through Steve Davis’ article for about how unpredictable the smart set expects the ’08 SuperDraft to be and look for Colorado’s name; I know I didn’t find it, not even in the refuse heap acknowledged as “other teams?” hasn’t yet updated the order on the SuperDraft to reflect the latest (at least not that I know of), but the press release/article they sent out Monday showed Colorado with picks #5, 36, 47, and 49. That, however, may no longer hold: a somewhat stealthy aside on Soccer by Ives mentioned the Kansas City Wizards sending Jose Burciaga Jr. to Colorado in exchange for a pick. And, as I speculated in an earlier post, I’m guessing – or, rather, hoping for the sake of Burciaga’s ego – that the Rapids coughed up that #5 pick. So…assuming the Rapids did give up the #5 pick, that leaves them with picks #36, 47, and 49 – e.g. short of finding the Hope friggin’ Diamond in the rough, that’s not a lot to work with.

(UPDATE: In the comments, J Five passes on word that Colorado traded for a 2009 draft pick; further, arguably more direct, confirmation appears here.  Thanks to him for that. Given that, pay more attention to the stuff below that assumes the Rapids held on to the #5 pick. Don’t think that changes the big picture all that much, but, as they say, it beats a kick in the head.)

The next question is, what are they needs? Here, we have a couple things with which to work. First, there’s a “Murphy’s Law” column written by Rapids assistant coach John Murphy, a piece in which he gives away little more than a stripped-down draft-day philosophy. Other, more detailed thoughts on team-by-team needs come from an ESPN piece by Jeff Carlisle and, well, me in the form of my review of Colorado’s 2007. Here’s what we have/had to say, starting with Carlisle (who, y’know, pays more attention and takes less license with content, so do lend him your ear): Continue reading


MLS Combine: What I Know; What Other (Smarter) People Know

In my world, this is a combine:

Consequently, I’m going to turn this space over to links written by others, specifically, people who 1) have actually given some thought to how Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs build their teams through the draft, and, 2) actually went to watch the games MLS put on to showcase these prospects. I’ll start with the latter.

The best stuff I have come across came from 3rd Degree’s Buzz Carrick and Soccer by Ives’, um, Ives Galarcep. In case you haven’t seen these, see the link round-up below. Much as I wish I could say otherwise, I have nothing to add. I really don’t follow the college game in a meaningful way (or any way for that matter) and, as much as I tend to agree with Ives’ take on things especially, I’m just the kind of person who has to see for himself. As such, I’ll wait till the general conversation turns to players I have seen, or until the future gives me some time to put faces and talents to the many, many names Carrick and Galarcep throw around. Here goes:

Buzz Carrick
Day One Report
Day Two Report

Soccer by Ives
Day One “Off-Field” (e.g. stuff he’s hearing)
Day One Scouting
Day Two “Off-Field”
Day Two Scouting
Monday Morning Wrap threw out a couple posts as well, but, they take the form of profile pieces often as not (see: Julian Valentin and El-Hadj Cisse) which dulls my enthusiasm a bit. Still, they turned out a pair of regular reports as well (LINK and LINK).

Finally, a couple pundits offered up “big picture” pieces for this Superdraft week, both of them worth the read and a think afterwards. Ian Plenderleith explored the dark, miserly side of MLS on his way to posing the question of why any young man would want to sign with MLS on a developmental deal; like the rest of us, he hopes for better things, knowing all the while that the relevant parties won’t budge till 2009 at the soonest. The other piece, this one by’s Kyle McCarthy, looks at the surprisingly complicated process by which MLS coaches and GMs scout college prospects and set up the combine. It’s more readable than you think…trust me.

So…that’s that. I think I’m going to watch the Superdraft this Friday for the first time in my life. No, scratch that. Barring an emergency, I’m committing myself to watching the Superdraft. I can’t say the event interests me all that much – part of the reason I’ve never so much as considered it in the past – but I may as well see what it’s all about, right?