The 2010 MLS Draft is just three weeks away and after all the success of the 2010 MLS Draft class, fans across the country are more anxious than ever to see just what treats this year's draft might have for their team.
The 2010 draft might not boast as many pro-ready standouts as last year's draft, but the upcoming draft might actually boast more depth at multiple positions. MLS looks poised to land most, if not all, of its top Generation adidas targets (though we decide to exlude Oregon State striker Danny Mwanga from the first Mock Draft since he's the draft pool standout looking least likely to sign with MLS).
So who is the top pick? It look like it would be Wake Forest standout defender Ike Opara, but with Philadelphia Union loading up on defensive players, we see Peter Nowak going for an attacking player.
Now, here is our first 2010 MLS Mock Draft:
SBI 2010 MLS Mock Draft
1. Philadelphia Union- TEAL BUNBURY, F, Akron
Ike Opara is regarded by many as the top prospect, but with Philly already boasting Danny Califf and Shavar Thomas (and the club linked to a Colombian defender), the Union will go with Bunbury, the top forward in the draft. Philadelphia could also deal the pick to the teams that covet Opara.
2. New York Red Bulls- IKE OPARA, D, Wake Forest
The Red Bulls' defense was awful at times in 2009 and doesn't boast a single shutdown defender. Enter Opara, who some regarded as good enough to be a Top Three pick in 2009. He had shaky moments in the Under-20 World Cup, but Opara is a top-notch defender who should be able to step in and start from year one.
3. San Jose Earthquakes- TONY TCHANI, M, Virginia
The Earthquakes under Frank Yallop are notorious for not being big fans of the draft, but if they keep this pick it will be a tough call between Tchani and Corben Bone. Having lost Darren Huckerby (and Shea Salinas), Bone might be the better pick, but Tchani is a central midfield beast who could probably step in and start for San Jose.
4. Kansas City Wizards- CORBEN BONE, M, Wake Forest
The Wizards' most pressing need is help at forward, and Danny Mwanga would be an ideal pick here if he signed with MLS, but with a talent like Bone still on the board Kansas City will pounce on the dangerous playmaker.
5. FC Dallas- TONI STAHL, M, UConn
The word around MLS circles is that FC Dallas is looking to package these two picks to move up (with Opara making sense as a target). Dallas has enough young players, and Generation adidas players at that, so look for Schellas Hyndman to take the most MLS-ready players available. Stahl is a solid defensive midfielder who is as mature as any player in the draft.
6. FC Dallas- ANDRE AKPAN, F, Harvard
Dallas-area fans will be happy to see the hometown product returning to Texas, but Akpan is more than just a homer pick. He's arguably the best forward in the pool, and could be this draft's Chris Pontius.
7. D.C. United- ANDREW WIEDEMAN, F, California
D.C. United would love to land Tchani or Stahl here, and could be tempted to grab UCLA freshman Amobi Okugo to help address the losses of Ben Olsen and Andrew Jacobson, but will instead look to strike gold at forward again with a West Coast forward just as it did with Pontius last year. Wiedeman is a polished forward who could step in and earn minutes on a D.C. team expected to lose Luciano Emilio.
8. Columbus Crew- AMOBI OKUGO, M, UCLA
The Crew boast enough talent to take a chance on some younger players and perhaps no teenager in the draft is drawing as many raves as Okugo, a central midfielder mature beyond his 18 years.
9. New England Revolution- ZACH LOYD, M, North Carolina
The Revs always do well in the draft because they take proven and mature players. Enter Loyd, a player who could step in and replace Jeff Larentowicz if he leaves this winter as expected. Loyd can play defensive midfielder, but also proved this year that he can slide into a central defense role if needed.
10. Chivas USA- LUIS GIL, M, U.S. Under-17
The Goats don't have any glaring needs, though Jonathan Bornstein's potential departure could hurth Chivas USA in the back. Martin Vasquez can take a chance on a long-term prospect in Gil, who has the ability to potentially be the best player this draft produces. Only 16, he's technically gifted and someone who could develop into a franchise player under the right guidance.
11. Seattle Sounders- DILLY DUKA, M, U.S. Under-20
The Sounders are another team that doesn't have any glaringly obvious needs, so Sigi Schmid can go with the best available player here. Duka is a player who could step in and provide some depth at multiple spots in midfield, though he might need a year on the pro level to mature before he makes a real impact.
12. Columbus Crew- BLAIR GAVIN, M, Akron
Gavin might not seem like the right pick for the Crew after having landed Okugo, but Columbus will be hard-pressed to pass on another talented young midfielder who could provide depth (or trade bait). Columbus could go for Jack McInerney here as well.
13. Chicago Fire- OFORI SARKODIE, D, Indiana
The Fire enter the draft with several needs as a load of departures have depleted a once-deep roster. With Gonzalo Segares leaving and Brandon Prideaux retired, fullback is a need position and Sarkodie is regarded by many as the best fullback in the draft.
14. New York Red Bulls- AUSTIN DA LUZ, M, Wake Forest
Red Bulls fans won't be happy to see Duka go to Seattle, but Da Luz offers a nice consolation prize. He showed in the College Cup semifinals that he can play left wing very well and his creativity there could lead to good minutes right away. Now, if New York can succeed in bringing back Dave Van Den Bergh, you could see the Red Bulls take a player like Jack McInerney here.
15. Los Angeles Galaxy- ZACH SCHILAWSKI, F, Wake Forest
The Galaxy's recent infusion of Brazilians is expected to provide a boost of depth, but it didn't address potential needs up top. Schilawski was a standout for Wake Forest and is the type of dynamic player who could benefit greatly from playing alongside Landon Donovan and David Beckham.
16. Real Salt Lake-JACK McINERNEY, F, U.S. Under-17
The champions head into 2010 with all its key players set to return so there's not much on the need list. Adding a 17-year-old prospect as highly-regarded as McInerney makes the most sense, assuming McInerney slides this far. RSL could use a goalkeeper, but taking one here would be a reach.
17. Philadelphia Union- KYLE NAKAZAWA, M, UCLA
The Union look for more attacking talent and find one in Nakazawa, who was a standout on the 2005 U.S. Under-17 World Cup team coached by Philly assistant John Hackworth.
18. New York Red Bulls-KWAME WATSON-SIRIBOE, D, UConn
Red Bulls already landed Opara, but you can't have too many central defender prospects and Watson-Siriboe gives New York the two best in the draft.
19. San Jose Earthquakes- PHIL EDGINGTON, D, Louisville
San Jose's defense was a mess in 2009, and while Frank Yallop will be counting the days until Jason Hernandez returns, he will do well to grab Edgington, a 6-foot-3 centerback from New Zealand.
20. Kansas City Wizards-SEAN JOHNSON, GK, Central Florida
The Wizards grab the best talent on the board in Johnson, the most highly-rated goalkeeper in the pool and a potential replacement for Kevin Hartman.
21. FC Dallas-ROSS LaBAUEX, M, Virginia
Yes, Dallas already scored Stahl in the first round, but LaBauex is actually a prospect at multiple positions, including right back, where his impressive athleticism could help him be an impact player.
22. Colorado Rapids-MICHAEL STEPHENS, M, UCLA
The Rapids won't mind landing Stephens here. A year ago Stephens was nearly a Generation adidas signing and someone who was considered a first-round talent. This year, Stephens has been lost in the shadow of all the underclassmen and could wind up slipping this far.
23. Colorado Rapids-RYAN PETERMAN, D, San Diego
After losing starting left back Jordan Harvey in the expansion draft, the Rapids grab the best left back on the board in Peterman (though hometown boy Nick Cardenas might be hard to pass up).
24. Toronto FC-NICK CARDENAS, D, San Diego State
Anyone who watched TFC late in the year knows they need help in the back, and 6-foot-5 Nick Cardenas is the best defender on the board.
25. New England Revolution-JOVAN BUBONJA, GK, Illinois-Chicago
The Revs always find a way to make out on draft day, don't they? After losing back-up goalkeeper Brad Knighton in the expansion draft, New England enters this draft needing to find a new one. How do they? They only land a goalkeeper who some scouts thought might be a first-round pick if he left school a year ago.
26. Chivas USA-CARLOS VILLA, F, Hartford
The Goats have plenty of forwards on the roster, but should unload some of them this winter. Villa is a Gutamalan youth national team player who could be a second-round steal.
27. Seattle Sounders-COLLEN WARNER, M, Portland
If the Sounders are hoping to find some attacking talent late, it could do worse than Warner, a dynamic midfielder who has the speed to move up top as well. The question is whether he will play himself into a higher position on draft boards at the Combine.
28. San Jose Earthquakes-CHRIS SCHULER, D, Creighton
The Earthquakes continue their defensive makeover by grabbing Schuler, a tough defender who some consider better than Edgington.
29. Chicago Fire-DREW YATES, F/M, Maryland
While Sarkodie helps offset the fullback losses, Yates could become Chicago's answer for the loss of Chris Rolfe. Though not as fast as Rolfe, Yates is a quick and versatile attacker who can play up top as well as on the wing.
30. San Jose Earthquakes-RONNIE BOUEMBOUE, F, North Carolina State
The Earthquakes could use some speed up to as well as depth on the wing. Enter Bouemboue, a fast forward who might project better as an MLS winger.
31.New York Red Bulls-SETH SINOVIC, D, Creighton
The Red Bulls will look to help address their left back needs by grabbing Sinovic, a highly-regarded prospect who nearly came out in the 2009 draft.
32.Real Salt Lake- BRIAN PERK, GK, UCLA
The champs traded back-up goalkeeper Chris Seitz to Philly, but land a quality prospect in Perk, who is cut from the Nick Rimando mold as a quick and aggressive shot-stopper (who also happens to come from goalkeeper factory UCLA).
We will post our next Mock Draft next week, and Version 3.0 the day before the MLS Combine. The final Mock Draft will post the day before the 2010 MLS Draft.
What do you think of these picks? Like the players your team ended up with? Any pick you particularly love or hate?
Share your thoughts below.