So what will the 2010 MLS Draft be remembered for?
Will it be remembered for the fans from Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C. converging on the Philadelphia Convention Center? Or will it be remembered for the plethora of young talents who helped make this draft one of the most promising in recent years? Hopefully for Zach Schilawski (pictured), the draft won't be remembered for him forgetting which team he was drafted by.
The 2010 MLS Draft will definitely be remembered for Philadelphia's truly impressive haul, but it could also be remembered for the number of teams that passed on playmaker Corben Bone (much like the 2009 draft should be remembered for the number of teams that passed on Stefan Frei).
Here is a closer look at the draft, including some thoughts, projections, and great picks and terrible picks:
Let's start with FC Dallas, which made the interesting decision to sell a first-round pick. You can understand FCD not needing two first-round picks considering how young the team's roster already is, but selling a high pick for what sources tell me was a $150,000 allocation seemed like a waste. Let's remember this deal four or five years from now, when Amobi Okugo is moving to Europe for a seven-figure transfer.
No draft pick left observers more perplexed than the Columbus Crew's selection of Notre Dame striker Bright Dike. How low was his stock in the eyes of other teams? Officials for three teams told me they thought Dike would go in the fourth round, if at all. So why did the Crew reach so badly? Columbus can use a holding forward and the Crew liked Dike's strength and ability to hold the ball (they apparently had no issues with the awful finishing that had turned scouts off even before the MLS Combine).
On to the good picks. Here is our Top Five 2010 draftees most likely to move to Europe on a big transfer in the coming years:
1. Tony Tchani
2. Amobi Okugo
3. Ike Opara
4. Danny Mwanga
5. Teal Bunbury
Wondering which picks were the best and worst of each round? Here is a rundown of the picks that left me impressed and surprised:
Best Pick– Corben Bone, Chicago Fire. Top five talent slides to the Fire, who can use his creativity.
Worst Pick– Bright Dike, Columbus Crew. The Crew reach badly for a player who, at best, was projected as a third-rounder.
Sleeper pick– Collen Warner, Real Salt Lake. Could wind up being the best value as Warner will challenge for the starting right wing job.
Best Pick– Toni Stahl, Philadelphia Union. A first-round talent, Stahl could wind up being first Union draft pick to become regular starter.
Worst Pick– Steven Beitashour, San Jose Earthquakes. A 30th pick is already pretty late, but there was little reason to believe San Jose couldn't have landed Beitashour later in the draft.
Sleeper Pick– Zac Boggs, South Florida. Has bounced around at three schools but his story is an impressive one and he could just be Steve Nicol's latest draft gem.
Best Pick– Chris Schuler, Real Salt Lake. A big centerback who moves well, Schuler could wind up playing more than expected if the rumors linking Jamison Olave to River Plate are true (and yes, we know, they're probably not).
Worst Pick– Kevin Tangney, Chivas USA. Made a great recovery from multiple knee surgeries to play his last season at Maryland, but looked very slow at the Combine and will struggle to make this team.
Sleeper Pick– Andrew Hoxie, San Jose. Combine standout is a good passer and moves well for his size. Could he wind up being what the Earthquakes were hoping Cam Weaver would be?
Best Pick– Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire. Johnson is a project, but has more upside than the rest of the players left in the fourth round. He'll be an MLS starter in three years with the right coaching.
Sleeper Pick– Irving Garcia, New York Red Bulls. Super skillful and dangerously quick, Garcia will be fun to watch if he can handle the physicality of MLS.
So what did we think of the RSL-LA trade that sent Clint Mathis to the Galaxy? It was a classy gesture by Real Salt Lake to let Mathis head to LA to close out his career where it began. In the process, RSL was able to land the player in the draft best equipped to challenge for a starting right midfield roll in Collen Warner. The Galaxy added UCLA midfielder Michael Stephens to Mathis for a nice upgrade in midfield.
And the New England-New York trade for Chris Albright? The Red Bulls had more draft picks than they needed (seven) and was able to unload two of them for a player in Albright who could wind up being very helpful at right back if he can get healthy.
Some other bests and worsts:
Worst Speech mistake: Zach Schilawski thanking the Columbus Crew for drafting him, before realizing it was the New England Revolution that actually took him.
Worst-planned trip: D.C. United sent a bus full of fans to Philadelphia for the draft, but traded away the one pick the club had in the first three rounds (No. 7 overall) before the draft. Trip wasn't a complete waste. D.C. fans got the chance to heckle Philly and Red Bulls fans.
Best Speech: Trying to think of one that stood out, but nobody could deliver a speech like Richard Jata did last year.
Best attempt to win over new fans: Red Bulls draft pick Tony Tchani doing the Jersey Fist Pump as happy Red Bulls fans looked on.
Best attempt to attract a player back to a team: Houston drafting Euan Holden, brother of free agent midfielder Stuart Holden, who looks destined to leave the Dynamo for England. Could Houston lure Holden back with the temptation of being able to play on the same team as his younger brother? It was worth a fourth-round pick for Houston to find out.
Worst use of a draft pick timeout: The Crew were picking at No. 12 and called a timeout, leading many to believe they were ready to trade the pick to a team coveting Corben Bone. Rather than deal the pick or take Bone, Columbus took Bright Dike.
What did you think of the 2010 MLS Draft? Happy with your team's picks? Surprised to see certain players slide? Who did you see having the best and worst drafts?
Share your thoughts on these observations, as well as your own, in the comments section below.