2011 MLS SuperDraft first round mock draft

The experts at MLSsoccer.com offer up their predictions

The 2011 MLS SuperDraft is just a day away (Jan. 13, 12 pm ET; ESPN2), and our experts have differing views on who's headed where and which teams and players will make the biggest splash.

With the MLS Combine done and dusted, senior content producer Simon Borg, director of video Jason Saghini, and NCAA and D.C. United beat writer Travis Clark present their mock drafts for the first round.

Pick
Team
Simon Borg
Jason Saghini
Travis Clark
1
“

Perry Kitchen (M/D)

Akron/GA

Best overall player in the SuperDraft with highest upside and great potential for future international value. A natural-born leader who has makeup to shape club culture in mold of a Roy Keane.

Darlington Nagbe (F)

Akron/GA

There's not a lot MLS-ready attacking talent coming through the draft this year, so Vancouver will want to snatch Nagbe ahead of Portland. Nagbe offers Vancouver a dynamic attacker that can play from day one.

Perry Kitchen (M/D)

Akron/GA

Midfield enforcer is a piece for the Whitecaps to build toward a bright future. Dominates the ball, solid passing and leadership abilities far beyond his years.

2
“

Darlington Nagbe (F)

Akron/GA

The Timbers have to take the unanimous attacking star in this SuperDraft, who has the package of skills, creativity and athleticism that can prove a complement to a forward like Kenny Cooper.

Perry Kitchen (M/D)

Akron/GA

Portland can't go wrong with Kitchen or Nagbe here. Kitchen will be a future leader of the team and there's usually less
risk with players on the defensive side of the ball.

Darlington Nagbe (F)

Akron/GA

Portland has added a couple of attacking pieces, and will improve that when Nagbe slips into their lap at the second pick.

3 “

Will Bruin (F)

Indiana/GA

A club that has had a lightweight presence up top in recent years needs the youth and power of Will Bruin, who has the physique to be a starter right away. He will be the next Conor Casey, except with a greater burst over short distance.

Will Bruin (F)

Indiana/GA

All signs point to Will Bruin unless one of the top 2 somehow drops to this slot. DC need a big body up top and Bruin's GA status and imposing size give him the edge over Estupinan.

Will Bruin (F)

Indiana/GA

While Bruin is still a bit raw in certain areas, he is a huge body that can contribute up front at some point this season for a team that needs some goals.

4 “

Kofi Sarkodie (D)

Akron/GA

The club will come across its share of central defenders but with a chance to significantly upgrade the right back position, the team should take the attack-minded Sarkodie, who won’t count against the club’s budget.

Kofi Sarkodie (D)

Akron/GA

Sarkodie has the attacking part of the game down and will be dangerous going forward from the start. The knock on him is his overall defense, but if there was a perfect teacher for him, it's his new coach Robin Fraser.

Kofi Sarkodie (D)

Akron/GA

Jonathan Bornstein has taken off for Mexico and Sarkodie will soften the blow by slotting in on the backline.

5 “

Jalil Anibaba (D)

North Carolina

The ex-Tar Heel has the physical attributes to succeed and can learn the center back position alongside Danny Califf, helping make up for the lack of speed of the veteran captain.

Jalil Anibaba (D)

North Carolina

Anibaba is ready to contribute right away and can help Philly solidify a defense that was shaky for most of 2010. His athleticism and maturity make him a perfect partner for Danny Califf from day 1.

Corey Hertzog (F)

Penn State/GA

Philadelphia add an attacking option up front to complement other young talent like Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney.

6 “

Victor Estupiñan (F)

Liga de Quito

The Revolution had a poor 2010 at the forward department and have struggled to find an heir for Taylor Twellman. The young Ecuadorean will quickly endear himself to Steve Nicol with smart runs and the strength to hold up the ball.

A.J. Soares (D)

Cal

Nicol would rather see Anibaba available here but isn't losing too much in AJ Soares. Soares is a solid pick-up for a defense that needs help after last season.

Jalil Anibaba (D)

North Carolina

In need of defensive help, Steve Nicol can grab one of the most MLS-ready players early on in the draft.

7 “

Joao Plata M/F

Liga de Quito

Dominic Kinnear likes his speedy players down the wing and the Ecuadorean’s acquisition might allow Brad Davis to move inside. Plata can also prove to be a potential partner for Brian Ching up top.        

Joao Plata M/F

Liga de Quito

Houston need a spark to their offense after last season and Plata may very well be lighter fluid. His ability to combine with and play off of Brian Ching could make Houston a team to reckon with in '11.

Omar Salgado (F)

US U20s/GA

While a very raw prospect, Salgado can toughen up and hone his game alongside U.S. international Brian Ching.

8

“

Curtis Ushedo (D)

Alabama-Birmingham

The expansion Whitecaps continue to establish the spine of their club with the big and speedy Ushedo, who is a Canada U-23 international and has the chance to be his country’s version of Oguchi Onyewu.

Bobby Warshaw (D/M)

Stanford

This biggest riser from Day 1 of the Combine to Day 3, Warshaw showed everything a coach could ask for. He makes a perfect fit for Vancouver, especially if they pass on Kitchen.

Zarek Valentin (D)

Akron/GA

The versatile defender sees himself as more of a right back, but could also be refined as a left sided player that gives the Whitecaps more defensive options.

9 “

Michael Tetteh (D)

UCSB/GA

Left back was a disaster for the Fire in 2010 and although not perfectly refined at the position, Tetteh’s athleticism, speed and his GA status makes him a must-have.

Victor Estupiñan (F)

Liga de Quito

The Fire need to replenish a forward core that is down to its bare bones. Estupinan did everything but score a goal at the Combine, but I think he can be a double-digit scorer in MLS.

A.J. Soares (D)

Cal

With holes all over the field, Chicago add a player who can compete for playing time in his first season by grabbing the Cal defender.

10 “

Eddie Ababio (D)

North Carolina

After the departure of Jimmy Conrad, the club will address its back line with the best athlete after Anibaba and Ushedo. Ababio came on strong in the final two matches of the Combine, showing he can man the middle as well as usual right back spot.

Daniel Keat (M)

Dartmouth

Maybe the surprise of the first round, Keat has the resume to be here. The Kiwi is a box to box midfielder that can help right away in KC's system.

Michael Tetteh (D)

UCSB/GA

This athletic wide player can fit in nicely in the 4-3-3 attacking system in either as a midfielder or in a defensive role. Peter Vermes can shape him and coach him in the attacking aspect of their unique system.

11
“

Levi Houapeu (M/F)

Maryland-Baltimore County

Although Houapeu did not have the best Combine and rarely showed the breakaway speed that he is known for, he is the best winger available and can become a good pro under Sigi Schmid’s tutelage.

Paolo Cardozo (M)

Quilmes-ARG

Most people have Seattle pegged for GK Zac MacMath here, but it's likely that he'll still be around when they pick next. Cordozo impressed many at the Combine and Sigi can find a place for his attacking qualities on his side.

Anthony Ampaipitakwong (M)

Akron

Despite suffering through a disappointing combine, Ampaipitakwong gives Sigi Schmid a significant lift in midfield creativity.

12 “

Zarek Valentin (D)

Akron/GA

The Crew will assign Valentin the duty of replacing Frankie Hejduk at right back, giving the team the financial flexibility to seek out a big name replacement for Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Cole Grossman (M)

Duke

With Brian Carroll shipped off to Philly and Adam Moffatt taken in the expansion draft, CLB needs to find some central midfielders who can step in right away and Grossman is one of them.

Michael Nanchoff (M)

Akron/GA

The Crew have a number of areas they could address with this pick, and going with Nanchoff improves depth on the left wing.

13
“

A.J. Soares (D)

California

The Red Bulls take the next best defender available to them in the SuperDraft to give them depth. Soares is two-footed enough to play to the right of Tim Ream.

Michael Boxall (M)

UCSB

This pick could easily be Zarek Valentin, but there are other right back options that could suit NY in round 2. With limited availability at CB, they have to take one while they can.

Michael Farfan (M)

North Carolina

In need of a creative and wide option from the midfield, Farfan is one of the better players available at this spot. Could make a move for a defender as well.

14 “

Paolo Cardozo (M)

Quilmes-ARG

RSL had a chance to scout the Argentine on his home soil and his many years in the River Plate (Argentina) and Peñarol (Uruguay) systems could prove a strong asset for the club in its quest for CONCACAF Champions League glory.

Michael Tetteh (D)

UCSB/GA

Boxall's teammate from UCSB is a perfect fit for RSL. He has GA status, can offer depth at left back, and also offers a nice change of pace from Wingert if a situation calls for it.

Victor Estupiñan (F)

Liga de Quito

The departure of Robbie Findley makes forward depth a slightly pressing need, one of the few positions for Salt Lake that can use a player with Estupinan’s quality. Still something of an unknown, the Ecuadorian will offer Jason Kreis an attacking option off the bench.

15
“

Michael Nanchoff (M)

Akron/GA

One of the least talked about GA players did not see a minute of action due to a groin injury in Fort Lauderdale but the left-footed Nanchoff will add youth and quality without impacting the budget.

Michael Farfan (M)

North Carolina

If John Doyle and Frank Yallop have done their homework, they'll know not to read too much into Farfan's Combine performance. His creativity in attack will help Wondolowski keep up his scoring ways.

Justin Meram (F)

Michigan

A quick and strong striker with impressive finishing ability, Meram would form a nice partnership with Chris Wondolowski up top in San Jose.

16 “

Bobby Warshaw (D/M)

Stanford

Without Dema Kovalenko, Bruce Arena is looking for a replacement at holding mid and will go with the charismatic Warshaw, who can also earn a spot at center back.

Corey Hertzog (F)

Penn State/GA

With a void in central midfield likely to be filled by a veteran, LA pass on Stephen McCarthy and fill another need with a forward that hold GA status.

CJ Sapong (F)

James Madison

One of the best athletes in the draft, Sapong can help fill in for the departed Tristan Bowen and gives Bruce Arena a fast attacking option from off the bench.

17
“

Stephen McCarthy (D/M)

North Carolina

Daniel Hernandez’s health is not what it once was and the holding midfielder will have an automatic replacement in McCarthy. The local Dallas product can also fill in at center back, where FCD was forced to improvise in 2010.

Stephen McCarthy (D/M)

North Carolina

Dallas don't have a lot of immediate needs, but they won't want to miss the opportunity to pick up a hometown product who gives them some depth where they could use it.

Stephen McCarthy (D/M)

North Carolina

FC Dallas’ Academy has been impressive in helping stock the team with young talent, but they did lose a key player in Dax McCarty. McCarthy is a local who offers depth in the center of the park in case Eric Alexander or Daniel Hernandez get injured.

18 “

Greg King (D)

Connecticut  

The Australian fills a valuable position at left back and brings a rare mix of international experience as a rookie. Manager Gary Smith will use this pick to push Anthony Wallace.

CJ Sapong (F)

James Madison

Colorado have said they need more options up top. Sapong is a perfect understudy to Conor Casey who is unlikely to appear in all of the 40+ games the Rapids will play.

Michael Boxall (D)

UCSB

A tenacious defender who failed to stand out at the combine, Boxall improves the depth of Colorado’s backline.

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