The MLS SuperDraft was this week and as with all drafts it had some surprises.
The Seattle Sounders FC had the first pick and they surprisingly took forward Steve Zakuani out of Akron with the first pick. The 20-year-old Zakuani led the nation with 20 goals and 27 points this season and was Soccer America’s player of the year.
Toronto FC had two of the first four picks and they used their first pick on Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin. Cronin had 10 goals and four assists his senior season.
“I didn’t come in with really any expectations, I’m just excited to be here and soak it all in,” Cronin said. “To be the second pick and going to Toronto, I couldn’t be happier.”
With the fourth pick, Toronto took Connecticut forward O’Brian White.
The problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy last season was stopping teams from scoring. They took a step towards shoring up that leaky defense when they defender Omar Gonzalez of national champion Maryland with the third pick. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Gonzalez was the most outstanding defensive player in the NCAA College Cup. Now, Gonzalez will be one of David Beckham’s teammates.
“Obviously with Beckham being there, I’m sure that I’ll learn a lot from him and from all the players there,” Gonzalez said. “I’m just really excited.”
Three Maryland players were taken in the first round, the second time it’s happened in league history and the first time one school’s had three since UCLA also had three in 2000. DC United took midfielder Rodney Wallace with the sixth pick and midfielder Jeremy Hall went to the New York Red Bulls with the 11th selection. Wake Forest had an MLS draft record six players taken.
The steal of the draft might have gone to Toronto who were shocked to see goalkeeper Stefan Frei, thought to be perhaps the most MLS-ready product at the draft, still on the board when they picked 13th.
One of the biggest surprises was that Generation Adidas player Daniel Cruz lasted until the third round. Generation Adidas players don’t count against the salary cap, making these guys highly desirable at draft time. Seven of the nine generation Adidas players in the draft were taken in the first thirteen picks.