The Year Seattle Invented the SuperDraft
Posted on January 15, 2014 8:11 am
Just when I – and, more than likely, you – thought this five-year draft review schtick was completely tired and played-out, we come across one of the more interesting drafts in league history. At least two teams can point to this draft as the direct cause of future championships. At least two other teams can point to this draft as being completely irrelevant to future championships, too.
There are also a couple of big what-ifs in this draft, too. Basically, the 2009 SuperDraft is one of the very few in MLS history that changed the course of the league – well, for good as well as for ill.
There was a new team in the league this year. They would go on to become fairly non-descript and anonymous.
Seattle: Steve Zakuani, Evan Brown, Jared Karkas, Mike Fucito. Obviously, “What if Mullan’s tackle had missed?” is the big question. We’ll simply never know what Zakuani’s ceiling would have been. He’s trying to make a comeback with one of Seattle’s sister teams in the Pacific Northwest, but he’s not going to be the player he could have been. Zakuani overshadows what was otherwise a very non-descript draft from Sigi. No grade
Toronto: Sam Cronin, O’Brian White, Stefan Frei, Mike Grella, Kyle Hall. The first three of these picks were first-rounders. Cronin was taken with what was San Jose’s first round pick – they gave up Ronnie O’Brien for him. I had forgotten O’Brien ever played for San Jose. Frei was taken with the pick they got from Chicago for Brian McBride (along with Chad Barrett). So this could have been a really good day for Toronto. I’ll give it a B. Problem was, if the Toronto brain trust had been on Wheel of Fortune, and the clue was “Large Cities In Ontario That Have CFL Teams That Aren’t Hamilton Or Ottawa,” and the board was showing TORO_TO, they still would have bought A, E, I and U as vowels, then spun and gone bankrupt. Another problem this day was that Toronto also had traded a second round pick for the rights to Amado Guevara. That pick ended up being A.J. DeLaGarza. Speaking of whom….
Los Angeles: Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Joshua Boateng, Kyle Patterson. Bruce Arena’s first Galaxy draft. I think he did okay. A+++, and this may not even have been the best group of the day.
Dallas: Peri Marosevic, George John, Brian Shriver. They also traded a couple of picks to Colorado for the rights to Bruno Guarda, something which by now I believe FCD would like to call takesies-backsies on, and which turns an A into a B.
DC United: Rodney Wallace, Chris Pontius, Milos Kocic, Lyle Adams, Brandon Barklage. Wallace was eventually traded for Dax McCarty. This was a pretty darn good draft, especially by MLS standards. A- Looks like smooth sailing for DC United down the OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED
Kansas City: Matt Besler, Doug DeMartin, Graham Zusi, Neal Kitson, Akeem Priestley. The hilarious thing here was that DeMartin and Zusi were consecutive picks, and DeMartin was chosen first. So no team would be able to punish Kansas City for this particular scouting faux pas. A+++ So, who would you rather have, these guys or the Galaxy’s picks?
Chivas USA: Michael Lahoud, Kyle Christensen. Lahoud would end up being a brightish spot on some awful teams, but he wasn’t the reason CUSA became what they are today. I think he might have a good comeback year for Philadelphia…which doesn’t help CUSA at this point, of course. C
New England: Kevin Alston, Ryan Maxwell, Andrei Gotsmanov, Denalden Hamzagic, Chris Salvaggione, Darrius Barnes, Tyrel Lacey. Five out of seven guys who ended up playing zero minutes in MLS, and the other two are still on the team. By MLS standards, that’s a great draft. The what-if here is Alston, the former all-star who is trying to come back from leukemia. You have to give an A based on what Alston has done for the team so far, and a higher grade just for the attempted comeback.
New York: Jeremy Hall, Babjide Ogunbiyi, Jack Traynor, Nick Zimmerman. Hall is still in the league. And this draft wasn’t even in the top fifteen reasons why the Red Bulls would be historically terrible in 2009. Not a gold star effort, though. D
Salt Lake: Jean Alexandre, Raphael Cox, Mfana Futhi Bhembe. They gave up their second round pick to hire Jeff Cassar as a coach, and traded their third round pick for Yura Movsisyan. They didn’t pick again until the fourth round, where they picked twice. In one of Wikipedia’s all-time great footnotes, and one that just sums up MLS beautifully, we learn that “It is believed Real Salt Lake acquired this pick from Chivas USA in exchange for forward Atiba Harris.” In any case, how do you think RSL would do in the next five years, based on these picks? One trophy? That’s a bit generous. D
San Jose: Brad Ring, Quincy Amarikwa. They’re both still in the league. Surprised? C-
Chicago: Baggio Husidic, David Sias, Jokull Elisabetarson, Richard Jata. Husidic had one good season before the Fire booted him in 2012. The rest played no MLS minutes. Not the worst draft of the day, amazingly. D-
Colorado: Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe, Stewart Ceus, Ross Schunk, Jordan Seabrook, Henry Kalungi, Michael Holody. The most significant achievement of this group: “Most recently, Michael served as a groomsman in the Daniel Holody-Whitney Sherman wedding.” F- So, based on this draft, how far away would you say the Rapids were at this point from winning a trophy? Fifty years? A hundred? ONE?!
Columbus: Bryan Kanu, Alex Grendi, Chris Clements. Might be part of the reason the Crew began a gentle decline starting this season. F
Houston: Danny Cruz, Marcus Tracy. Various trades also brought them Bobby Boswell and Kei Kamara. Kinnear didn’t pick until the third round, so you couldn’t expect much here. Cruz would end up being valued by DC United at 1.0 Pajoys, which I think is just cruel. Tracy went to Denmark, and a weighted lottery later made him an Earthquake. His services are now available to your professional soccer team. The Dynamo, as you might have noticed, recovered from this disappointing draft fairly adequately, although more adequate drafts might have made their trophy case heavier, so there you go. C
This was a huge day in MLS history, but if people noticed it, it was to see how Sigi drafted with his new team. The Wizards (they were still the Wizards) were still playing in a baseball park. The Galaxy were about to undergo the Milan-Beckham dramabomb, and had no idea they had effectively doubled their MLS Cup total through scouting and drafting American players. Salt Lake and Colorado would bring titles to the Rockies despite, not due to, the Superdraft. It might be time to rethink how we look at some of our teams.
What will happen tomorrow? Two or three teams will draft guys out of the phone book and pay the price, two or three teams will draft no one of consequence and win lots of games, and two or three teams will secure championships down the road. Most of the guys, though, will barely rate Wikipedia entries – even if Jordan Older is your standard.