We got a little over a half an hour briefing this afternoon from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and technical director Chris Henderson about the MLS SuperDraft coming up Thursday.
I'll try to share more specifics later, but here's what I took away as the notable items:
Sigi said this class isn't as top heavy as some recent ones ... that is, maybe not as many top-level talents, but deeper in terms of the next-level group of players.
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Asked directly about drafting a keeper and letting him sit for a year behind Kasey Keller, Henderson said keepers on the radar, but added that the club believes Keller is still among the best in the league and Terry Boss a solid backup. Henderson said there are some decent keepers in this draft and that picking on is "part of discussion". Then I asked Sigi if he'd be comfortable starting the 2012 season with a keeper one year removed from college, and while he didn't rule anything out, he volunteered that keepers tend to develop later that field players, aging more like fine wine.
Schmid also said that defenders generally can contribute quicker than attackers, but he pointed to Steve Zakuani and Michael Fucito as examples that talented attackers can contribute quickly. His bottom line was the expected one: They'll take a good attacker over a second-tier defender.
Returning to the depth of this draft, Schmid also said “There’s some quality guys at the top of the draft that you sort of say are no-brainers who can make it for sure” followed by a pool of 20-30 players who might or might not.
Henderson said that as things will start heating up as we get toward Thursday the club is open to trades. He added that the club has a strong core but there are "some things we’d like to add." He cited the wide spots weakened by expansion losses and the need for competition at right back.
Schmid said that Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is "pretty much fully recovered medically." However he said that whenever a player is out six months it generally takes 2-3 months of training to catch his game again, so Hurtado's "best soccer for us will probably happen in May or June but he’s certainly somebody that we’re counting on and he’s fully recovered as far as we’re concerned."
Schmid was reluctant to discuss players who caught his eye, but he was willing to say that John Rooney "was in the top two or three foreign players (at the combine) for sure."