All drafts tend to have their strengths and weaknesses, as do all Major League Soccer teams.
Seattle Sounders FC believes its strengths and weaknesses tend to line up well against the class of players who will be available in the MLS SuperDraft, which begins at 9 a.m. Thursday.
“It matches our needs fine,” Sounders assistant coach and scout Kurt Schmid said Tuesday. “We try to pick the guy who we feel is the best player, but all things being equal talent-wise, yeah, we’ll pick a guy that we feel we need a little more. I think getting a young center back in would be nice. … If we could find another midfield depth right now, that would be nice as well.”
The Sounders then went out Wednesday and got younger at center back, trading Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni to Chicago for Jlil Anibaba.
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In any case, Schmid seemed hopeful Seattle's needs could be met in a draft that seems to be heavy with center backs and thin on outside defenders.
Overall, the draft project as more solid than spectacular. However, Schmid indicated it could be deep enough to accommodate the Sounders, who go into draft day with the eighth pick in the first round -- acquired Wednesday from Chicago -- and the second pick in the second round (21st overall).
“There’s fewer difference-makers than some years past, but I think you can still find guys,” he said. “And once you get past the first handful of picks or so, I think there are a lot of solid picks there, and the quality is pretty consistent for a bit.”
D.C. United has the top pick, but there seems no consensus on how it will be used. Various mock drafts have predicted Christian Dean, a defender from California; Steve Birnbaum, also a defender from Cal, or Patrick Mullins, a forward from Maryland as the top pick. Mock drafts also have indicated Sounders’ interest in Aodhan Quinn, a forward/midfielder from Akron; Tesho Akindele, a forward/midfielder from Colorado School of Mines; Kyle Venter, a defender from New Mexico, Joey Dillon, a defensive midfielder from Georgetown, Schillo Tshuma, a forward/midfielder from Maryland.
Regardless of their eventual selections, the Sounders feel they already are two picks ahead thanks to the recent signings of homegrown players Sean Okoli, a forward/midfielder from Federal Way and Wake Forest; and Aaron Kovar a midfielder from Seattle and Stanford.
“It’s hard to say where they might have been drafted, but … Sean might have gotten drafted ahead of Aaron,” Schmid said. “He’s a good prospect. We would have been happy if we would have been able to have gotten him in the draft, so we’re ecstatic to get him as a homegrown.”