Thursday, January 13, 2011

Draft Day Rewind

Well things kind of went the way that many people kind of expected it today, plenty of people last night were predicting that Jalil Anibaba and AJ Soares would be off the board when KC picked at the 10 spot. Soares went to the Revolution at the 6 spot while Anibaba almost fell to the Wizards, but was grabbed by Chicago at the 9 spot. That left KC with plenty of other directions to go. There were really no other central defenders at that spot to take, but there were still some GA forwards (Will Bruin and Corey Hetzog) and other GA players (Michael Tetteh) available. There were also some decent seniors available as well like Justin Meram or international Victor Estupinan.

With so many of those being forwards I felt a little unimpressed with the options for the Wizards to pick, but I had started to warm to the idea of a GA forward like Bruin or Hetzog in KC. But KC went a completely different direction, grabbing James Madison University forward, CJ Sapong. Needless to say I was surprised by the selection. In the matches from the combine, Sapong hadn't been that impressive to me. I thought Sapong would have been a good selection for an early to mid second round pick. With him going at 10 I immediately flashed back to last year's MLS draft when Columbus reached and grabbed Bright Dike with their first round pick and promptly waived him during preseason. I felt Sapong fit the same mold and was fairly disappointed in the selection.

Throughout the day I've thought about it more and I do understand the selection a bit more. While I personally think that Bruin or Hetzog could have fit in the center forward position of the 4-3-3, but Sapong has the ability to potentially play more of those positions. I'm still not completely sold on the pick, but as I mentioned earlier with Soares and Anibaba off the board, there not being another sure fire defender, and no other real can't miss player in a major need position, drafting a forward for depth isn't a bad move. Still with a starting forward line that is likely to contain Ryan Smith, Omar Bravo, and Kei Kamara or Teal Bunbury, with the other being the first forward off the bench more often than not a forward was still a surprise at this spot.

As you can see I'm still really torn with this pick, I see the ability for Sapong in the Wizards 4-3-3, and understand the lack of another great prospect there, but taking a forward, one that likely would have been there later in the round or early second still doesn't sit well with me.

The rest of the draft for KC I liked, in the second round, Sporting drafted for depth, grabbing JT Murray from the University of Louisville, a left sided midfielder/defender who will look to be depth for Sporting on the left side for Roger Espinoza should the Honduran be called up for the Gold Cup. Murray was listed as a midfielder, but played as a defender for parts of this past season, including the College Cup final against Akron. I do like this pick even though I said last night I wasn't sure KC needed a left sided player, Murray is one of those low risk, high reward players if Espinoza is called up for the Gold Cup and Murray can contribute. And with Michael Harrington re-signing he can stay on the right side if Murray does in fact make the roster.

In the third round KC made another good selection, grabbing the son of Columbus coach, Robert Warzycha, Konrad Warzycha. KC has cornered the market of former MLS players sons, as they have both Teal Bunbury and now the younger Warzycha. Warzycha is a center midfielder, mainly defensive, who played some center back at the combine and could contribute there.

Overall I'm not ecstatic about the draft, I'm no where near as pleased or excited about this draft as I was last year, but I'm not crushed by it either. Overall I'd rate it as a C+, that's mainly for the Murray and Warzycha picks. I still think grabbing Sapong when we did was a bit of a stretch, and traded down and getting either another pick, allocation money, or international slot would have made me feel better about the selection of Sapong. While I'm disappointed in the lack of getting a central defender I'm not incredibly surprised. As I tweeted post draft, the lack of a central defender being selected tells me that KC has a few foreign players in line that they feel can start. This was confirmed with the fact the Robb Heineman retweeted the tweet. It was confirmed a bit again later when Heineman tweeted that KC had verbal commitments from two new international players.

Finally the biggest thing to remember about the draft is that unlike the NFL and NBA, the draft is not the main way to get talent, unlike those leagues there's a huge pool of players to pull from around the world that makes the draft not irrelevant, but less relevant than it is in those leagues.


Reepicheep said...

I don't think the Wizards 4-3-3 configuration is necessarily the best way to go as a commitment.

Vermes needs to craft a few other alignment options. It works well with Kei and Smith, neither are defensive enough to be wing halfbacks, but nevertheless, a modified 4-4-2 provides better options for most rosters in MLS.

More creativity is needed than what we witnessed last year. The 4-3-3 became fairly predictable.

MOUFWASH said...

@ Reep

our 4-3-3 is closer to a 4-4-2 than a traditional 4-3-3. Smith is withdrawn, comes back more into the midfield, and then the other 2 attacks play more of a a dual forward role. The whole idea around our 4-3-3 is high pressure early, get the ball, and attack fast. I dont think it was a matter of predictability, but just a matter of patiences when you are on the attack.

Nathan Martin said...

You can never have enough forwards.

Remember looking on the bench and the best offensive options were Birahim Diop, Graham Zusi, Chance Meyers & Jack Jewsbury. It is no slight at any of these players, but it is difficult to expect too many goals out of them.

Sapong may not be good enough to be the second option off the bench but it would be nice to have 2 legitimate strikers on the bench.

I really wonder if KC is down a goal if Vermes would have Smith, Bunbury, Kamara supported by a Bravo and Arnaud partnership. That could be really dynamic if the defense could hold.

Anonymous said...

If Will Bruin becomes a star then the wizards shit the bed again... This guy seems like Zakuani, Mwanga, even poor mans Darlington Nagbe type. A #10 is still needed, the Brazilian league produces more #10s than any other league in the world. Great interview with rob Heinemanon, about offseason signings and the new stadium. A #10 is the key though as Eastern Europe might be an inexpensive option as well, as Preki was from there. Ps. Someone keeps asking me how Cololarado won the MLS Cup without a #10, Id would say that is the exception to the rule rather than the rule. The MVP was still a #10, in Ferriara, and the pretty much every champion the past decade has won the ML cup because of a #10, from Schleotto, to Morales, to De Rosario, to Preki, you need a #10 to win, the reason the wizards havent made the playoffs the last couple of years and the lack of a #10 our no coincidence.

DAN said...

And yet Colorado won without one so that shows you don't need a number 10. You can call it the exception, but it's not. There are only 3 real #10's in this league, Donovan, Morales, and Ferriera. That leaves 15 teams without a team. Klein was not KC's 10 in 2004 he played on the wing that's a continued false premise you cling to.

As for Preki, he didn't come from Eastern Europe to the Wizards. He came from the indoor game. He may originally be from Eastern Europe, but by the time he came to MLS he'd spent more time in the indoor game.

Here's an idea if you want to keep posting about #10, give some names AND how much they'd cost, because in the past you've posted names saying they would be affordable without anything to back it up.

You have all these great ideas without any ideas of how to get there, you're an underpants gnome.