Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sporting Address Needs in SuperDraft

With four picks in the first two rounds of today's MLS SuperDraft, Sporting KC had plenty of opportunity to address some needs for the team heading into the 2015 season. With all four of the picks KC was able to address needs on the wing, at wing back and in the defensive midfield position. They were also able to get three of the four players that they wanted in the draft, the fourth being Nick Besler who went to Portland with the fifth pick.

With their first pick, the 10th overall, Sporting selected Connor Hallisey, a left sided winger from the University of California. Hallisey should be able to contribute on the wing in Sporting's 4-3-3 system, and it'd allow Graham Zusi to play on the right hand side. Hallisey scored nine goals for Cal in his senior season and as a MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist. Hallisey has also spent time in the US youth system, having been capped by the US U-18 team.

With their second pick of the first round, the 12th overall, Sporting addressed their need for depth at right back, taking Akron right back Saad Abdul-Salaam. With Igor Juliao's future in KC still uncertain and Kevin Ellis un-signed, Sporting needed to move forward as if either wasn't there. Abdul-Salaam on paper looks like a good fit for KC's system. He's a big outside back that likes to get forward, a perfect combination for Peter Vermes with the way he likes to have his wingbacks get forward. With starter, Chance Myers coming off injury, Abdul-Salaam could be a candidate to get more minutes if Myers' recovery stalls.

With their third first round pick, the 20th overall, Sporting added some depth behind Seth Sinovic at left back, selecting Amadou Dia from Clemson. Dia is a midfielder/forward, but based on the Tweet Robb Heineman sent out about the pick, Sporting is going to look to turn him into an outside back. Compared to the 6'3" Abdul-Salaam, Dia is just 5'9". Like Hallisey, Dia has represented the US at the youth level, playing with the U18's and with Mikey Lopez with the U20's.

With KC's 30th pick, the team actually sent that pick to the Houston Dynamo in return for the rights to Servando Carrasco. Carrasco, the newly married husband of US women's national team forward Alex Morgan is currently out of contract, so Sporting will have to get the midfielder to agree to a new deal with SKC. Carrasco would come in and would challenge Jorge Claros and James Marcelin at the defensive midfield position for Kansas City. Over his four year MLS career with the Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo, Carrasco has played in 59 league games, starting 31 of them.

Overall I think Sporting did a good job of address their needs based on what I've read about each of KC's three draft picks and from what I've seen from Carrasco. The good news for the three draft picks is that Vermes isn't going to be pressuring them to be a starter right away. With Myers and Jalil Anibaba (along with the potential return of Ellis) at right back, Sinovic at left back, and Bernardo Anor, Krisztian Nemeth, and Jacob Peterson, Sporting should be able to bring them along at a slower pace. The Carrasco trade I like from the aspect that you get a player with MLS experience who can play in this league for a pick that more than likely won't pan out. For example in the 48 picks between the 30th pick last year and the end of the fourth round, just 10 of those players are still on MLS rosters today. Now Sporting just has to get a deal done to sign him.

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