Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Look at Sporting KC's Draft Position

MLS hosts their Superdraft tomorrow at the NSCAA convention in Los Angeles, the first two rounds of the draft will take place tomorrow with the third and fourth rounds taking place Tuesday next week via conference call. Sporting KC have two picks in the draft, one each day. Tomorrow, KC's lone pick is in the first round, the 14th overall pick. They traded their second round pick to the Houston Dynamo as part of the trade that brought Brad Davis to KC last season.

As I do every year, here are the players that have been taken each year with the 14th overall pick.

1996 - Tampa Bay - Casey Sweeney
1997 - San Jose - Jason Annichero
1998 - DC - Carey Talley
1999 - Kansas City -  John Wilson
2000 - New England - Rusty Pierce
2001 - Tampa Bay - Devin Barclay
2002 - New England - Sharlie Joseph
2003 - DC - Doug Warren
2004 - Los Angeles - Ned Grabavoy
2005 - Chivas USA - Christian Jimenez
2006 - Chicago - Jeff Curtin
2007 - Dallas - Abdus Ibrahim
2008 - Salt Lake - David Horst
2009 - Dallas - George John
2010 - New York - Austin da Luz
2011 - Chivas USA - Víctor Estupiñán
2012 - Colorado - Tony Cascio
2013 - Kansas City - Mikey Lopez
2014 - Columbus - Ben Sweat
2015 - Colorado - Axel Sjöberg
2016 - Montreal - Kyle Fisher

Twice Kansas City has had the 14th overall pick, unfortunately neither one has really worked out that well for Kansas City. Kansas City took John Wilson with the 14th pick in 1999, but Wilson didn't sign with Kansas City, instead staying in South Carolina and signing with the Charleston Battery. KC wanted him so much that they actually took him in 2000 too with the ninth pick.

KC's other time picking 14th was in 2013 when they selected Mikey Lopez. Lopez at the time looked like a good prospect, a Generation Adidas member and a fixture with the US U20 team at the time. KC's hopes were that he'd help to replace Roger Espinoza eventually at the box-to-box midfield position after the Honduran left for Wigan just a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately though Lopez's career in KC didn't turn out too well, he spent the majority of his time with Kansas City on loan to KC's affiliates Orlando City and Oklahoma City. In 2014 and 2015 Lopez was twice pushed into starting roles due to injuries, but couldn't stamp his authority on the spot. When he lost his Generation Adidas tag after the 2015 season, KC let him go where he was picked up by NYCFC where he did relatively well in 2016.

The best picks at 14 though go to a trio of players, Carey Talley in 1998 didn't have a fancy career, he's made the second most appearances in MLS without a national team cap (behind the recently retired Mike Magee), making 315 league appearances for six different teams, including a spell in Kansas City in 2003 and 2004. More recently, Axel Sjöberg has been a great addition to the Rapids since he was selected with the 14th pick in the 2015 MLS Superdraft. The Swede has made 45 appearances for Colorado over his first two seasons, and last year was named to the MLS Best XI helping Colorado to allow a league low 32 goals in 2016.

The best 14th overall pick though is an easy one, it goes to Sharlie Joseph, the New England midfielder. Making over 250 appearances for New England and close to 300 in his career, he had an outstanding career in MLS and was able to become one of the first MLS players to work their way into a Designated Player contract in 2012. Unfortunately by then, Joseph's best days were probably behind him, but at his peak he was the best two way midfielder in MLS.

While Sporting's second pick in the Superdraft isn't until Tuesday next week, here is a look at how that pick has been over time. First here are the players taken with the 58th pick since it first appeared in 2000.

58th
2000 - Dallas - Seth Marks
2001 - New York - O'neil Peart
2002 - New England - PASS
2003 - Columbus - Jake Traeger
2004 - New England - Andy Dorman
2005 - Los Angeles - Benjamin Benditson
2006 - Chicago - Floyd Franks
2007 - New York - Randi Patterson
2008 - Toronto - Xavier Balc
2009 - Chicago - Richard Jata
2010 - Chivas USA - Chris Ross
2011 - New York - Jimmy Maurer
2012 - Montreal - Aaron Schoenfeld
2013 - Toronto - Ashton Bennett
2014 - Vancouver - Mackenzie Pridham
2015 - Vancouver - Adam Montague
2016 - Colorado - Bradley Kamdem

As you'd expect this late in the draft, there's not a lot of players who have made much of a professional career. Some like Jimmy Maurer have made a career in the US minor leagues. Others, like Aaron Schoenfeld, had minimal success in the US, scoring five goals in 51 games, but he's since moved to Israel where he's had success for Hapoel Tel Aviv. The best player taken 58th overall though is probably Andy Dorman. The Englishman played seven seasons in two different stints with the New England Revolution with stops in Scotland and England in between. In MLS, Dorman made over 150 MLS appearances for the Revolution scoring 18 goals. More than the rest of the players taken at this spot combined.

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