Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Draft Wishes

On the eve of the draft, I've been reading through all the material out there on the potential players to be selected in the First Round. I've also been thinking about Real Salt Lake's needs, which may be filled through the draft or other means.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Team Needs
  • Forward: preferably left-sided, experienced and with great finishing ability. Will likely play opposite of Yura Movsisyan, so it could be a holding forward, an opportunistic player or a crafty all-out striker (Juan Pablo Anghel would work nicely!)
  • Midfielder (attacking player): again preferably left-sided. Could be a true winger (indicating a new approach in 2009 with Rio Tinto now open) or could be a 2-way player in the mold of Beckerman, Will Johnson.
  • D-mid: if the reports come to fruition about Dema leaving for another gig, then what was at one point a strength of this team could become a weakness. With Sturgis gone Beckerman would be the default d-mid, with Russell in the mix as well, but if Ian Joy departs Russell may be called upon for duty on the backline.
Draft Approach

Having indicated the needs, now throw them all out the window, because they will have little impact on the draft. More important is putting a good, young player in the pipeline and fortunately RSL is already doing well in that regard. So here is a positional analysis of the young players already in the RSL fold:
  • Goalkeeper: Seitz. Possibly the most talented young keeper in the league. No needs here.
  • Center Back: David Horst. Very raw still. Good physical skills. Still learning the game.
  • Fullback: Tony Beltran. Talented. Could see good action during 2009.
  • Holding midfielder: Brennan Tennelle. To be honest, I haven't seen alot of positives yet, but he's still young. Can play outside back in a pinch.
  • Attacking midfielder: Alex Nimo. Small, but with great skill. This kid could develop, but he still has alot of work to do.
  • Outside midfielder: Kevin Reiman. Smallish player with good skill, a decent shot, and mediocre pace.
  • Striker: Yura Movsisyan, Robbie Findley, Tino Nunez. Good group of young strikers. Possibly a strength of the future of the team.
So with that said, what does the team "need" the most in the draft to enhance their pool of young talent. I would say the top three are (in order): Defensive mid, Center back, Outside midfielder. I believe that Garth will have this in the back of his mind as they make their selection, but overall ability will likely be the main consideration.

My Draft Wishes

Here are my top players that I would like to see RSL take tomorrow. I have exluded Omar Gonzales, Stefan Frei, Sam Cronin and Steve Zakuani because I believe there is some consensus that those will be the top 4 picks, and I don't see RSL making the move up to one of those spots.
  • Rodney Wallace (D-Maryland): everyone has fallen in love with Kevin Alston who appears to be a more polished player, but Wallace appears to have more upside. Plus a left back would be an asset to have in the youth pool. GA status is a plus. Poor performance at combine helps the chances that he could be available at #12.
  • Danny Cruz (M-UNLV): a couple of mock's have RSL picking Cruz. The youngest player in the draft, with a ton of upside. GA status would help allow him to develop without "costing" the team.
  • Jeremy Hall (M-Maryland): Again a poor performance at the combine could help his availability at #12. Great pace and wide play. GA status.
  • O'Brian White (F-UConn): would likely have been top 5 without the ACL injury. At his young age recover shouldn't be questioned. He, Mike Grella and Zakuani are the only two forwards who seem to be worthy of a #12 pick, but Grella may or may not sign with the league.
  • Mike Grella (F-Duke): a longshot, unless Kreis and co. know through their Duke connections that if picked by RSL he would likely sign with the league and stay stateside.
What are your thoughts?