I think there are two players that warrant top pick consideration in Maryland forward Gordon Wild and Stanford defenseman Tomas Hilliard-Arce. LAFC will address some needs through their Expansion Draft, but at this point you have to go by the best player on the board rather than drafting for need when it comes to finding pieces for an expansion franchise.
The 6-1 172 lb Tomas Hilliard-Arce led Stanford to back-to-back championships. He even got Stanford a second consecutive championship after Brandon Vincent left the team. Stanford has recorded over 10 shutouts in back-to-back seasons in large part due to Tomas Hilliard-Arce. So far Stanford has 6 shutouts in 2017 if you count the regular season and preseason games.
Magic Johnson is one of the co-owners of LAFC. He's gonna want someone with a championship pedigree with the top pick. Hilliard-Arce led Stanford to back-to-back championships and got voted team captain in 2016 after Vincent left only to lead Stanford to another championship.
LAFC can stay in California and draft a local player with the kicking power, kicking accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and ability to blanket forwards with his coverage. This is a guy that can intercept passes that come his way. He's strong and durable and does not get knocked on the ground. His communication and leadership is invaluable so I feel like he's going to be the top pick in the 2018 MLS Super Draft despite being a senior.
D.C. United is in the same position as LAFC where they cannot look at need. They should just take the best player on the board. I think D.C. United will take a local player at 2 in Gordon Wild who attends Maryland.
With Wild, you are looking at a fast, flashy player that scores 15 goals or more per season. Commands double teams and triple teams which takes a lot of pressure on his teammates. I'd like to see Wild improve his decision making when passing. It's not something that can be consider a weakness though. The speed, kicking power, kicking accuracy, and the ability to garner attention from opposing defenders is there on tape which is a huge reason why scouts love Wild.
The 5-10 172 lb Gordon Wild would have gone top 5 in 2017 if he accepted a Generation Adidas offer. The Germany native chose to go back to school where he will play for Maryland once again in 2017.
Wild played for South Carolina Upstate back in 2015 where he had 15 goals as a true freshman before transferring to Maryland in 2016 where he had 14 goals, 3 assists, and 31 points in 2016. Wild is a special talent who probably will take a Generation Adidas offer in 2018 since Abu Danladi did the same thing where he turned down the chance to go top 5 in 2016 before entering the 2017 MLS Super Draft where he was selected first overall.
Gordon Wild has 5 goals in 2017. If he can impress against Michigan State's impressive defense on the Big 10 Network tomorrow, then I will have to seriously consider putting him back at 1 in my October mock draft.
Montreal uses this pick they got from the Colorado Rapids to take the best player on the board. The 6-2 185 lb Sergi Nus is a junior who does a lot well on tape and is a candidate to be a Generation Adidas player along with Gordon Wild in the 2018 MLS Super Draft. Virginia's center back is fast, intercepts passes, breaks up passes, breaks up shots, and can completely stop a forward just like Tomas Hilliard-Arce. He also neutralizes forwards and embraces contact. His defensive play pushed Stanford to double overtime. Nus has the tools to be a top 5 pick if he ends up receiving a Generation Adidas offer after helping Virginia get 11 shutouts in 2016.
Will Mejia has struggled this season. Sergi Nus has done well though and with him being a Generation Adidas prospect he will get pushed up boards if he takes a Generation Adidas offer.
The 6-2 180 lb forward had 22 goals, 5 assists, and 49 points in 20 games as a junior. Ruiz is also 3/3 on penalty kicks in 2016 plus he's led Florida Gulf Coast to a conference championship game as well as getting Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 of the 2016 College Cup where they lost to North Carolina from a penalty kick shootout. He also had the fastest hat trick in NCAA history as well last season too.
Ruiz has the vision, offensive awareness, and defensive awareness to be a fantastic decision-maker at the next level. His Soccer IQ is probably better than anyone in this class based off the tape I've seen at this point. Kicking power and kicking accuracy is there with him too. Shots low, medium, and high. I love the variety of shots that Ruiz takes. Wild is the player to take if you want explosive speed and consistent goal scoring. If you want a natural leader that can showcase confidence and be assertive around teammates you should take Albert Ruiz. Ruiz is way more accurate on his passes as well from the tape I've seen.
The Los Angeles Galaxy plan on making a striker upgrade on the offseason. Albert Ruiz hasn't played this season, but we interviewed him and he had an awesome interview. Ruiz has trained with Florida Gulf Coast again though and if he was completely healthy he'd probably be at 1 in this mock draft.
Minnesota gets the 6-2 175 lbs Patrick Bunk-Andersen who is a junior at Clemson has played left back, center back, and right back. Patrick Bunk-Andersen has a natural tendency to clear the ball and intercept passes. He's great with setting up teammates for success with short and long passes. The Clemson junior is someone that may end up getting a Generation Adidas offer which is why I have Minnesota United F.C. taking him
The defense is the one area you'd like to see an upgrade in. It doesn't need upgrades everywhere though since they got some contributors like international stars Francisco Calvo and Michael Boxall who play left back and center back. Joseph Greenspan can be effective next to Boxall when healthy, but he's taken a lot of injuries this season.
Getting Patrick Bunk-Andersen to play next to Michael Boxall allows you to put Greenspan on the bench giving you more depth at center back. Minnesota isn't ready to contend yet, but this team could be ready to put things together to make a run at an MLS Cup when their new stadium opens in 2019 if they can keep their current player in place.
The Jordan McCrary pick didn't work out. New England released the top 10 pick after one season. Outside back is still a problem for the Revolution. Luckily for them they get a player that fills a position of need as well as the best player on the board at 6 in Tim Kubel.
Tim Kubel is a defensive midfielder with excellent footwork and dribbling who grew up playing soccer in Germany most of his career. Kubel had 7 goals, 5 assists, and 19 points as a true freshman in 22 starts while being a defensive midfielder in 2014. Kubel only had 5 goals, 3 assists, and 13 points in 2015 in 19 starts. Kubel has 1 goals, 9 assists, and 11 points through 15 games on an 11-3-2 squad that ranks third in the NCAA. Kubel helped produce 9 shutouts for Louisville in 2016.
The 5-9 165 lb Tim Kubel has never missed a single start in his career. This goes back to when he was playing in Germany prior to arriving at Louisville. Despite a lack of size he plays the game with so much intensity and makes up for it with his tremendous passion and speed. Kubel probably is the most durable prospect in this class when it comes to defenders in this years group. His size will force him to convert to right back or left back on the outside, but the Revolution can make him a right back here since that's the position he's projected to play professionally.
Orlando City S.C. continues to ignore defense. The 6-2 167 lb left back is the two-time team captain for a 7-0-0 Michigan State team that hosts Maryland tonight on the Big 10 Network. Michigan State has recorded 6 shutouts this season. Fiscus is having a phenomenal season plus he's third on the Spartans in points.
New England has allowed more goals than any team in the Eastern Conference so they will double up on defense. The 6-0 170 lb Brad Centala makes sense for New England as he's anchored the back line for Michigan State at center back.
F.C. Dallas takes a striker at 9 since they need a secondary striker to compliment their star forward. The best striker after Gordon Wild and Albert Ruiz is Abdou Thiam who had 11 goals as a freshman in 2015 after Cyle Larin left only to improve on that with 10 goals, 4 assists, and 24 points in 2016 after having 22 points in 2015. The 5-11 190 lb striker has what you want on tape. Thiam has 4 goals, 1 assist, and 9 points so far through 6 games in 2017 and is the fourth player that could be a Generation Adidas player taken in the top 9 overall.
Houston can take the best player available. I think Jon Gallagher out of Notre Dame is the top player here. Jon Gallagher had 14 goals, 7 assists, and 31 points in 2016 after having 9 goals, 3 assists, and 21 points in 2015 during his sophomore season. Gallagher already has 5 goals in 2017 just like Gordon Wild so he rounds out our top 10.
Montreal uses this pick they to get the top defender on the board. The 5-9 188 lb Cory Brown is versatile enough to play left back or right back in the MLS. He's also the best overall player on the board at 11. Brown plays left back at Xavier.