LAFC has four forwards, two goalies, and a veteran addition at center back in Walker Zimmerman from F.C. Dallas. Now LAFC gets to draft another center back who compliments Zimmerman perfectly in Tomas Hilliard-Arce allowing LAFC to have most of the pieces to contend from the get go once they fix their midfielder situation.
Stanford defenseman Tomas Hilliard-Arce is my favorite to go first overall. 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 three consecutive championships. He even got Stanford a two more championships after Brandon Vincent left the team and plans to reach out to Vincent during the 2018 MLS Draft Process. Stanford has recorded over 10 shutouts in the last three years seasons in large part due to Tomas Hilliard-Arce.
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.
I also considered Wake Forest midfielder Jon Bakero who many have as the top overall prospect. Bakero was frustrated versus Tomas Hilliard-Arce constantly in the 2015, 2016, and 2017 College Cup versus Tomas Hilliard-Arce plus Stanford knocked out Wake Forest in three consecutive years.
Plus the Los Angeles Galaxy are picking right behind LAFC and they need defense too so Tomas Hilliard-Arce remains in LAFC for this reason because Tomas Hilliard-Arce leads a defense that has 18 shutouts this year if you count the 2 shutouts to begin the season from exhibition games as well as 11 regular season shutouts in 2017, and 5 playoff shutouts in 2017. Tomas Hilliard-Arce also had 4 goals, 3 assists, and 11 points along with those 16 shutouts in both the regular season and the College Cup, and Tomas Hilliard-Arce is the clear cut number one overall prospect.
The Los Angeles Galaxy run a 1-5-4 formation. Right now their best players on offense are midfielder Romain Alessandrini who had 13 goals and 12 assists at the right wing spot at one of the Galaxy's three attacking midfielders and forward Giovani dos Santos who had 14 goals and 12 assists in 2016 before regressing with 6 goals and 3 assists in 2017 due to constant double teams as the teams main striker.
Los Angeles wants to improve and add more depth at forward, midfielder, and defense during the offseason and I honestly could see them moving this pick for Allocation money if they are sold on dos Santos and Alessandrini moving forward. Signing Jorgen Skjelvik fills one of this teams empty spots at center back. The Galaxy could bring back Free Agent A.J. DeLaGarza who is currently a Free Agent, after Los Angeles traded him to Houston for Allocation Money. That's why I don't see the Galaxy taking a center back at 2 which is why this pick will either be Mo Adams or Jon Bakero.
Mo Adams won a freshman of the year award at Syracuse in 2016. He got voted team captain as a sophomore in 2017 and is an outstanding defensive midfielder with game breaking speed and outstanding ability to cover attacking midfielders by neutralizing their scoring ability by covering ground from his own area well into the opponents attacking zone.
He may not have any points. He's a great offensive facilitator in terms of passing though and considers himself the quarterback in football or the point guard in basketball when it comes to facilitating the offense for Syracuse.
The Los Angeles Galaxy need a defensive midfielder as well as a complete makeover on the back line. Drafting Mo Adams allows the Galaxy to take the first big step towards rebuilding their defense. You can easily argue Sergi Nus here too. Replacing Jermaine Jones at defensive midfielder is one of the top priorities and I feel like the Galaxy will take Adams because of this.
I interviewed Mo Adams on the Draft Utopia podcast and it was easily one of the best interviews we had on our podcast. Mo Adams could go anywhere in the top 6 if he gets a Generation Adidas offer and plays in the 2018 MLS Combine.
D.C. United is in the same position as LAFC and the Los Angeles Galaxy where they cannot look at need and just need to take the best overall player on their board. Jon Gallagher has emerged as the top forward in the 2018 MLS Super Draft. While he's the player I'd take at 3 since I think he's a top 3 player in this draft, I'm not sure he's who D.C. United will take since they run a 1-5-4 just like the Galaxy and seem to be pleased with the progress of Patrick Mullins since Mullins had 4 goals in one half against Columbus Crew S.C. during the regular season, but only finished the year with 5 goals.
The 6-2 185 lb Sergi Nus is a great defender. He was faster than Tomas Hilliard-Arce when watching his 2016 tape. He's got 6 goals this year which is more than anyone on D.C. United. He kept Notre Dame forward Jon Gallagher in check this season and he also kept Jon Bakero in check during the 2017 ACC Championship where Wake Forest needed penalty kicks to beat Virginia. Virginia may only have 7 shutouts in 2017, but this is a guy who is a great dribbler and passer plus he helped Virginia get 11 shutouts in 2016. He's not the best with shooting power or shooting accuracy, but he makes up for that with his clutch penalty kicking since he's 4/4 on penalty kicks this season.
I'm fairly certain that Sergi Nus will be one of the five players that gets a Generation Adidas offer since he grew up in Spain like Jon Bakero and Albert Ruiz. He's also got great tape and this draft class is very thin on defense after the top players on the board so we could see defenders picked early for that exact reason.
I interviewed Sergi Nus on the Draft Utopia podcast and it was easily one of the best interviews we had on our podcast. Our interview with Nus lasted 35 minutes and it was without a doubt our longest interview to date. He mentioned how good his teammates are without me asking him. That's what separates a remarkable teammate from a great one.
Montreal uses this pick they got from the Colorado Rapids to take the best player on the board. Montreal runs a 3-3-4 with 3 forwards, 3 midfielders, and 4 defenders meaning their left winger and right winger act as secondary strikers rather than having the wingers play midfielder.
I think Jon Gallagher out of Notre Dame is the top player here and with Montreal only having two forwards they take him him 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 had 13 goals, 2 assists, and 28 points in 2017 after winning ACC player of the year in 2016 and scoring on Miles Robinson with no time left. I also considered Bakero, bug Gallagher scored on Virginia in the rematch during the 2017 ACC Tournament with them after Nus held Notre Dame in check in the first meeting. Gallagher is faster and quicker than both Gordon Wild and Albert Ruiz on tape which is why he's now my top striker. His one knock is that he may be slightly undersized at 5-9 158 lbs.
Minnesota has Christian Ramirez who led the team with 14 goals as a striker along with Abu Danladi a finalist for rookie of the year as a secondary striker. Kevin Molino led Minnesota United F.C. with 9 assists as a midfielder/forward. Minnesota needs defense and they run a 2-4-4 with a striker, secondary striker, an attacking midfielder at left wing, an attacking midfielder at right wing, two defensive midfielders, left back, right back,, and two center backs.
Tim Kubel would be the most logical option. Jon Bakero is still on the board though. An offense featuring Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi as the teams top two strikers with Kevin Molino and Jon Bakero playing attacking midfielder roles on the wing, Minnesota has all of their offensive pieces in place.
Top Draw Soccer has Bakero as their number one overall player despite struggling against Hilliard-Arce on tape the last three years. I like their rankings, but my biggest issue with these rankings is they put home grown players in the top 100. I wish they'd make a separate rankings for MLS guys and home grown players since that would be helpful.
That being said Jon Bakero is the most logical option for the Minnesota United F.C. at 5. He led Wake Forest with 16 goals, 14 assists, and 46 points in 2017 at 6-3 165 lbs. He's Wake Forest's best midfielder since Jack Harrison despite being a senior. He played midfielder in Spain growing up overseas and has played some forward at Wake Forest as well as midfielder giving him the versatility to play striker, secondary striker, left wing, right wing, central midfielder, or attacking midfielder. He projects as a midfielder in the MLS due to his consistent playmaking this season.
Orlando City S.C. continues to ignore defense. Orlando City S.C. needs any sort of defensive help they can get. Louisville defender Tim Kubel provides great value at 6.
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 had 1 goals, 9 assists, and 11 points through 15 games on an 11-3-2 squad that ranks third in the NCAA in 2016. Kubel helped produce 9 shutouts for Louisville in 2016. Kubel helped Louisville record 13 shutouts in 2017 along with 6 goals, 7 assists, and 19 points which is his best total since his freshman year.
The 5-9 165 lb Tim Kubel never missed a single start in his four year career at Louisville. This durability 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 Orlando City S.C. can make him a right back here since that's the position he's projected to play professionally.
Montreal uses this pick they to get the top defender on the board. If Kevin Politz turns down his homegrown deal with the New York Red Bulls, he's the pick here. I think Politz goes to the Red Bulls though.
If Politz goes to the Red Bulls, another defender will emerge into a top 10 prospect. The 6-1 170 lb Garret Jackson is a center back for Washington. He helped the Washington Huskies record 10 shutouts in 2017 making him an ideal fit for the Impact with this pick.
The Revolution run a 1-5-4. They need a forward. Edward Opoku could be the second Virginia player to receive a Generation Adidas offer.
The 5-7 140 lb Edward Opoku has game breaking speed that looks better than Abu Danladi's speed. He also had 8 goals, 4 assists, and 20 points and leads Virginia in goals this year. Opoku is also someone that has a strong chance to be a Generation Adidas prospect.
The 6-2 190 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. 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.
Albert Ruiz had 4 goals, 1 assist, and 9 points in 2017. He's only started 4 games and played in 9 due to injuries. I wasn't impressed with Daniel Musovski or Mauro Cichero, on tape. Alan Winn is clutch, but can fatigue at times. Gordon Wild has gone a month without a goal and Real Salt Lake feels like a team that will swing for the fences and take Albert Ruiz at 10 since they need a new striker for their 1-5-4 formation.
We interviewed Albert Ruiz on our podcast and it was easily one of the best interviews we had on our podcast. Even if Ruiz doesn't post the best stats in the regular season he could easily ace the 2018 MLS Combine and remain in the running to be a top 10 pick.
F.C. Dallas takes a striker at 11 since they need a secondary striker to compliment their star forward. The best striker on the board is Marcelo Acuna.
The 6-2 180 lb Marcelo Acuna had 11 goals, 3 assists, and 25 points in 2016 in his first year as a starter. Acuna had 12 goals, 3 assists, and 27 points in 2017. Acuna is consistent and reliable. A great dribbler with natural instincts. Acuna may be at 11 right now, but he's someone that can easily move into the top 10 if one of the underclassmen I mentioned doesn't get a Generation Adidas offer. He's capable of moving ahead of Ruiz and Opoku so keep an eye out on Acuna.