KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 11: Who will join the ranks of the drafted tomorrow? (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Normally, doing a preview for something called a Supplemental Draft would be complete overkill. It could still be true, but I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a preview since Chivas USA will be heavily involved in the proceedings tomorrow. Unlike last week's SuperDraft, the Supplemental Draft will not be televised, there will not be hopeful draftees dressed awkwardly in suits waiting to hear their names, no photos with coach and general manager. Instead, the proceedings will take place via conference call and perhaps players will find out via twitter or whatever like everybody else.
As I mentioned, Chivas are going to be busy tomorrow, because they have stockpiled a bunch of picks for this draft. Altogether, they have five selections: 5th overall in the first round, and 5th (24th overall), 9th (28th overall), 11th (30th overall) and 18th (37th overall) in the second round. With five of the first 38 selections, Chivas could potentially find a player or two who might really contribute to the squad.An important point to remember is that the SuperDraft was cut from three to two rounds this year (it had been four rounds before that). So although the draft class this year was considered weaker than other years, these five selections are the equivalent of third and fourth round SuperDraft selections in the past. Again, there are a lot of players taken that late who never get a contract or are quickly out of MLS, but value will be available. My article on this concerning the SuperDraft from January 7 is still relevant to the Supplemental Draft. Ben Zemanski was a third-round SuperDraft selection, while Jonathan Bornstein was selected in the fourth round. Can the current regime find more key guys this year?
As for players available for the draft, the pool consists of those who were not selected to the SuperDraft, including some guys who performed in the recent MLS Combine who weren't picked. None of the international players invited to the Combine were taken, so they're available. Here are those players:
1. Jason Banton, M, England (Liverpool) - you may recall that he trialed with Chivas in 2011.
2. Emiliano Bonfigli, M, Argentina (Manta FC, Ecuador)
3. Giener Garcia, D, Mexico (Cruz Azul)
4. Yuri Gorentzvaig, F, Brazil (Corinthians)
5. Aldo Paniagua, M, Paraguay (General Caballero)
6. Benjamin Ubierna, M, Peru (Universidad San Martin)
7. Kohei Yamada, M, Japan (Thespa Kusatsu)
I've heard mixed reports about most of these guys, but Paniagua and Yamada seemed to come out of the Combine the best. They are both midfielders, so I'm not sure Chivas would necessarily go out and select more midfielders. Also, there's a risk in the past that an international player is not necessarily better than a guy who has gone through the U.S. college system, and that may be why teams stayed away from them. Still, I expect several, if not all of these guys to be taken leaguewide tomorrow.
Among the college guys, there are still a decent number of good players available. I won't repeat the rankings that Avi Creditor has over at Soccer By Ives today, but take a look, as that gives you an indication of what teams may be coming into tomorrow's draft have ballpark-wise for their own rankings.
The two top players from the NCAA College Cup runner-up, UNC-Charlotte, are still available: Evan James is a forward/winger from Canada who has been inconsistent but shows a lot of skill, and Charles Rodriguez is a center back from Tennessee who needs to work on his ball skills but was an All-American in 2011.
There is still a contingent from UCLA that Chivas' staff may be familiar with: English defensive midfielder Andy Rose is among them, and he leads Creditor's rankings. Defensive midfielders are not particularly glamorous, so maybe he slipped because of that. Also available is defender Shawn Singh, who went to the Combine but did not really set himself apart, so it's unclear how teams are valuing him. Finally, midfielder Eder Arreola is available. The pre-SuperDraft assessments of Arreola were all over the place, so it's not clear if he can hang in MLS or not. He reportedly trained with Club Tijuana recently, so I guess if MLS doesn't work out, he can try Mexico. He was in the U.S. Soccer youth residency program, so he evidently has some talent.
Other top players available and mentioned by resident draft guru Rachna Kapur include a group of defenders, including R.J. Allen (Monmouth), Mykell Bates (Santa Clara), Justin Chavez (Tulsa), and James Kiffe (UCSB). Most of those guys went to smaller schools, so perhaps that affected their draft stock? Rachna also rates a couple of forwards, Evans Frimpong (Delaware) and Brian Ownby (Virginia). Will any of these guys find a place in MLS? We'll see if they get a first chance starting tomorrow.
Bear in mind there will be a handful of guys taken tomorrow that few people besides their mothers will know, and we all know that Chivas have been known to throw some curveballs in their history, so they may pick an unknown or two. Still, I'm assuming the fans won't care, so long as the selections lead to good players