With the college season over, preparations for the Combine and 2013 MLS SuperDraft have begun. We’ve already seen the initial list of the seniors invited to the Combine. While we wait to see which players are added to the Generation Adidas class, and which international players are invited, I will be introducing you to some of the senior combine invites that we haven’t highlighted so far. Today I bring you some names you might have seen in passing, and could be some of the stronger picks in the Draft.
Erik Hurtado – The Santa Clara forward/midfielder has a bit of an interesting back-story to the Combine. Initially believed to be signing a Home Grown contract with the Portland Timbers, MLS actually rejected their application. His youth team is now under the Timbers’ organization, and he played for their U23 team for two summers, yet the league decided against the signing. Now, he is available to everyone in the draft and said to be a 1st round pick. He is a speedy winger who has a knack for scoring goals. Many think he’s MLS ready, and can be a great offensive threat for any team.
Machael David – The UC Santa Barbara midfielder hasn’t been spoken about much this season after suffering from injury after injury. The Nigerian may also face some problems due to his status as an international player. However, that shouldn’t stop him from being drafted on January 17th. His skill set has been most compared to Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, and, barring injury, is another player considered to be MLS ready. He is someone to keep an eye on in the Combine, as his performance there will probably make or break his place in the draft.
Blake Smith – The New Mexico midfielder had one of the best assist statistics in the nation this season. Another winger in this group, Smith is known for his ability to get behind defenses and set up his teammates to score. With 13 assists on the season, Smith proved that he has what it takes to be a great playmaker. One of his biggest knocks is his defensive ability. However, I wouldn’t foresee that stopping him from being drafted in the first round.
Questions? Anyone you'd like to see highlighted here? Keep reading our Combine and Draft posts for the next month as we continue to highlight some of the guys available, and discuss who Chivas USA could select with their lone pick.