Once again, with the 2013 MLS SuperDraft right around the corner, we need to look at more of the players who will be learning their professional clubs for this season very soon. For most of these guys, you’ve read a bit about them through my or others' reports since the beginning of the college season. While I will discuss a little bit of what they can bring to the table, I’ll also let you know how they did the first day of the combine. Keep in mind that much of what I’m writing about the Combine is coming from MLS highlight reels and match updates from those who are there as MLS unfortunately decided not to stream the matches this year.
Carlos Alvarez – The attacking midfielder out of UCONN took a little bit to get going, but showed off his skill in the second half of his combine game. With an assist and a goal, Alvarez demonstrated his ability offensively. However, he has been said to have good defensive skills as well. He seems to be the most all-around player of the senior signings, and should go high in the draft. On a Chivas USA note, there is talk that he could be our pick due to his ethnicity (Mexican-American), but also his "ties" to the club – he is from East LA, and his father used to play for Chivas Guadalajara. These reasons aside, I think he would be a great asset to the team on the field.
Kyle Bekker – The Boston College and Canadian Youth National Team midfielder has often been compared to Dax McCarty and Nick DeLeon in his on-field ability. He is a good passer, and covers great amounts of the field in his attempts to create chances. Many say that his best position for the pros is on the flank, but he can also play in the middle of the field. He was instrumental in Canada’s wins at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament last March. His biggest knock is his maturity, as there may be some growing to do there.
John Stertzer – The Maryland midfielder started off the goal scoring at the Combine yesterday with a great shot from just inside the top of the box. From all reports, he was the best player in the first half of the game. He was active in play, created chances, and of course scored the first goal. Many have said he’d flourish in a midfield like that of Sporting Kansas City’s. However, there are questions as to whether he has the pace and athleticism to really make a mark in MLS.
Ryan Finley – Finley ended his college season ranked second in the nation for goals scored with 21, and many of them came with him starting on the bench for Notre Dame. He’s a two-footed striker that makes great runs into the box. His biggest knock is his inability to link up with others on the field well. Additionally, as he didn’t start many games, there is a question as to how long it will take him to develop into a professional. Nonetheless, he has the skill and ability to do well.
Dillon Powers – Powers was another player who scored a goal on the first day of the Combine (and a great one at that). The attacking midfielder out of Notre Dame scored a bit of a cracker on the first day and really showed off his ability to produce offense. However, there are two major questions when it comes to how he will play at the next level. First, he doesn’t have the pace to be a winger or a pure attacking midfielder in MLS. While he is a good passer and has the vision to create plays, he doesn’t make runs into the box and stays back. Secondly, he lacks a lot of defensive skill that will be necessary for his position. Some say he could be converted into a defensive midfielder, but, obviously, will need to develop a more defensive-minded style of play before this happens.
Anyone that catches your eye? Who would you like to have on your team? Let us know in the comments below!