MLS Mock Draft: Chivas USA select Enrique Cardenas with No. 20 pick

Big West Conference (Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35805630@N07/6140894837/in/photolist-amDG6c)

There's reason to believe that the UC Irvine product can be a contributor almost right away.

Chivas USA have holes all over the field, with the exception of goalkeeper, so at the top of the second round, they'll be looking to get an MLS-ready player from any outfield position. As a result, we select midfielder Enrique Cardenas, out of UC Irvine.

The senior, from Coachella, California, is familiar to Chivas USA as is a native of the region and played college ball nearby. Though he is not at the top of the draft board, Cardenas can come to the team and compete for a spot on the squad, something that will likely not be too hard given the number of players to be added in the preseason on the team. With Chivas' scoring woes in 2012 and 2013, Cardenas was able to contribute goals and assists in college and could prove to be a steal should he slot into the Goats' system (whatever that may end up being).

Cardenas was Big West Conference Midfielder of the Year his senior season, and was named to Top Drawer Soccer's 2013 National Best XI second team. He has been invited to the MLS Combine, which could go a long way in determining if he will be available in the second round for Chivas.

And assuming he hasn't been offered a contract heading into the draft, that will likely appeal to Chivas, meaning Cardenas will need to impress in the preseason in order to earn a contract. This gives the team flexibility in deciding whether or not he will make the grade in MLS, at least this year.

Who the experts say (your team) will pick: So far, Cardenas and UC Irvine teammate Marco Franco (defender) appear to be in pole position. I was all set to take Franco, but he was taken prior to the second round.

Why I'm invariably wrong: The biggest question is who will be making this decision. Though Chivas' personnel decisions in 2013 appeared to hone in on Mexican American players, such as lone 2013 SuperDraft selection Carlos Alvarez, it is unclear if race will play a part, if the team will opt for local players, or if the team's new coach, if appointed in time, will have any input in making the selection. Based on that, and the place of their first SuperDraft selection, predicting what they will do is a complete crapshoot.

Why I'm smarter than the pundits: I actually watch Chivas (to be fair, it must be hard to watch all of the college players and MLS all the time).

Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
1. D.C. United Black and Red United Patrick Mullins
2. Philadelphia Union Brotherly Game Steve Neumann
3. Vancouver Whitecaps 86 Forever Andre Blake
4. Columbus Crew Massive Report Steve Birnbaum
5. FC Dallas Big D Soccer Christian Dean
6. Union Brotherly Game Marlon Hairston
7. Whitecaps 86 Forever Damion Lowe
8. Chicago Fire Hot Time In Old Town Grant Van De Casteele
9. San Jose Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Eric Miller
10. Montreal Impact Mount Royal Soccer A.J Corrado
11. Colorado Rapids Burgundy Wave Schillo Tshuma
12. New England Revolution The Bent Musket JJ Koval
13. Seattle Sounders Sounder at Heart Aodhan Quinn
14. LA Galaxy LAG Confidential Fifi Baiden
15. Toronto FC Waking the Red AJ Cochran
16. Houston Dynamo Dynamo Theory Mamadou Diouf
17. Portland Timbers Stumptown Footy Reinaldo Brenes
18. Real Salt Lake RSL Soapbox Ben Sweat
19. Revolution The Bent Musket Marco Franco

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
20. Chivas USA The Goat Parade Enrique Cardenas
21. Sounders Sounder at Heart Taylor Peay
22. New York Red Bulls Once a Metro Pete Caringi
23. Crew Massive Report Pedro Ribeiro
24. Toronto FC Waking the Red Joey Dillon
25. Union Brotherly Game Jared Watts
26. Timbers Stumptown Footy Kevin Cope
27. Union Brotherly Game Kyle Venter
28. Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Mackenzie Pridham
29. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Jimmy Ockford
30. Whitecaps 86 Forever Nikita Kotlov
31. Revolution The Bent Musket Victor Chavez
32. Dynamo Dynamo Theory Kristopher Tyrpak
33. Rapids Burgundy Wave Rafael Diaz
34. Red bulls Once a Metro Alex Martinez
35. Rapids Burgundy Wave Zach Bolden
36. Timbers Stumptown Footy Mark Sherrod
37. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Michael Calderon
38. Sporting Kansas City The Daily Wiz

Romena Bowie
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