2018 MLS mock draft: LAFC takes Hilliard-Arce at No. 1
The 2018 MLS SuperDraft is almost here, as the best and brightest collegiate stars prepare for the leap to the pros following a week of showcasing their skills. Here's how we see Friday's selections going down, barring any trades:
1. Los Angeles FC: Tomas Hilliard-Arce (Stanford), DF
The consensus No. 1 pick is a 6-foot-1 center-back who led his team to three national championships, all while scoring and recording assists from the backline. Hilliard-Arce will fit right in at expansion side LAFC.
2. LA Galaxy: Francis Atuahene (Michigan), FW
A product of the "Right to Dream" organization, this 21-year-old Ghana-born attacker produced 24 goals in 49 matches with Michigan, and offers the LA Galaxy versatility across the frontline - all while on a Generation Adidas deal.
3. D.C. United: Mason Toye (Indiana), FW
D.C. United doesn't have international slots to spare on Akron's Joao Moutinho or Wake Forest's Jon Bakero, so a domestic striker like Toye is the best choice. The 19-year-old Generation Adidas talent had 10 goals in his freshman season with Indiana.
4. Montreal Impact: Joao Moutinho (Akron), DF
Besides sharing a name with Portugal's Joao Moutinho, this Akron center-back has turned heads with three goals and five assists from defense. He honed his skills at the Sporting Lisbon academy and has a Generation Adidas deal.
5. Minnesota United: Chris Mueller (Wisconsin), MF
Among the more exciting prospects in the draft, this 21-year-old from Wisconsin became the first player to record 20 assists in a season in more than a decade. A string-pulling midfielder is exactly who Minnesota United needs.
6. Orlando City: Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), MF
Another product of the "Right to Dream" organization, Twumasi is a right winger who notched 16 goals in 47 appearances at Wake Forest. He's not the fastest winger, but he's smart on the ball and has a Generation Adidas deal.
7. Montreal Impact: Tristan Blackmon (Pacific), DF
The Impact could use some reinforcements at right-back and there's no finer option than Blackmon. At 6-foot-1, the 21-year-old has impressed due to his attacking instincts and determination out wide on the overlap.
8. New England Revolution: Jon Bakero (Wake Forest), FW
Born in Barcelona and coached by the legendary Johan Cruyff, this Wake Forest attacker is among the most intriguing prospects available. Sixteen goals in 23 matches during his senior year tell the story of a confident striker.
9. New England Revolution: Mo Adams (Syracuse), MF
Adams is an English sophomore who captained Syracuse in 2017. Since New England is thin at defensive midfield, he'd provide a quick and potentially long-term fix, with a Generation Adidas contract to boot.
10. Real Salt Lake: Jon Gallagher (Notre Dame), FW
One must wonder if Maryland's Gordon Wild would be a top-10 pick if he'd performed better over the last year, but Real Salt Lake's best option is now Gallagher, whose 13 goals in 2017 built on an impressive 14-goal tally from 2016.
11. FC Dallas: Justin Fiddes (Washington), DF
FC Dallas needs a centre-back, but most of the ready-made options will likely be gone by the time pick No. 11 comes around. As such, Dallas would do well to reinforce another backline position, which Fiddes does at left-back.
12. San Jose Earthquakes: Danny Musovski (UNLV), FW
13. Sporting Kansas City: Gordon Wild (Maryland), FW
There may be doubts surrounding Wild, but the German-born striker has the benefit of a Generation Adidas contract, which should at least afford him the chance to silence his doubters. Sporting Kansas City is thin up top, after all.
14. Atlanta United: Wyatt Omsberg (Dartmouth), DF
International roster spots are at a premium for Atlanta United, so a talent like this 6-foot-4 defender would be an interesting choice for Tata Martino's side. Omsberg's stock rose considerably due to a strong combine.
15. Chicago Fire: Ken Krolicki (Michigan State), MF
The Chicago Fire boast two excellent midfielders in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty, who could help develop a young player in a similar position. Enter Krolicki, who brings four years of playing time at Michigan State.
16. NY Red Bulls: Brian White (Duke), FW
Having traded away Sacha Kljestan and after losing both Gonzalo Veron and Mike Grella, the New York Red Bulls are thin in attack and could use some depth. White played for the Red Bulls' Under-23 team, and can offer just that.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps: Rafael Andrade Santos (VCU), MF
Another year has come and gone, and the Vancouver Whitecaps are once again thin up top. There's not much attacking talent left here, but Santos might be interesting. The Brazilian is versatile and notched 12 goals at VCU in 2017.
18. Sporting Kansas City: Chris Lema (Georgetown), MF
This late in the order, Sporting KC is really drafting for its USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers, which is probably where a player like former NY Red Bulls Academy man Lema can thrive before making the jump to MLS.
19. New York City FC: Edward Opoku (Virginia), FW
This New York native was a late addition to the Generation Adidas class of 2018, but the 20-year-old Virginia striker brings attacking flair out of Ghana. He's another product of the "Right to Dream" organization, too.
20. Houston Dynamo: Alan Winn (North Carolina), FW/MF
This versatile winger/forward makes sense for the Houston Dynamo, a team that loves its wingers. But nothing is guaranteed this late in the draft, so a season at Rio Grande Valley is probably in the cards.
21. Columbus Crew: Albert Ruiz (Florida Gulf Coast), FW
Should the Columbus Crew lose Ola Kamara to the LA Galaxy, they will need immediate goal-scoring help, which Spain-born Ruiz can provide. The 22-year-old Barcelona native had 22 goals in 20 matches in 2016.
22. Seattle Sounders: Alex Roldan (Seattle), MF
This late in the first round, the Seattle Sounders are unlikely to find someone who can slot into the first team, but keeping your current players happy is a smart bit of business, so why not draft Cristian Roldan's brother, Alex?
23. Toronto FC: Oliver Shannon (Clemson), MF
Toronto FC has a handful of open international spots and could use one on Shannon. The Liverpool-born defensive midfielder could learn a thing or two by playing and training alongside Michael Bradley.