On January 17, 2013, all 19 MLS clubs will get together at 9am PST to choose players among the top collegiate prospects. The Super Draft is two rounds and the order is set based on how the teams finished the season (including post season) with wooden spoon winning Toronto getting the first pick and MLS Cup winning LA Galaxy get the last pick. Teams can trade their picks with other teams which is how the San Jose Earthquakes ended up with two picks in the second round, the first of those two picks coming from Sporting Kansas City in trade for Ike Opara.
In order to prepare for this occasion, a group of SBN writers, one from each of the 19 teams, got together on Sunday, January 13th and hosted their own mock draft. I was selected to represent the San Jose Earthquakes and here are the three picks that I chose on behalf of the team.
The San Jose Earthquakes currently find themselves in need of a centerback or two with Ty Harden who was picked up in the re-entry draft still yet to sign a contract. This leaves the Quakes with only Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez and left back Justin Morrow able to man the middle. With suspension and injury prone Bernardez having to also miss time due to International duty for Honduras; a solid centerback to help with regular MLS league matches, CONCACAF Champions League games, and US Open Cup qualifying is a must for the Earthquakes. Therefore with the 15th overall pick, the San Jose Earthquakes picked West Virginia University's Eric Schoenle. Schoenle is a 6'2" tall, technical central defender who has been described by scouts as: "A beast of a centerback and one of the best players in the air in the country." He is an asset offensively and defensively, especially on set pieces, and can provide depth at a spot that Ike Opara vacated.
With the 33rd overall pick, the Quakes chose New Mexico's Devon Sandoval. MLS Soccer's Simon Borg and Matt Doyle have declared that Sandoval aspires to be the next Steven Lenhart. So it would only be fitting that someone who declares that his style is that "I tend to body up people, hold up the ball and bring people into the game" would join the team that thrives on that style of play. Sandoval has the ability to finish with both feet, and per various scouts: "holds the ball, gets shots off in tight spaces, wins headers ... Physically extremely, extremely strong... Clever with a good first touch and nose for goal" The Earthquakes chose Sandoval because they play better and win more games when a big target forward is the field. However with Alan Gordon being injury prone and Steven Lenhart being suspension prone, it would be good to have a third option to draw defenders away from Chris Wondolowski and allow him to do what he does best, score goals.
Finally, the Quakes go searching for their true number 10 (missing since Geovanni left in 2010) and hope to find it with their 34th pick in San Diego's Danchrisandre (Dan) Delgado. Delgado has been called by scouts "a very, very gifted soccer player. Very technical and very intelligent ... No one like him style-wise in the SuperDraft. A unique type of player." His left foot has been declared lethal and he knows how to read the game and hold possession. He has a great work rate which Frank Yallop looks for in his players. He would be a great compliment to the midfield during the jam packed season where he could fill in for Rafael Baca if needed. He is currently rehabing a right Quad injury and thus wasn't able to partake in the Combine.
So we have to wait another couple of days to see if John Doyle and Frank Yallop decide to follow my lead and draft these three players. But no matter what, the field is strong and the Quakes are sure to find some more gems in the Super Draft like they did in 2008 with Shea Salinas, in 2010 with Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour and in 2012 with Sam Garza.