With Chivas USA holding the second overall pick in next week's 2013 MLS SuperDraft, I thought it would be useful to look through the past number two picks in the draft. The following table shows the #2 overall selection from the MLS College Draft (1996-1999) and then the MLS SuperDraft (2000-present). So, how have the second picks shaken out over the years?
|1996||D.C. United||Eddie Pope||No||Played 1996-2007 with D.C., MetroStars, and Real Salt Lake; U.S. International, 4-time MLS best selection, MLS Defender of the Year (1997)|
|1997||Tampa Bay Mutiny||Mike Fisher||No||Never played professionally|
|1998||Chicago Fire||Richie Kotschau||No||Played 1998-2008 for five teams (Chicago, Tampa Bay, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, RSL); 1 U.S. cap|
|1999||Miami Fusion||Jay Heaps||No||Played 1999-2009 for Miami and New England Revolution; 4 U.S. caps; 1999 Rookie of the Year; currently coach of Revs|
|2000||Kansas City Wizards||Nick Garcia||No||Played 2000-10 for KC, San Jose Earthquakes, and Toronto FC; 6 U.S. caps|
|2001||Tampa Bay Mutiny||Ali Curtis||No||Played 2001-04 for Tampa, D.C. United and Dallas Burn|
|2002||New England Revolution||Taylor Twellman||No||Played 2001-10 for Revs; U.S. international; MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner (2005), 4-time MLS Best XI selection|
|2003||MetroStars||Ricardo Clark||No||Played 2003-09, 2012-present in MLS for MetroStars, Earthquakes, and Houston Dynamo; Also played professionally in Germany and Norway; U.S. international; MLS Best XI selection (2006)|
|2004||Columbus Crew||Chad Marshall||Yes (Project-40)||Played 2004-present with Crew; U.S. international; 2-time MLS Defender of the Year (2008, 2009), 2-time MLS Best XI selection|
|2005||Chivas USA||Brad Guzan||Yes||Played 2005-08 with Chivas USA; Playing for Aston Villa 2008-present; U.S. international; MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (2007), MLS Best XI selection (2007)|
|2006||Real Salt Lake||Mehdi Ballouchy||No||Played 2006-present in MLS for RSL, Colorado Rapids, New York Red Bulls, and San Jose|
|2007||Chicago Fire||Bakary Soumare||Yes||Played 2007-09, 2012-present in MLS for Chicago and Philadelphia Union; Also played professionally in France and Germany; Malian international; MLS Best XI selection (2008)|
|2008||FC Dallas||Brek Shea||Yes||Played 2008-present for FCD; U.S. international|
|2009||Toronto FC||Sam Cronin||No||Played 2009-present for TFC and San Jose; 2 U.S. caps|
|2010||New York Red Bulls||Tony Tchani||Yes||Played 2010-present for Red Bulls, Toronto and Columbus|
|2011||Portland Timbers||Darlington Nagbe||Yes||Played 2011-present for Portland|
|2012||Vancouver Whitecaps||Darren Mattocks||Yes||Played 2012-present for Vancouver; 2 Jamaica caps|
Let's recap. All but one of the selections have played in MLS. Most of them have played exclusively in MLS (so far, anyway, for those still active), with three spending some time abroad (two of those players, Clark and Soumare, have since returned to MLS after playing in Europe). 12 of 17 players have gotten senior international caps (the vast majority have been Americans).
Of the six selections to play and then retire, Pope and Twellman have to be considered the class of the group. Both received multiple caps, Pope was a fixture on the national team and an integral member of some very successful United teams, while Twellman was an MVP whose career might still be going if it wasn't for concussions. Meanwhile, Heaps had a solid career, if maybe not as bright as Twellman's or Pope's, and he is the only one currently working as a head coach. Kotschau and Garcia had long careers, but they, along with Curtis, didn't hit the heights their teams were likely hoping for.
Among the players still active, it is hard to make definitive evaluations of their careers, especially the newest draftees. Still, with the possible exception of Tchani, who so far has certainly not lived up to the second overall selection, all of the players have had decent careers so far. I think Clark, Marshall, and Guzan have been the brightest players in the mix, with Shea also showing signs of brilliance (as well as enduring a terrible season after a brilliant season). Soumare started his MLS career out well, although going to Europe and injuries in 2012 slowed him down substantially. Cronin and Ballouchy are solid MLS pros, but may have been drafted a bit high relative to their talents. And Nagbe and Mattocks have loads of potential, but it is far too early to make a definitive evaluation of their careers at this point.
Above all, the second spot comes with risk, like any draft pick, and teams can't assume they will pick a star just because they are in that spot. The track record in MLS is quite good over the years, but there are some players whose stars were dimmer than others. Still, if Chivas can find a player of the caliber of Guzan, the only other time they had the second pick, the club should be going in the right direction.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!