Update, Jan. 9: Well, so much for that. LAFC announced the day after this went live that they traded away the No. 16 pick to FC Cincinnati in a fairly puzzling deal.
It’s that time of the year again, when SB Nation convenes an annual MLS mock draft. The 2019 edition is in the books, ahead of Friday’s first two rounds, for real, in Chicago.
With the 16th overall pick in the 2019 MLS mock draft, Angels on Parade selected Pacific defender Wouter Verstraaten for Los Angeles Football Club.
Verstraaten, 22, is a native of the Netherlands who spent time at PSV Eindhoven’s youth system, and made his pro debut in 2015, playing just 31 minutes over two games. Moving stateside, he played NCAA soccer at the University of the Pacific, the same program that LAFC’s 2018 draft pick Tristan Blackmon hailed from. In 2018, Verstraaten was a second-team All-American. Last summer, he played PDL soccer for the Portland Timbers U-23s.
- LAFC need a center back, and productive defenders can still be found in the draft. This position is unquestionably LAFC’s biggest need, so it makes sense that everyone is targeting that in their mock drafts.
- Word on the street is that Verstraaten is capable of playing the ball, which Bob Bradley would doubtlessly like.
- The club has already scouted University of the Pacific, with Blackmon, so they’ve had time to evaluate him
Why wouldn’t this pick make sense? Most notably, Verstraaten would require an international roster slot. So if he made the team, LAFC would need to have a slot for him. Remember, last year they had about three too many players for their international slots, all season. And two of their roster slots were traded to them as rentals in 2018, so they’ll have to make more deals or make some changes regarding their international roster slot situation.
We’ll see what happens. But given our turn to play GM for a moment, we went with Wouter Verstraaten at No. 16 in the SB Nation mock draft. We’ll have to see what LAFC does with the real thing on Friday.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!