2011 MLS SuperDraft first round mock draft

The experts at MLSsoccer.com offer up their predictions

With the 2011 MLS SuperDraft rapidly approaching (Jan. 13, 12 pm ET; ESPN2), our experts have differing views on who's headed where and which teams and players will make the biggest splash.

As the MLS Combine gets underway in South Florida on Jan. 8, senior content producer Simon Borg, director of video Jason Saghini and NCAA and D.C. United beat writer Travis Clark present their mock drafts for the first round.

Pick
Team
Simon Borg
Jason Saghini
Travis Clark
1

Perry Kitchen
(D), Akron

Best overall player in the SuperDraft who can contribute immediately and has great upside. A safe and strong pick here.

Darlington Nagbe (F), Akron

They'll have a few CB's to pick from at 7, so attacking talent is the way to go. Nagbe is dynamic enough to play in several different areas.

Darlington Nagbe (F), Akron

Seen by many as the best attacking talent in the draft, Nagbe gives the Whitecaps an attacking centerpiece now and for the future.

2

Darlington Nagbe (F), Akron

Timbers need to start stockpiling players who can bring vision and creativity to the team’s attack. Nagbe is their man.

Joao Plata (F), Liga de Quito

Portland's true difference maker going forward is this U-20 Ecuadorian national team star.

Omar Salgado (F), US U-17

It’s difficult to project where Salgado might land, but Portland takes the US youth striker early on with one eye on the future.

3

Will Bruin (F), Indiana

DC are in need of a forward who can hit the back of the net. Bruin is a good bet as a GA with poacher potential.

Perry Kitchen (D), Akron

Kitchen's versatility combined with his GA status make him the pick here over Soares, Valentin or Sarkodie.

Perry Kitchen (D), Akron

With Portland taking Salgado, Kitchen is a versatile choice for DC, giving depth at the back and in the middle.

4

Kofi Sarkodie (D), Akron

Robin Fraser was clear he was building from the back. Sarkodie offers versatility and doesn't hurt the budget.

Omar Salgado (F), US U-17

Chivas have a lot of holes and this pick should be MacMath, Soares or Sarkodie. But it will be Salgado if he's available.

Kofi Sarkodie (D), Akron

Jonathan Bornstein has taken off for Mexico and Sarkodie will soften the blow by slotting in on the backline.

5

Joao Plata (F), Liga de Quito

Ecuadorian is said to be one of the top young players in all of South America. Could play off Danny Mwanga.

Will Bruin (F), Indiana

While not the top talent on the board, Bruin is a banger and an appealing frontline partner for Danny Mwanga.

Corey Hertzog (F), Penn State

Philadelphia adds an attacking option up front to complement other young talent like Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerny.

6

Michael Farfan (MF), UNC

A team in need of ideas in the attack is New England. Farfan would provide creativity and good athleticism.

A.J. Soares (D), Cal

Any other pick here (besides Zarek Valentin) would be a catastrophy. Count your blessings Soares is still here.

Zarek Valentin (D), Akron

New England can fill some holes in this draft, and Valentin boosts their defensive depth right away.

7

A.J. Soares (D), Cal

The Dynamo back line is in need of restructuring, and what better way than with a playmaking center back.

Michael Farfan (MF), UNC

Dominic Kinnear's faith in his two GKs is tested here, but I don't think he bites on MacMath - there are just too many other needs.

Will Bruin (F), Indiana

A physical presence up front, Bruin can learn from Brian Ching and contribute right away for the Dynamo.

8

Curtis Ushedo (DF, Alabama-Birmingham)

The Canadian defender is projected to be a future national teamer with MLS athleticism and speed.


Jalil Anibaba (D), UNC

There aren't enough "impact CBs" in the draft for VAN to wait until their next pick, otherwise I could see Sarkodie here.

Michael Tetteh (D), UCSB

The late addition of the left winger/back to the Generation adidas class opens the door for Teitur Thordarson to add another option on his back line.

9

Victor Estupiñán (FW), Liga de Quito

Without Brian McBride and Collins John, the Fire need forwards who are dangerous in the air. The Ecuadorean is both strong and skillful.

Zarek Valentin (D), Akron

CHI could use a target forward, so Estupiñán is enticing, but they desperately need help at CB. No way they can pass on Valentin.

Jalil Anibaba (D), UNC

The athletic central defender gives the Fire another option in central defense, an area where they currently lack after the retirement of CJ Brown.

10

Jalil Anibaba (D), UNC

A back line that was often exposed in 2010 will get a lift with one of the most prized center backs in the SuperDraft.

Stephen McCarthy (MF), UNC

Kansas City could really use a plug behind their vaunted attack of Kamara, Bravo and Bunbury.

A.J. Soares (D), Cal

After honing his defensive craft under Kevin Grimes, Soares will help replace Jimmy Conrad in Kansas City.

11

Levi Houapeu (MF/F), Maryland-Baltimore County)

The next coming of Dane Richards could be a good replacement for Sanna Nyassi at right wing or a late-game sub to kill off matches.

Zac MacMath (GK), Maryland

With Kasey Keller announcing just one more year in MLS and MacMath suffering a drop, it seems to be a match made in emerald heaven.

Zac MacMath (GK), Maryland

The chance to grab MacMath here gives Seattle a goalkeeper for the future and a chance to learn from Keller for at least a year.

12

Stephen McCarthy (MF), UNC

Brian Carroll and Adam Moffat used to bring grit, work rate and passing to the Crew’s center midfield. McCarthy can do it all.

Kofi Sarkodie (D), Akron

Despite signing Sebastien Miranda, CLB can't overlook one of the top prospects in the draft when he slips this far.

Michael Nanchoff (MF), Akron

The Crew have a number of areas they could address with this pick, and going with Nanchoff improves depth on the left wing.

13

Michael Nanchoff (MF), Akron

Nanchoff’s strong soccer smarts and left-footed skill will give the Red Bulls a natural option at left midfield.

Justin Meram (F), Michigan

Depth for RBNY's attack can be found with Meram, Hertzog or even the pair of Akron midfielders that remain. Meram gets the nod.

Anthony Ampaipitakwong (MF), Akron

In need of creativity in midfield, "Ampai" is a technically-gifted and versatile player willing to fill in where he is needed.

14

Michael Tetteh (D), UCSB

RSL bring up rookies slowly and Tetteh could become a back-up for Chris Wingert, who rarely got a break in 2010.

Michael Nanchoff (MF), Akron

A solid team top to bottom, RSL really just need to add to their depth. Nanchoff will suite them just fine.

Ashley McInnes (MF), Tulsa

McInnes is reminiscent of current RSL midfielder Will Johnson and provides a creative, attacking option from the wing or up front.

15
Zarek Valentin (D), Akron

Chris Leitch is almost 32 and the Quakes may need insurance at right back. With a GA salary that does not count against he budget, he makes sense.

Anthony Ampaipitakwong (MF), Akron

Bobby Warshaw may be tempting, but the team's needs just don't point his way. Instead, they go with a spark in Ampaipitakwong.

Justin Meram (F), Michigan

A quick and strong striker with impressive finishing ability, Meram would form a nice partnership with Chris Wondolowski up top in San Jose.

16

Bobby Warshaw (D/MF), Stanford)

Bruce Arena is looking for an upgrade on Dema Kovalenko and Chris Birchall. Warshaw could fit the bill with a personality that will jibe with The Bruce.

Corey Hertzog (F), Penn State

LA could use extra legs up front, but more importantly, they'll need salary relief, and with the Penn State Gen adidas product available, Hertzog gives them both.

CJ Sapong (F), James Madison

One of the best athletes in the draft, Sapong can help fill in for the departed Tristan Bowen and gives Bruce Arena a fast attacking option from off the bench.

17

Justin Meram (F), Michigan

FC Dallas are hurting for forward options, and with service from MLS MVP David Ferreira, Meram may be able to replicate his college feats in MLS.

Cole Grossman (MF), Duke

FCD don't need much, but  Grossman is a mid who adds to FCD's wealth of talent and can play several positions off the bench.

Stephen McCarthy (MF), UNC

McCarthy is a local who offers depth in the center of the park in case Eric Alexander or Daniel Hernandez get injured.

18

Daniel Keat (MF), Dartmouth

Gary Smith won’t make too many changes to his championship side. Keat could be the option off the bench to bring ideas and energy on days the team’s not clicking in attack.

Matheus Braga (MF), Penn State

At this point in the draft, the Rapids are just looking for players to fill roles, and Braga might be the perfect player to throw on the field late in a game when you need a goal.

Michael Boxall (D), UCSB

With Julien Baudet off to Seattle, the 2010 MLS Cup champions can nab the Kiwi central defender to improve the depth in central defense. Boxall is a solid pick here.