The 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, Brought to you by Total MLS
Steven: Welcome all to this year’s Name-based MLS Superdraft. Unable to speak in an intelligent manner about college prospects, and far too cautious to attempt something as rash as an actual mock draft, the staff at Total MLS has decided to do a draft analysis based on the only criteria that they feel confident judging this year: How awesome their names are. I’m Steven Clark, joined by Britt Jo as we bring to you the selections from this year’s draft class. Ian and Dustyn will be on stage, presenting each selection in the first round, alternating between each pick. We are just about ready to hand it over to our two on the floor, but first, Britt, what are your thoughts on this year’s draft class?
Britt: 2017 has brought a strong list of contenders to this draft. Players such as Reagan Dunk and Douglas “Bakie” Goodman are poised to challenge the top selections, while others like Tindai Jirira and Jeremy Ebobisse are being chosen by experts to fill in the bottom 10. As for my top selection, I unapologetically support Ray Saari; Saari in his college career has performed magnificently in Tulsa, and I expect him to be selected in the early rounds.
Steven: It looks like they’re ready to get this year’s draft underway. We now send it down to Dustyn, who is on the floor with Minnesota United FC’s first pick.
Dustyn: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for attending the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, brought to you by Total MLS. And thank you viewers, who are watching at home. Minnesota United have the honors of selecting the first draftee, and they have already turned in their slip. With the first pick in the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, Minnesota United FC select: Lalas Abubakar of Dayton University.
Steven: Very strong first selection by Minnesota United. Not only does his last name bring with it a strong uniqueness in MLS, but his first name conjures up memories of the legendary Alexi Lalas. We now go to Ian on the sidelines. Ian, you have word of a transaction that was conspired prior to the first selection?
Ian: Indeed. Before Minnesota United turned in their slip for Abubakar, Atlanta United FC offered a last-ditch effort to secure the top pick as well as hold their second place selection as well. It has been reported that Atlanta offered their 2018 pick in exchange for the first choice, in which Minnesota promptly denied. No word yet on if there were other offers beyond that or whether Abubakar was even Atlanta’s desired pick.
Steven: Thank you, Ian. Britt, what is your opinion on Abubakar as the first selection?
Britt: Solid choice by Minnesota. With Ibarra and Ramirez - their Batman and Superman - recently signed earlier this month, Heath needed only a couple more pieces to shore up the framework for their inaugural year in MLS. Abubakar brings with him experience with a name that can inspire the fans with tifo displays full of opportunity, most notably that of Admiral Ackbar of the Star Wars franchise.
Steven: Thank you, Britt. We now go back to the floor with Ian, who has the second pick.
Ian: With the second pick of the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, Atlanta United FC select: Colton Storm, UNC.
Britt: Shocking pick by Atlanta United. Experts placed Storm lower in the bottom ten. One must wonder what is going through the mind of Douglas “Bakie” Goodman, given that top prospect Jamar Champion-Hinds is still available. “Bakie” was considered a top five pick, but his chances have been severely hindered with this most recent selection.
Steven: The Chicago Fire have quickly turned their slip in. We now go back to the floor.
Dustyn: With the third pick in the Name-based Superdraft, Chicago Fire select, from FC Nordsjaelland in Norway, Soheib Dhaflaoui.
Steven: Souheib Dhafloo...Daflow...Dhaflaawwhie goes third! After last year’s disappointing performance, dropping both Nyarko and Igboananike, the Fire were lacking in the unique name department. This selection will surely solidify their presence in the MLS Store’s “check spelling twice” list. And the Houston Dynamo are now ready to reveal their choice.
Ian: With the fourth pick, the Houston Dynamo select: Reagan Dunk from the University of Denver.
Britt: Ooh that just sent a lot of teams back to their draft boards. Not exactly a qualifying scenario for being “dunked on,” but one would assume a few teams high on the draft order has just ripped up their shortlist.
Steven: The draft moves right along, and Columbus Crew SC are now up.
Dustyn: With the fifth pick of the Name-based MLS Superdraft, Columbus Crew SC select: from Georgetown University, Douglas “Bakie” Goodman.
Steven: And there it is. “Bakie” has been selected in the top five, leaving Champion-Hinds on the outside looking in. Surely, he will be selected soon. And just like that the San Jose Earthquakes have turned in their slip for the sixth pick of this draft.
Ian: With the sixth pick of the 2017 Name-based Superdraft, San Jose Earthquakes have selected Jamar Champion-Hinds from Florida International University.
Steven: As if it was meant to be, Champion-Hinds has been selected just like that. And as we speak, the representative for the Vancouver Whitecaps has just turned in his slip, and seems overjoyed by the fact. They must have gotten who they wanted. Let’s go to the floor and find out.
Dustyn: With the seventh pick of the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, the Vancouver Whitecaps are very pleased have selected, from Clemson University, Alexander Happi.
Britt: Instead of applause, it seems that the selection has been received by boos from the Whitecaps fans who traveled for this event. Perhaps they were hoping for Joseph Saad?
Steven: Ian approaches the podium with Atlanta’s second pick of the draft. Atlanta United seemed to have gone with a more conservative choice with Colton Storm; will they be more daring with the eighth pick? Experts slated Michael DeGraffenriedt to head south in this pick. Let’s head down now to find out.
Ian: With the eighth pick of the draft, Atlanta United FC select, from North Florida, Defender Jay Bolt!
Steven: What a development! Atlanta have acquired both Bolt AND Storm. Lightning strikes twice in Atlanta!
Britt: Incredible combination from Atlanta United! You can feel the electricity in the air after such a stunning selection! No one on the floor or in the booth saw this coming, striking us all down in one fell swoop!
Steven: Frankly, this has to be the most surprising, yet most clever move of this draft.
Britt: Absolutely. As individual players, their names don’t amount to much aside from an occasional pun here and there, but partnered together, the dynamic is far more reaching and impactful. Spot-on research and scouting by the Atlanta United staff!
Steven: Moving on, Britt, what are your thoughts on Columbus’ second pick? Scouts have lauded the power of the last name DeGraffenriedt, but the possibility of Peguy Ngatcha still on the table could sway them otherwise.
Britt: Given Atlanta’s duo of players, Columbus may even shake up the draft further by attempting to combine with “Bakie,” but I just can’t see them having the creativity to pull such a thing off in this pool of draftees.
Steven: The Crew have just turned in their slip, and we are about to find out now.
Dustyn: Columbus Crew SC select, with the ninth pick, Brian Nana-Sinkam from Stanford University.
Steven: The Crew seems to have responded with “nana nana boo boo, you can’t sway me,” by sticking to their game plan. And with that, Portland have turned in their pick. Will they opt to swoop in and select Saad after seeing Vancouver leaving him available?
Britt: Or are they looking for a little Santi Moar?
Ian: With the tenth pick of the Name-based Superdraft, the Portland Timbers select: from Radford University, Jo Vetle Rimstad.
Steven: The Portland Timbers make a startling pick, opting for JVR! Porter must be thinking about how to replace the hole Jack Jewsbury is leaving in the back four.
Dustyn: With the eleventh pick, the Chicago Fire select: from Wright State University, Peguy Ngatcha.
Britt: Fire are wasting no time snatching up their player and claiming him.
Steven: What delight on the young man's face. Ngatcha feared a 2nd round selection after failing to see his name in the top ten, but the forward must be delighted to display his talents on the back of a Fire jersey. With that, D.C United are next. They have a history of picking strong names in the Draft, Perry Kitchen and Chris Pontius most notably in recent years.
Britt: Apologies, but I'm surprised Ray Saari had not yet been selected in this draft.
Ian: With the twelfth pick in the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, D.C. United select: from South Florida University, goalkeeper Spajsoei...Spasojise...Saso...Supposedly...(damn autocorrect)...Spasoje Stefanovic.
Britt: That’s a real “cat walking across the keyboard” of a name there, Steven.
Steven: Solid choice by the Nation's Capital, selecting SFU's Stefanovic. Experts had predicted D.C. picking either James Wypych or Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, but Stefanovic, given United's recent goalkeeping issues is a solid choice.
Britt: RSL’s pick has been turned in.
Dustyn: With the thirteenth pick, Real Salt Lake select from SMU, Michael King.
Steven: Safe selection by RSL, choosing King. They’re most likely drawing upon their own faux-royal roots. Sporting Kansas City are up next. SKC have been one of the teams with the strongest named players over recent years. Their strongest pick recently was CJ Sapong
Britt: CJ Sapong’s loan to Orlando City prior to the Lions becoming an MLS team brought to light a glaring gap in solid namesakes on the roster. The later trade to Philadelphia cemented it. Whether or not they finally give Graham Zusi the support he needs is still up in the air. Letting go of Sapong was a regrettable move they should hope to redeem soon.
Ian: With the fourteenth pick of the Name-based Superdraft, Sporting Kansas City select Shamit Shome from FC Edmonton.
Dustyn: With the fifteenth pick of the draft, the Colorado Rapids select: from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Fazio Alihodzic.
Steven: Two back-to-back picks in rapid succession! Not nearly enough time to process. But Alihodzic to Colorado is a surprise choice! Experts expected the Rapids to choose Phil Fives or Lewis Hawke. What a turn of events!
Britt: Let us not forget that Jordan Kalk is still available as well. This truly is a strong draft class with many great names being overlooked.
Steven: The Seattle Sounders pick is in.
Ian: The Seattle Sounders, with the sixteenth pick, have selected: Abu Danladi from UCLA.
Steven: It was only a matter of time, but Danladi has finally been selected.
Britt: And the New York Red Bulls have already turned in their slip.
Dustyn: With the seventeenth pick, the New York Red Bulls select: from Northern Ohio, Tindai Jirira.
Steven: The Red Bulls, partial towards hyphenated names, have bucked the trend with their selection of Jirira.
Britt: This has been quite the punderful draft thus far.
Steven: Indeed. FC Dallas are up next. Will they go with the experts selection of Panos Nakhid?
Ian: With the eighteenth pick of the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, FC Dallas have selected: Michael DeGraffenriedt from Louisville.
Britt: Bless you, FC Dallas. In a shocking development, DeGraffenriedt was pushed all the way to 18th. But the youngster must still be proud to have been chosen in the first round by the Supporters Shield winners no less.
Steven: We now go back down to Ian, as he has talked with the FC Dallas staff over their selection. Ian?
Ian: The FC Dallas staff were stunned that DeGraffenriedt was still available after so many picks were made. In fact, when handing their slip in, they revealed to me their shortlist in which he wasn’t even named. They had assumed he would have been taken long ago with them having no chance of claiming him. They were more than thankful that he was still available, as he would be an ideal selection at any pick.
Steven: Thank you, Dustyn. Ian has quickly made his way to the podium with the next selection for the Montreal Impact. We now go back down to the floor.
Dustyn: With the nineteenth selection in the draft, the Montreal Impact select: from FC Nordsjaelland, Dominic Oduro.
Steven: ...That’s legal? I mean, wouldn’t that...huh? Two? There are two of them? Are you sure that...what? I’m live? AHEM! Uh...Montreal Impact have selected Dominic Oduro from Norw...really? Norway?...AHEM from Norway. Anyway, New England have turned in their slip. Will they select California midfielder, Trevor Haberkorn, or will Nakhid or Wheeler-Omiunu pell their attention away?
Britt: Prior to today’s draft, sources told me the Revolution had eyes for Ray Saari. His presence would prove valuable for New England, as the team continually has to justify their field conditions for aging players traveling - or refusing to travel - to Foxboro.
Ian: New England Revolution, with the twentieth pick, have selected from ANB Futbol, Adinojah Reid.
Britt: Adinojah why they deviated from their original plan. But Reid can prove fundamental. Ray Saari seemed a shoe-in for the pick. I’m sure the head coach will soon be in a heap of questions regarding his decision.
Steven: Toronto FC have turned in their slip.
Dustyn: With the 21st pick of the Name-based MLS Superdraft, Toronto FC select: from Harvard, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu.
Steven: There he is. One of this year’s top prospects, finally selected.
Britt: And wasting no time at all to finish this year’s first round, the Seattle Sounders have turned in the final slip.
Ian: With the 22nd and final pick of the first round in the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, the Seattle Sounders select: Lars Eckenrode from Michigan University.
Steven: There it is. With the final selection, Lars Eckenrode has been chosen by the Sounders. His contributions will no doubt be to fill depth on a team already with Frei, Lodeiro, and Mansaray. That concludes the first round of the 2017 Name-Based MLS Superdraft, brought to you by Total MLS. Any final thoughts on today’s draft, Britt?
Britt: The real winners today are Atlanta United FC for their combination effort, stunning the entire league as well as the experts here with us in the commentary box. Selecting Storm second overall seemed a confusing choice until Jay Bolt was revealed, creating possibly the most shocking atmosphere I have ever witnessed in a draft. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Real Salt Lake, while playing it safe with their selection of Michael King, must be wondering if their eagerness to pick him may have wasted an opportunity to pick up Jirira or Wheeler-Omiunu. Surely King would have still been available in the later rounds. As far as a few names for tomorrow, keep an eye out for Felix Debona, James Wypych, and Trevor Haberkorn. And let us not forget Jeremy Ebobisse from Duke, who will most likely be chosen very early in the next round.
Steven: Thank you, Britt, and thank you to Ian and Dustyn for their support on the floor. That will do it for us here at TMLS. This has been the first round of the 2017 Name-based MLS Superdraft, brought to you by Total MLS. Thank you for watching.