PHILADELPHIA – Ahead of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano spoke to Top Drawer Soccer’s Director of Content Travis Clark to get the lowdown on the prospects the Galaxy could select in Friday’s draft.
AS: You’re an expert on college soccer, what are three names that the Galaxy should be looking at?
CLARK: "I think there are a number of ways the Galaxy could go. It all depends on the context of international slots as well because it’s hard to know how that will impact this year’s draft. Then, of course, it depends who LAFC takes with the first selection. Names like Tomas Hillard-Arce, the center back from Stanford come to mind; he’s someone who could add depth to the position this year, even if he doesn't have high of a ceiling. Or you could go all the way to the other side and draft a player like Generation Adidas forward, Mason Toye from Indiana. Those are two of the domestic players I feel have a high ceiling. Then, amongst the Internationals, it’s more of a wildcard. Joao Moutinho is a player that a lot of teams like, versatile, can play left-back, center- mid, and potentially even center-back.
"Any of the Ghanaian wingers whether it’s Francis Atuahene or Ema Twumasi. Either of those two guys are a little rawer, but have some of the skills whether it’s the athleticism or being decent enough at the ball that you can plug them in out wide and see how they go.
"The Galaxy will have a wealth of choices to pick from, and it depends if they are looking for immediate impact or if they are looking outside-the-box. Maybe bring in a guy that plays for LA II to start the season and could be in the first team lineup at the end of the year."
AS: When you look at the combine, did any performances stand out to you?
CLARK: "I think there are a couple of surprises. One name, which I don't think the Galaxy would consider at second overall is Wyatt Omsberg. He’s a 6’4’’ center-back from Dartmouth, did really well on the physical testing. There were no huge surprises for me. I always feel like the combine is overblown. A player like Chris Mueller out of Wisconsin cemented his status at a top ten. Jon Bakero, again another international player and a player with questions about his ideal position. He also did very well. So, there weren't any huge shocks or surprises— players that came out of nowhere. It will be interesting though to see on draft day how the combine is used in the context of the players picked."
AS: When you look at the Galaxy, they struggled last season— what kind of players in this draft could be ready to play this season?
CLARK: "The list is not particularly long in my mind. Tomas Hillard-Arce is someone that comes to mind. He’s someone that may not have as a high a ceiling as some of the other players, but he’s someone I feel could come and contribute defensively whether he’s your third center-back. Maybe he could play for a few minutes. You know, he has his limitations. He’s a bit one-footed. As the second overall pick, he seems like closest to a sure thing. You know, Joao Moutinho is another top prospect who I think needs to develop physically. If you want to roll the dice on someone like a Mason Toye, you can. He may not contribute much this season, but he’s someone that could put the ball in the back of the net.
"Or, you could go with a shock pick. Maybe a Jon Bakero. He’s not a guy that I would necessarily slot in right away, but with the players that he would have around him, he could be a sneaky pick. If you have someone like Giovani dos Santos guiding Bakero and his positioning. He’s somebody a little closer to contributing. Then, the other name that comes to mind would be Chris Mueller from Wisconsin, but as a winger, he seems similar to some of the players that LA Galaxy would have."
AS: So, the Galaxy have the 40th pick in the second round, who could they target?
CLARK: "I know, it’s dear to your heart, Adam, so I’d say José Carrera-García from Cal. I think he’s an under-the-radar kind of player. He’s a 5’6’’ tacky midfielder from California that can play a number of positions across the attacking midfield spots. Cory Brown, a defender from Xavier, he’s a guy that I thought showed well at the combine. He’s a New Zealand international, so he’s gonna take an international roster spot."
AS: Now, if Sigi Schmid and you have that second pick who do you draft?
CLARK: "I think I would go with Hilliard-Arce. He’s a guy that could come in, and he’s a sure thing. His ceiling isn't as high as a lot of the other players that you’d want to pick and on a team, that could use the help. He’s a guy that brings enough to the table that he could be relied on to play in 2018, which would be a big boost."