CARSON, Calif. – The 2018 MLS Combine is underway, and with the LA Galaxy holding the second overall selection in next week’s MLS SuperDraft, Sigi Schmid and company will be paying close attention to everything going on in Orlando.
The matches will kick off on Saturday as the more than 60 participants will be evaluated by Major League Soccer coaching staffs. The players are divided up into four teams with each team taking part in three matches over a five-day period.
Ahead of the combine and next week’s all-important SuperDraft, here are five players I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Mason Toye (Forward, Indiana)
Mason Toye spent only one season at the University of Indiana, but he impressed enough to earn a Generation Adidas contract after just one season in Bloomington.
During his lone season for the Hoosiers, Toye tallied 10 goals and two assists, while being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. A technical striker with a keen soccer mind, Toye is thought by draft experts to possess one of the highest attacking upsides in the draft.
The 19-year-old also brings with some professional experience having trained with USL club Orlando City B.
Tomas Hilliard-Arce (Defender, Stanford)
There may not be another player up for the grabs in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft with the accomplishments of Tomas Hillard-Arce.
The burly 6-foot-1 central defender helped the Cardinal to three consecutive College Cups during his time in Palo Alto, while also winning a host of individual honors including the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
A ball-winning central defender with speed, Hillard-Arce is a player that could be ready to contribute to an MLS roster in year one.
Chris Mueller (Midfielder/Forward, Wisconsin)
One of college soccer’s most dynamic playmakers, Chris Mueller wowed scouts during his impressive senior season with Wisconsin.
Mueller led college soccer in assists in 2017 with a whopping 20 helpers while helping the Badgers reach the Sweet 16.
Considered one most MLS-ready prospects in the 2018 draft pool, Mueller tallied 22 goals and 35 assists in four seasons in Madison.
Joao Moutinho (Defender/Midfielder, Akron)
Drafts are all about intrigue and upside and Joao Moutinho might lead the way on each of those categories.
A versatile player who can play at left back, central defense, and in defensive midfield, Moutinho brings a diverse set of skills with him to the next level. Moutinho's silky left foot confounded the opposition during his time with the Zips, helping him tally three goals and five assists as he led Akron to the College Cup Semifinal.
One of the more interesting international prospects in recent years, the Sporting CP product promises to be a high draft choice next week.
Ema Twumasi (Forward, Wake Forest)
A member of Generation Adidas, Ema Twumasi is one of the more intriguing prospects in the SuperDraft pool.
The talented 20-year-old forward is a promising attacking weapon and considered by Top Drawer Soccer to be the top prospect in the Draft. A native of Accra, Ghana, Twumasi spent two seasons at Wake Forest, notching 16 goals and 11 assists for the Demon Deacons.
Twumasi is also an alum of the Right to Dream program which helped produce Galaxy midfielder Ema Boateng.