I was reading over the Soccer By Ives Draft Board and Mock Draft and decided to piggyback off their research and pick out five names that interest me for FCD. FC Dallas picks 15th in 1st Round so I’m keeping that in mind and won’t mention players that seem like high picks.
I’ll even dig into why each guy fits into what Coach Luchi Gonzalez and his staff might be doing.
In no particular order.
1. Talen Maples – SMU
Center Back or Holding Mid. 17th on the SBI Board.
I had him among my first couple of names for my list after reading the SBI Draft Board so when they had him going to Dallas in the 15th pick in their Mock Draft it was easy to stick with him on my list.
I think Edwin Cerrillo is an MLS level 6, but I also think he needs a loan. Nkosi Burgess also is a loan candidate or he could play all year with North Texas SC as Justin Che will.
Maples – who is both a CB, if undersized, and a holding mid, he played his senior year there – can provide depth at both positions for FCD and NTX.
The fact he’s sometimes a mid means his feet should be better than many center backs, something that plays well in Luchi-Ball. He’s “only” six feet tall.
2. Josh Drack – Denver
Left Back. 13th on the SBI Board.
This would be a pick for the future. He’s a converted attacker, that’s right in the Luchi’s wheelhouse.
“But FCD has Hollingshead and Nelson?” I hear you say.
Hollingshead will be 30 in April. Nelson may be his replacement… and if he is FCD would need a 2nd.
While I like Derek Waldeck at NTX I don’t think he projects to MLS. The “next HG” Jonathan Gomez bolted for Lou City (ouch). While I’m intrigued by the “Danny” Elizalde left back conversion happening in the Academy – I haven’t seen it yet myself – you have to go down to Nolan Norris (2005) or Henry Canizalez (2006) to find something that has really caught my eye.
SBI says Drack “showed real potential at that position at the MLS/Sporting Kansas City Combine last Fall” and I know FCD scouted that event.
So draft Drack, stash him at NTX for a year or two.
And for a bonus of intrigue, Drack played at Grand Canyon U before Denver, so Schellas Hyndman knows him and Luchi talks to Schellas often.
3. Nicky Hernandez – NTXSC and SMU
Linking Mid. 41st on the SBI Board.
Even though he’s signed to North Texas SC, FC Dallas does not own any MLS rights to Nicky Hernandez. That’s why his name showed up on the MLS Draft Eligibility List.
Because he’s with NTX the organization can just loan him to FCD… BUT if someone else drafts him, Dallas would have to trade for his MLS rights. “College Protected Players” rights last for two seasons after selection.
FC Dallas did this very move to Dylan Castanheira – admittedly in the 4th round – who had signed with Atlanta United 2 prior to being picked by FCD. Los Toros eventually traded his rights to Inter Miami for a pick.
So just how much does FCD value Hernandez? How high they pick him will tell you. First-round? Maybe. But that might feel like a misplay since they just traded up. 2nd Round, 48th Overall – that seems on point. It’s also possible Hernandez won’t last that long as his 2020 with NTX opened some eyes, including mine.
4. AJ Marcucci – Connecticut College
Goalkeeper. 32nd on the SBI Board.
FCD loves to scout outside the big boys and DIII certainly fits that bill. Marcucci – at 6’3″ – has the size FCD likes too.
Twice AJ was named the NCAA DIII Keeper of the Year. 2018 season – .929 save pct and 0.28 gaa. 2019 season – .859 save pvt and 0.58 gaa.
Granted, keepers play longer, but Jimmy Maurer is 32 and Kyle Zobeck is 30. Phelipe is only 21 but he seems more like a buy-to-sell. Carlos Avilez is almost certainly gone from the organization and Seth Wilson seems out of the FCD mix as well. Michael Collodi has a few more years at Columbia. Antonio Carrera is just 16 and Julian Eyestone is 14.
So FCD taking a keeper at some point won’t shock me.
5. Bret Halsey – Virginia
Right Back (projected). 9th on the SBI Board.
This one might be a little bit of a stretch as SBI has him going at the bottom of the top 10. But he is a central midfielder being projected/converted to right back, so perhaps he could slide a bit.
FCD loves attacker to back conversions. FCD love Generation adidas roster protection and cap relief. Bryan Reynolds is about to be gone and all the options to fill in are projects of one kind or another (Bressan a CB, Hollingshead a LB, Nelson a LB, Twumasi a winger, and Munjoma still learning.)
So another project isn’t a horrible idea, particularly one that could provide midfield depth if some loans I think should happen actually do happen (Roberts, Servania, Cerrillo).
The 2021 MLS SuperDraft is tomorrow at 1 pm CT. You can watch Round 1 on mlssoccer.com or the free MLS app. Rounds 2 and 3 will be available via the tracker. 3 minutes between each pick, so they’re gonna fly.