Bobby Rhine: Grading the 2010 draft class
Before looking ahead to the future I have always felt you have to be very cognizant of the past. With the 2011 MLS SuperDraft only a day away, I wanted to take a look back at the 2010 FC Dallas draft class to see what the incoming group will be measured against.
Zach Loyd, D, UNC - The first round selection from the University of North Carolina proved his value throughout the 2010 campaign. As the fifth overall pick, Loyd came in with high expectations and didn’t disappoint. With over 1,700 minutes and 24 games played, the Oklahoma native showed his versatility by playing right back to begin the season before filling in wherever needed on a salty FCD backline.
With an extended unbeaten streak on the line and a backline thin due to injuries to usual center back partners Ugo Ihemelu and George John, the rookie stood tall and improved with every performance. A difficult road game at Columbus saw Loyd battered and bruised by an imposing figure in Emilio Renteria, but the unbeaten streak remained intact and Loyd never looked back. He was a fabulous pickup and has now earned his first USMNT call-up this month. Leaving him out of the XI is never an easy decision.
Andrew Wiedeman, F/M, Cal-Berkley - The second round FCD selection from California-Berkley might not have played a minute during the 2010 campaign, but his value is very high. The Generation adidas product plays in midfield and is a very good connector. Last season was about adjusting to the demands of the everyday training regimen while learning from the senior players in front of him. A well-respected, professional, locker room guy like Wiedeman helps make the training atmosphere what it should be. Perhaps in 2011, the young Californian can make his first team debut.
Jason Yeisley, F, Penn State - As FCD's third round selection (38th overall), Yeisley joined FCD with a solid college resume. As a forward, the Penn State alum likes to play with his back to goal and does well to bring others into the attack. Yeisley made five first team appearances in 2010, and his biggest moment came when he drew a penalty kick on the last play of the game against Seattle. The ensuing PK conversion by Jeff Cunningham saw FCD earn a 2-2 draw on April 22. With a strong work ethic and desire to meet his potential, Yeisley is very coachable. I hope he can continue to gain minutes in what will be a crowded schedule in 2011.
Eric Alexander, M, Indiana - The Indiana product taken by FC Dallas in the third round (44th overall) stands out as the hidden gem of last year's draft class. The rookie scored two goals and added three assists through 17 first team appearances. He earned attention for his simplicity at center midfield after the injury to Dax McCarty. During that two month spell, Alexander became nearly irreplaceable to Schellas Hyndman’s starting team. The rookie helped maintain a record 19-game unbeaten streak and, like fellow rookie Zach Loyd, earned his first USMNT call-up this month. The coaching staff’s faith in the rookie became even more evident with the decision to allow the departure of Dax McCarty. The opportunity is now his for the taking. Alexander surely rates as the most unexpected find of the 2010 draft class.
Dane Saintus, F/M, SMU - Selected in the fourth round and 54th overall, the SMU product had a trial with the club before the season began. With only 24 roster spots, the competition was fierce and Saintus was the only draftee not signed.
Edson Edward, D/M, Graceland University - Picked up as a discovery selection from Graceland University, Edward made his first team debut on the road against Kansas City in a 3-1 win on September 26, 2010.
And that, of course, brings us to Thursday's 2011 MLS SuperDraft -- one which features a deep talent pool for FC Dallas to choose from. With the 17th, 35th, and 53rd positions in the three rounds of the draft, I would expect the club to target midfield depth. Given the success FC Dallas had in last year’s draf,t there is no reason to believe it can’t be done again.
Overall Grade for the 2010 Draft Class: B+