The MLS Combine is over, and that means the highly anticipated SuperDraft is nearly here. Following the most successful season in club history, FC Dallas has three picks in Thursday’s draft to help build depth as they move toward a busy 2011. With additional games that include a longer MLS regular season (34 games), the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League, head coach Schellas Hyndman will need to fill open roster holes with quality talent that can contribute immediately.
As a product of the successful 2010 season, FC Dallas picks second to last in all three rounds (as MLS Cup champions, Colorado holds the last position). But not to worry -- if last year’s draft is any indication of how the club will pick, fans should see a couple of quality role players selected, and possibly someone who can make an impact right away.
FIRST ROUND - No. 17
First round picks are either Generation adidas players (players whose salary is exempt from the salary cap) or players expected to compete for a starting position. Below are a few possible players that could hear their name called at pick No. 17.
Jalil Anibaba, D, UNC - When both George John and Ugo Ihemelu went down with injuries in the 2010 season, it exposed an area where depth was an issue. Anibaba is possibly one of the best center backs in this draft and could be a monster steal if he slides to Dallas.
Anthony Ampapitakwong, M, Akron - One of the main cornerstones over the last four years for Akron. He’s an excellent holding/attacking midfielder with ball skills that could make him a Day One starter in MLS.
Michael Nanchoff, M, Akron - If there is one Generation adidas player that could fall to Dallas it would be Nanchoff. This dangerous left winger is still a bit of a work in progress, but would help provide depth on the wings.
Stephen McCarthy, M, UNC - This 6-foot-4 Tar Heel has excellent feet and is a major set piece threat. He could be a nice replacement for Dax McCarty.
Jason Herrick, F, Maryland - A solid striker who scored 11 goals this past season for the Terps. He is a crafty player who always seems to find himself in the right position to score and would be a solid replacement for Jeff Cunningham.
SECOND ROUND - No. 35
When it comes to the second round, FC Dallas will have to focus on depth and filling out roster spots. Below are a few players that could be available at pick No. 35.
Michael Boxall, D, UCSB - This New Zealand-born center back could easily be the most mature defender in the draft. He’s a natural leader that isn’t afraid to take charge when needed. He could easily find himself in the late first round with a strong Combine, but injury concerns will likely push him back a bit.
Levi Houapeu, M, UMBC - He’s not a player most people will recognize right away, but he could possibly be one of the steals of the draft. He’ll likely be slotted into the wings on the pro level thanks to his blistering speed and excellent ball control.
Ryan Kinne, F, Monmouth - One of the better attacking players in college in 2010. Most teams are very aware of his goal-scoring ability.
THIRD ROUND - No. 53
Finding players who can compete in the third round isn’t always easy, but as we saw last year with Eric Alexander it can be done. At pick No. 53 Dallas hopes to find another player like Alexander.
Chris Korb, D, Akron - The lesser-known Akron player in this draft, Korb is a solid defender that always seemed to bail his team out of a tight jam.
Brayan Martinez, F/M, Seton Hall - Solid player who’ll likely see more time in the midfield than as a forward. He’s good on the ball and passes extremely well.
Davis Paul, F, California - He’s a bit undersized for a forward, but typically finds himself in the right position to score (eight goals in 2010). He also improved his distribution, as he tallied 14 assists this past year.
Drew Epperley is the founder and editor of WVHooligan.com. His blog covers everything MLS and US Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @WVHooligan.