FRISCO - It’s officially SuperDraft week around MLS. FC Dallas has the No. 11 overall pick in the first round, as well as No. 29 and No. 34 overall in the second.
It’s tough to predict exactly how things will transpire on Friday morning, but here are a few names that Dallas should have on its radar this week.
Ema Twumasi - Winger (Wake Forest, GA)
At first glance, Dallas really doesn’t need another young winger waiting in the wings (pun intended), but a talent like Twumasi might be tough to pass up for Fernando Clavijo and Oscar Pareja - and one they might have to move up from No. 11 to get. The Ghanan scored 16 goals and added 11 assists in just two seasons with the Demon Deacons.
Michigan’s Francis Atuahene might be the higher-ranked winger among the top talent, but as assistant coach Marco Feruzzi told me ahead of last year’s draft, so much of scouting is looking at players from schools with similar styles or tendencies as your own. With two Wake Forest products already on the roster, Twumasi would likely be the best fit in Pareja’s system.
Tomas Hilliard-Arce - Defender (Stanford, Signed Senior)
Coming in, Hilliard-Arce was nearly a lock for a top-three pick, but some other center backs are making cases for their own inclusion at the top of the board in Orlando and the senior could possibly slide back down the board just a hair. The back-to-back-to-back national champion at Stanford has the leadership qualities and physical tools to develop into a top center back in MLS, similar to what Dallas has done in the past with Matt Hedges or Walker Zimmerman. If he's available, Dallas would be hard-pressed to pass him up.
Jeff Caldwell - Goalkeeper (Virginia)
In a fairly weak goalkeeper draft, Caldwell is the clear favorite at the back coming out of the college ranks this season. I think if Caldwell is around come Dallas’ No. 29 or No. 34 pick, I bet they would take a waiver on the three-year starter at Virginia with a third goalkeeper spot open on the roster. FCD isn’t hurting to fill that spot (they started 2017 with it open), but if the opportunity presents itself, it could be a nice fit.
Jon Bakero - Forward (Wake Forest, Signed Senior)
Along the same lines of Twumasi, Bakero fits very well into Dallas’ look after four years at Wake Forest. The reigning Hermann Trophy winner with 16 goals and 14 assists in 2017 is in all likelihood a top-five pick - especially after a strong early showing at the Combine - but with a lot of defensive depth shored up over the last two weeks and three picks in the opening two rounds, Dallas might be able to package something together to move up and take one of the top offensive talents in the draft.
Rafael Andrade Santos - Midfielder/Forward (VCU)
Andrade Santos is maybe not a flashy pick, but an interesting one nonetheless for FCD. A top No. 10 in college soccer last season, you don’t typically find an attacking midfielder through the draft, but the Brazilian could conceivably be a nice depth piece behind Mauro Diaz. I’m not sure he’s ready to be thrown into MLS starts right away, but could play a role as a late-game substitution or Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup starter. I don’t think he’ll go as high as No. 11, but if he slips into the late first round, he could be a decent pick given the lack of depth behind Diaz at the moment.