The Full 90

Draft Prep: What you should know about today's MLS SuperDraft

Updated: 2013-01-17T06:20:31Z

Charles Gooch

The Kansas City Star

There isn't a screaming need position for Kansas City right now, which means KC can pretty much go whatever direction the draft takes them: Take the best player available or trade up/down to get the player they want.

If you had to pin down what position KC needs the most, you could probably point to fullback (especially on the right side), midfielder (because of the losses of Roger Espinoza and Julio Cesar and the troubling fact that they can't keep Graham Zusi forever, can they?) or left wing/midfielder (if they can find speed for that spot, they have to take it right?).

It's a pretty strong team as it is, with depth across every position. (Case in point, 27 of the 30 roster spots are already filled as of right now.)

The various mock drafts around the internetz tend to favor forwards and midfielders. I think that's the right call. There are a few interesting defenders in the draft, but Kansas City has shown a propensity to go with attacking players and midfielders in the last few drafts.

How Do You Watch the Draft?

The SuperDraft will not be televised. Instead, it will be -- like I imagine all things in the future -- streamed. You can watch it on ESPN3.com, MLSsoccer.com and YouTube.com. It starts at 11 a.m. from Indianapolis.

Where Does Kansas City Pick?

Sporting Kansas City will have one and only one pick: the #14 pick overall.

Both of Kansas City's second-round picks in the MLS SuperDraft have been dealt for more established players. The team's natural pick (#32) went to Montreal for midfielder/defender Josh Gardner and the pick KC acquired from New York (#33)* went to San Jose for defender Ike Opara.

*That trade sent midfielder Stephane Auvray to the Red Bulls.

What Are the Mock Drafts Saying?

There aren't a ton of MLS draft gurus out there, but it's a growing field. Here are a few of the major ones that I sorta/kinda/maybe trust.

There isn't a consensus. Six analysts, five players. All, nominally, attacking players.

Top Drawer Soccer has KC going with speedy Jamaican Jason Johnson, a Generation adidas forward from Virginia Commonwealth. The GA protection could be very important as Kansas City could have some salary cap issues this year.

WVHooligan has KC going with a forward too, this time Hermann-trophy runner-up Ryan Finley from Notre Dame.

The MLSsoccer.com crew have Kansas City going with midfield help: Simon Borg tabbing UNC-Charlotte left midfielder Donnie Smith, while Matt Doyle and Jason Saghini are tabbing Maryland midfielder John Stertzer.

Soccer by Ives has KC taking New Mexico midfielder Blake Smith. He might fall down the order a bit after a poor combine, but he's the best winger in the draft. And, Kansas City knows him as he's trained with the team before.

So, Who Do I Think KC Will Pick?

I think midfielder is the play here: Either centrally with a guy like Stertzer (who played a 4-3-3 in college) or Notre Dame's Dillon Powers, or go with the best available left midfielder named Smith -- Donnie or Blake.

From what I've read about Blake Smith (like this and this) and seen (video below) he's my favorite of the bunch.

That's some serious speed. And, like Elanor Roosevelt said, "America is all about speed. Hot, nasty speed." Peter Vermes -- given that he's an American -- would have a hard time ignoring that speed. The added bonus of the team's familiarity with him is a huge bonus.

However, not sure if he'll be there. As my colleague Tod Palmer points out, Kansas City will really be at the behest of the 13 teams in front of them. If any of the top guys start to plummet (especially Finley or North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez), I think KC might adapt.

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