As we look forward to the MLS Combine and 2013 MLS SuperDraft, there are going to be a number of articles focusing on the college prospects, their possible impact in MLS, and potential suitors for each one. If one thing will be for sure, those mock drafts and countless discussions of where a player will wind up will not matter once draft day is upon us.
The MLS SuperDraft is impossible to dissect and the 2013 version will not be different. Here at Dynamo Theory, we will not have too many elaborate posts regarding the college prospects and who the Dynamo will pick up. Truth is, anything can and will happen at the draft. Often, it's used to grab the best player on the board versus trying to fill specific holes in the roster.
In fact, even Team President Chris Canetti said "We always take the best available in the draft over needs" when holding an online chat with fans recently. Truth is, it's hard to determine how these college athletes skills will translate from the college to pro field. It's evidenced by how many of our prior draft choices are not only absent from our roster, but many are not even in the league anymore.
So instead of breaking down each college prospect, we'll take you down memory lane and review the Dynamo history in the MLS SuperDraft. Talent can find its way to any of these young players and draft order does not necessarily guarantee anything.
All in all, there is always a possibility we'll find a very important part of our future, or maybe even a superstar in this year's draft. After all, when you look a some of the picks below, you'll see Dominic Kinnear has had some "luck" at finding the right guys.
2006 MLS SuperDraft
None of the Dynamo's three picks in their first season in Houston are still with the club, but two of the three played impact roles for some time in orange. Patrick Ianni was Houston's first selection in 2006 with the eighth pick in the draft. After playing sporadically for Houston, he's since found a consistent home with the Seattle Sounders. In the fourth round and 44th pick, the Dynamo also selected Michael Chabala. Chewy was mainly used as a back up defender, and was sent out on loan a couple of times. While he was (and still is) a fan favorite, he never cemented a starting spot and was sent to Portland in the deal that brought in Adam Moffat in 2011. Currently, Chabala is without a club.
Other 2006 Houston picks: Andre Schmid (32nd). Schmid played with the Seattle Sounders for a couple years, but is no longer in MLS.
Corey Ashe (2007 SuperDraft, Round 2, Pick 26)
In his early years in Houston, Ashe was used mainly as a backup midfielder. With Brad Mullan and Brad Davis manning the flanks, he found playing time hard to come by. Early in 2011, Kinnear used Ashe in a tactical move - moving him to left back to help tame the quick Dane Richards when Houston faced New York. Ashe became a staple in the defense, starting 28 games at left back, and being selected as an MLS All-Star for the first time ever. He's continued to secure the spot in 2012 and looks to be our guy in 2013 as well. Shortly before the MLS Cup, Bruce Arena even called Ashe one of the best left backs in MLS. Not so bad for our first SuperDraft pick, and a second round pick at that.
Other 2007 Houston picks: John Michael Hayden (13th), Mike Sambursky (39th), Eric Ebert (52nd). None of these players are still around in MLS.
Geoff Cameron (2008 SuperDraft, Round 3, Pick 42)
The Dynamo didn't even get a pick in the 2008 SuperDraft until the third round when they selected Cameron. Their first round pick was involved in a trade to get Richard Mulrooney, while their second round pick involved the trade that sent Nate Jaqua to Houston. You have to imagine Kinnear and company probably had zero to low expectations in this draft due to such a low pick. Cameron turned out to be an incredible story. He quickly became a fan favorite, a good midfielder, and an even better defender. A third round SuperDraft pick has now become a regular USMNT starter, and is living his dream playing football in Europe for Stoke City.
Other 2008 Houston picks: Jeremy Barlow (56th). Barlow was last seen playing in the USL league.
2009 MLS SuperDraft
In the 2009 SuperDraft, the Dynamo selected Danny Cruz in the third round and with pick 41. Houston traded their first and second round picks for different trades prior to the draft. Their first round pick was used in the deal to acquire Kei Kamara, and the second round pick helped bring defender Bobby Boswell to Houston. Cruz would go on to play a role in Houston for three years, but never really filling the need as our starting right midfielder. He's currently is a member of the Philadelphia Union after being traded from D.C. United.
Other 2009 Houston picks: Marcus Tracy (56th). Tracy is on the San Jose Earthquakes roster after returning from playing overseas.
2010 MLS SuperDraft
In the 2010 SuperDraft, Houston again used their first and second round picks in trade deals. The first round was used in the deal that brought Dominic Oduro to Houston, and the second round pick was sent with Chris Wondolowski to San Jose in exchange for Cam Weaver. This was by far the least productive draft for the Dynamo, as none of the prospects made a short or long term impact on the club.
Other 2010 Houston picks: David Walker (43rd), Samuel Appiah (46th), and Euan Holden (62nd).
2011 MLS SuperDraft
Because of their poor finish in the 2010 regular season, the Dynamo moved up in the selection process in 2011. Houston selected Kofi Sarkodie at the seventh pick, then made a draft day trade with Portland for allocation money and picked Will Bruin eleventh. These two were highly coveted prospects and many were surprised the two dropped so far down the list. The Dynamo were clearly the winners in the 2011 SuperDraft. Houston's lower round picks went to other MLS clubs for trades involving Oduro and Adrian Serioux.
Warren Creavalle (2012 Superdraft, Round 2, Pick 37)
Creavalle was available for the second to last pick of the draft, and Dominic Kinnear grabbed him after impressing in the MLS Combine. While many prospects struggle to find their way on the field, let alone the starting IV, Creavalle was able to gain Kinnear's confidence right away. In his rookie season, Creavalle saw action in 11 games, including five starts. He also saw three starts in CCL action, and likely will be a key figure in 2013 with the Dynamo continuing that competition. With the recent addition of Eric Brunner, the possibility of Andre Hainault not returning, and the trade of Nathan Sturgis - it's safe to say Creavalle factors into Kinnear's plans for the future.
Other 2012 Houston picks: Colin Rolfe (18th). Rolfe was released by the team in December.
What to Expect in 2013
As you can see, the number of the pick doesn't necessarily translate into a superstar or even a player that can help you club. Dominic Kinnear has found a couple of gems in the draft, but has also used the Dynamo picks to leverage in bring key players to Houston (like Boswell).
There are a number of websites that will run mock drafts and weigh in on who each club will select, over the course of the next several weeks, and we'll keep up with the latest predictions for you. For now, we'll highlight Soccer by Ives latest mock draft and who the Dynamo could potentially be looking at.
Soccer by Ives
Prediction: Ryan Finley, F
Finley is one of the best finishers on the board. A pure goal scorer with a nose for goal, Finley is also a good passer as a forward and could work well in Houston's system. The Dynamo could also consider Will Bates with this pick.
Top Drawer Soccer put together their mock draft last month, but their pick for Houston opted out of the MLS Combine and subsequent draft. They have UCLA forward Ryan Hollingshead as the pick for the Dynamo, but Hollingshead made a decision to pursue a religious mission.
For the best selections at each position, check out Top Drawer Soccer's Big Board. It's a great way to see who's available at each position, straying away from potential suitors.
MLSsoccer.com put up their mock draft with three of their writers weighing in on Houston's picks. With the loss of Andre Hainault, I could absolutely see the Dynamo looking for a defender in this year's draft - which is what all three picked for Houston's first round choice.
The MLS Combine will take place January 11-15. For a list of the players invited, click here.
The 2013 MLS SuperDraft will take place on January 17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Houston Dynamo will have the 13th pick (first round) and the 37th pick (second round) in the MLS SuperDraft.
What are your thoughts on the Dynamo history in the draft? What about expectations or hopes for 2013? Let us know below.