With the loss of Brian Ching and the unknown statuses of Cam Weaver and Calen Carr, the forward/striker position for the Houston Dynamo is in dire need of replenishment. With the 16th pick there are still a few good, technically sound forwards, but there is one in particular who stands out.
Mamadou Diouf has the look and feel of a previous Houston Dynamo forward, Joseph Ngwenya, who now finds himself playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL Pro. Diouf is lanky and scrappy. He possesses a quick burst of speed which the Dynamo really, really lack up top. Most of all, he has the capability to play up top as a forward partner for the Dynamo's Dancing Bear, Will Bruin.
Diouf is from Senegal and spent his college days at University of Connecticut with the Huskies. He had a truly dismal 2013 campaign, but his college career shows he has the talent and upside to be something truly special. In 2012, he netted 15 goals and maintaining a 1.52 goals per game line. Needless to say, he knows how to get the ball between the woodwork and into the net.
Oh, and I mentioned he's scrappy, right? It is almost a trademark of his in that he doesn't seem to get deterred by physical backs. If anything, physicality only seems to drive him harder, which in this version of MLS is a trait good forwards need.
What Houston will be looking for in the draft: It is simply, really. The Dynamo have a severe lack of depth at forward and center back. Need will far outweigh wants in this draft.
Who the experts say Houston will select: Kyle Venter or Grant Van De Casteele. Why? Both are defenders, and clearly the experts believe the need for defender depth outweighs the need for scoring.
Why I'm invariably wrong: If either Venter or Van De Casteele are available, I'm hard-pressed to truly believe the Houston Dynamo would pass on them. There is a need at defender, and so both would make a lot of sense. Also, it is important to note the Dynamo have been actively seeking a forward from overseas during the transfer window.
Why I'm smarter than the pundits: Any fan of the Dynamo know Dom has certain types of forwards he likes, and Diouf fits that build to a 't'. Just think Nate Jacqua and Joseph Ngwenya paired up with Brian Ching. It makes more sense to go forward here with so many solid defenders still available.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz|