05 January 2006

Looking at the Combine

Just a quick post that I'm starting to look at the announced invitations to the 2006 MLS Combine, in order to try and guess at DCU's draft strategy. Including players that received an invitation but will not be attending, 61 names have been identified with the combine. Breakdown by position? Sure...

Forwards: 19 (4 Hermann Finalists)
Midfielders: 18 (2 Hermann Finalists)
Defenders: 17
GKs: 7

So what does this tell us? First, many teams could use help in the midfield, but midfielders aren't proportionally represented in the combine. Expect to see evaluations of both forwards and defenders with the idea of potentially converting them to midfield work. Also, both forwards and midfielders might be examined with the idea of converting them to defense.

Maryland is sending the most players to the Combine with 4 (not, sadly, AJ Godbolt). Cal-Berkley, Connecticut, and New Mexico are sending 3. Bruce Arena's old stomping grounds of the The University of Virginia? 0 players (though VCU is sending 2).

If I had to guess, I would think that DCU would either pick a midfielder or a forward that could be converted to wing play with their first pick, and a defender with the second. But I haven't looked in depth at the players on the board, so that might all change. You have to figure that the forwards will go fairly quickly in the 1-5 selections (My guess is that Columbus takes Garey, while RSL looks for midfield help and Chivas might take a defender.) With DCU still having Weber in the reserves as a GK draft pick, I think it doesn't make sense to go after a keeper, considering that top keepers might go to KC, the Metros, or even FCD before DC gets a pick. There should be good options at the midfield still available at that points, or even in defense.