Plenty of uncertainty awaits the 2021 edition of the MLS Draft.
Between the coronavirus pandemic shuttering most of the fall season and labor uncertainty ahead of the new league season, it's hard to know when players picked this Thursday might actually play.
Below is the TopDrawerSoccer mock draft of the first round. Report Generation adidas candidate Bret Halsey isn't included in this mock.
|The central midfielder is easily a top-two prospect in the draft pool after signing a Generation adidas deal. Either him or Harris makes the most sense for the new franchise.|
|2||Calvin Harris*||Wake Forest||F||6-0||-|
|Adding attacking talent through any means possible should be FC Cincinnati's target with the second pick. Harris has the ability to come in right away and play as a wide forward option from the bench.|
|3||Daniel Pereira*||Virginia Tech||M||5-9||-|
|Head coach Tab Ramos has plenty to figure out, and the Dynamo can go in a number of different directions here. If either Mayaka or Pereira are available, they'd be a no-brainer. Pereira is a smart, talented central midfielder that can pick up the ball in midfield and make things happen.|
|4||Josh Bauer||New Hampshire||D||6-1||-|
|This pick could be used to address the back line, which could use depth at outside back or in the middle. Bauer is the best available, after leaving school in August for a short-term deal at Birmingham that has kept him sharp for the draft.|
|With a number of central defenders on the board here, Atlanta could add another option for the rotation while grooming teenager Efrain Morales. Mabika is a big defender that moves well and can compete in the league physically.|
|The Rapids don't have a pressing need anywhere that will be fixed by the draft, although they did have success bringing Andre Shinyashiki on board a few years ago. Egbo is a talented forward from Akron that could slip since he requires an international roster spot. However, he has an attacking upside worth taking here.|
|7||Rodney Michael||UC Santa Barbara||F||5-8||150|
|Michael helped push UCSB to a great season in 2019, and was positioned to cash in if he had gone pro after that season. A slashing attacking player that can score and create goals, RSL is adding to its flank areas in the offseason and Michael provides another option.|
|8||Matt Di Rosa||Maryland||D||5-10||160|
|Portland's moved a couple of outside back in postseason deals and could use the depth. Di Rosa is one of the top left backs on the board. Joshua Drack is another name to watch for this pick.|
|While his production wasn't the greatest in college, Archimede has pedigree and quality to make an MLS impact and could be a top 10 pick. Vancouver could use a quality player to compete for minutes out wide.|
|Mikey Ambrose and Ben Sweat have new homes in MLS, leaving Miami in search of depth at left back. Drack, if available here, is a potential option.|
|Austin can really go best player available, and could roll the dice on an international option here if they have the roster flexibility. But if they take Mayaka, that seems unlikely, so someone like Hope-Gund adds quality at the back.|
|A quality striker from the Tigers, Smith's availability here would appeal to a Quakes team that could use another backup along with Chris Wondolowski.|
|This might be a tad high for someone like Donasiyano. But a dynamic midfielder, if he shows the technical ability required to succed in MLS, Donasiyano has traits to succeed for a team like the Red Bulls.|
|LAFC could go this route despite the fact Trejo didn't play in 2020. He had a great year and projects as a wide forward at the next level.|
|With a great academy, FC Dallas don't need to hit a home run here. But if Bryan Reynolds is transferred abroad as expected, it wouldn't hurt to draft a right back like Malou to give a look during preseason.|
|16||Nabi Kibunguchy||UC Davis||D||6-3||-|
|If Kibunguchy is available here, it'd be a great pick for LA, which can alwyas use the help at the back.|
|17||Andrew Pannenberg||Wake Forest||GK||6-3||195|
|Only two goalkeepers on the roster, NYCFC could go in this direction. Pannenberg has the tools to succeed, but there will be a long list of shot-stoppers they could choose from.|
|Another team with a new coach, Glass is an attack minded left back that serves in a great ball and defends well for one of college soccer's best programs.|
|19||Giuseppe Barone||Michigan State||M||5-9||160|
|It's been awhile since Barone played at a high level, after missing most of 2019 with an injury. He's a talented and technical midfielder that Orlando can add to their ranks.|
|Georgetown's leading striker could end up sticking around for the spring season, but he has pedigree and quality to add as a depth option.|
|With two first round picks, Colorado could look to move. A back line depth addition just might lead them to grabbing Maples, an accomplished and talented defender out of SMU.|
|Having played in central midfield at UCF, Perez will be known to the Orlando staff. Between him and Barone, Orlando could pit the two college products against each other for a roster spot.|
|A product of Seattle's Academy, Ragen excelled in his most recent season in 2019 and is another big center back worthy of a late first round pick.|
|24||Kristofer Strickler||Virginia Tech||F||5-10||-|
|Originally a walk on at the ACC program, Strickler scored goals for fun at a high level. Hes a smart player that moves well and is one of the best finishers in the college game.|
|A forward makes plenty of sense for Minnesota, which could use the depth of front. Kizza was a top striker in college soccer, but was kicked off the team during the 2020 season.|
|26||Matthew Constant||North Carolina||D||6-6||190|
The tall center back has the size to make an impact in MLS. Like other defenders, he'll need to show he can at least be adequate against the higher quality and pace.
Already possessing a deep roster, and some of the top Homegrown signings of late, the Crew are in a position where this pick may not make a difference. Panchot could come into camp and compete for a roster spot as a backup right back.
*Denotes Generation adidas signee.