Final 2021 Major League Soccer Mock Draft
Plenty of uncertainty awaits the 2021 edition of the MLS Draft.
But the pool of eligible players was set earlier this week. Five members of this year's class includes standouts from the ACC and Pac-12, despite the latter not playing in the fall of 2020.
Below is the second and final TopDrawerSoccer mock draft of the first round.
|The central midfielder is easily a top-two prospect in the draft pool after signing a Generation adidas deal. No one else makes more sense from either a talent or fit perspective.
|While Harris could provide much-needed quality to FC Cincinnati, the team doesn't have a lot of international roster spots to spend on a college player. Enter Bartlow (or Bauer) who could provide options at the back.
|Acquiring Tim Parker this week allows for the Dynamo expand this pick to other spots, whether it's a winger like Harris or Archimede. Pereira is another intriguing fit, as a tempo-setting midfielder that can dictate play with the ball.
|Depending on what D.C. has lined up behind the scenes, whomever of Bartlow or Bauer is available here is the best fit. They could at Harris if he's here, although they may not want to block their Homegrown wingers like Griffin Yow and Kevin Paredes.
|Atlanta's approach here will be fascinating. Do they opt for a Generation adidas player for the flexibility? Halsey could be a backup at right back, but going for an international in the draft seems unlikely. A center back makes sense as the team is light on experience behind Anton Walkes and Miles Robinson. Mabika excelled in his four years at Kentucky and brings enough quality with the ball to suggest he could fit here.
|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. Kimarni Smith seems like another option.
|Another top center back from the senior class, Kibunguchy won't have to be in a position to start right away, but adds to RSL's back line depth.
|Portland has shipped out a pair of outside backs (as well as added some) so they could look to Halsey, who brings versatility and roster flexibility in the form of his GA contract.
|If he doesn't go in the top two or three, Harris could certainly slide to this late -- or even further. That's not a knock on him, but probably the hesitancy of teams to use an international spot on an attacking player. He'd add to Vancouver's depth on the wings if they go in this direction.
|There are needs all over the field for new head coach Phil Neville, who will have his hands full rebuilding and retooling Miami's roster. Do they burn an international spot on a college player? It seems a stretch but Archimede has the profile to be an effective winger in the league -- he just needs to add more end pdocut.
|Austin can look to address just about any spot on the field, and on draft day will hope a second GA player falls to them here. Drack's versatility could be an asset as the expansion franchise comes together, and he's a true left-footer that played more of an attacking role in college but projects as a left 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.
|The Red Bulls could grab Penn here and make a pitch to him to join the Red Bulls family after he signed with Indy Eleven in August. It's difficult to know just how teams will approach players signed to USL teams, but the winger would be an asset to the MLS side and put himself in a better position to make a transfer to Europe down the road.
|A talented player with the ball, a source suggested that Perez is close to obtaining his Green Card. That likely boosts him into the first round, as he's a ball-progressing central midfielder that can add quality to any team's midfield.
|Matt Di Rosa
|Bringing in a true left-footed player to compete for time at left back could allow John Nelson to backup the right back spot. Di Rosa could be one of the candidates from the senior class to be an effective player in MLS.
|Rebuidling the back line for new head coach Greg Vanney has to be priority one in LA. Hope-Gund is a strong center back that can pass well with both feet and should be in the frame for a roster spot.
|There's strong buzz about Kleeman going in the first round, despite the fact that he didn't play in the fall. He's a big central defender that can compete physically from day one of preseason, bringing reinforcements for the NYCFC back line.
|A longtime veteran of various U.S. youth national teams, Panchot has been one of college soccer's best right backs in his three seasons at Stanford. He'd be a great pick here as a backup for Richie Laryea, even if he's not quite as attack-minded as the Canadidan defender.
|Sporting KC II
|Stanley left Duke after the 2019 college season, playing in 2020 for Portland Timbers 2. He recently joined Sporting KC II, but is draft eligible and would be a good backup for Joao Moutinho.
|One of a few teams in need of a goalkeeper, Pannenberg is one of a trio of ACC goalkeepers Nashville could pick here. Mathijs Swaneveld and Colin Shutler are two other options.
|Colorado dips back into the attacking end of the field here, snapping up the Big West standout from 2019.
|The dynamic central midfielder could fill in as an effective presser in the middle of the park. He's versatile as well, allowing for Oscar Pareja to try and use him in a handful of spots.
|The Hoya left back has signed a deal with the Revolution II but is still a first-round caliber player. The Whitecaps can give him a look as a depth option.
|While Bruce Arena's disdain for the draft was evident at LA, he's gone a good job since taking over at New England in identifying and bringing in contributors. Strickler's a proven goal-scorer in the ACC that can be picked here and brought the the ranks with Revolution II.
|Minnesota won't find a starting forward here (most likely) but could run over options available to see if they can secure a roster spot up front. Edward Kizza is another option.
|A left-sideded midfielder, Flanagan is a candidate to play as a left back in MLS. Ben Sweat and Mikey Ambrose both moved on, making it a likely spot for Miami to look and fill at some point in the draft.
|UC Santa Barbara
It'll be interesting to see what teams make of Michael, a talented winger that thrived when last seen in 2019. The Crew can grab him with the final pick in the first round to see if he can join their rotation of wingers.
*Denotes Generation adidas signee.
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