The MLS Combine in Florida just wrapped. All 23 MLS teams are now officially on the clock in Philadelphia for the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
Some 60 college players showcased their skills at Orlando City Stadium in a chance to be selected with No. 1 come Friday. With LAFC still currently holding on to the No. 1 pick in the 2018 SuperDraft, here’s a run through of some of the intriguing names.
Ema Twumasi - Wake Forest, Midfielder
A native of Ghana, Twumasi enters the SuperDraft on the back of a strong sophomore season with Wake Forest. A gifted attacker, the midfielder upped his final product from six goals and four assists to ten goals and seven assists in his second collegiate season. Still a raw talent, Twumasi has a potential high ceiling if given time to develop.
Tomas Hilliard-Arce - Stanford, Defender
Hilliard-Arce won it all at Stanford. The 2018 College Cup Defensive MVP was an integral part of the three-time College Cup champs in his time with the Cardinal. Not as flashy as some of the other names on this list, the Hilliard-Arce's steady play at the center of defense proved sometimes the less you hear a defender’s name, the better.
Jon Bakero - Wake Forest, Forward
The son of former Barcelona midfielder Jose Mari Bakero, this year’s Hermann Trophy winner led the collegiate ranks in scoring with 16 goals and 14 assists. Deployed as a striker at Wake Forest, Bakero is equally adept at scoring and setting up goals. Coaches and scouts have been keen on his movement off the ball and all-around soccer intelligence.
Christopher Mueller – Wisconsin, Forward
The 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Mueller led the country with 20 assists in his senior season. One of the more technically gifted players in the draft, Mueller has the ability to play just off a main striker or out wide. Improving on his goal tallies each of his four season at Wisconsin, the forward has shown he’s as adept at creating goals, as he is at scoring them.
Joao Moutinho – Akron, Defender
Coming to Akron by way of the Sporting Lisbon Academy, Moutinho had a stellar freshman season at center back for the Zips. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, Moutinho brings poise to any backline he is a part of. It’s thought he’d slot in at left back on the professional level, but with his ability to pick out a pass from the back, he could be an asset as a defensive midfielder in MLS.
Pol Calvet Planellas – Pittsburgh, Midfielder
Planellas joined the Pittsburgh Panthers by way of the Barcelona Academy. A central cog in the Pittsburgh midfield, the Spainard earned All-ACC honors in his only season with the Panthers. A classic No. 10 for much of his youth career, Planellas has shown the ability to shield a defense in a holding role as well.
Francis Atuahene - Michigan, Forward
Another native of Ghana, Atuahene’s 1-v-1 skills and speed stood out at the MLS Combine. Limited to 11 starts in his junior season, he still managed six goals and four assists. Has no problem creating shooting opportunities but could use a bit of polish on his finishing skills.
Tristan Blackmon – Pacific, Defender
A right back by trade, Blackmon has the size and versatility to play almost anywhere on the pitch. Has the level of fitness necessary to bomb up the right side for a full 90 minutes. Coaches and scouts like his ability to contribute on both sides of the ball.
Jon Gallagher – Notre Dame, Forward
In his senior season with Notre Dame, Gallagher found the net 13 times, adding two assists. The forward is no stranger to professional soccer having trails with the likes of Juventus, Olympique Marseille, and Newcastle United as a youth player. A two-time All-ACC First Team selection, Gallagher finished his collegiate career with 39 goals in 84 appearances.
Mason Toye – Indiana, Forward
Toye was one of the youngest players at this year’s MLS Combine. He led the Hoosiers with 10 goals in his freshman season and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Not afraid to take on his marker, Toye can lead the line and hold the ball up when necessary. Scouts like his high upside but he remains very raw in comparison to other players on this list.