New England Soccer Today

Odds & Ends from the MLS Combine

Photo credit: Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports

The latest crop of college prospects got their final chance to impress MLS coaching staffs on Tuesday as the league’s annual player combine wrapped up in earnest with the final matchday at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla.

Among the coaching staffs who paid particularly close attention during the showcase was that of the Revolution, which is set to pick 10th overall at Thursday’s SuperDraft. The club also owns picks in second and third rounds with the 30th and 51st overall selections, respectively. Their fourth round pick was traded to Vancouver as part of the 2014 Daigo Kobyashi trade.

With all 20 clubs set to reconvene in Baltimore for the draft, let’s take a look at some Revolution-related items from the Combine.

-Will the Revolution take another Georgetown Hoya in the first round? If they do, defender Keegan Rosenberry appears to be the best fit. The 22-year-old fullback appears to have the the speed, smarts and skill to man the vacant right back’s spot. He was ranked as the top right back prospect at the Combine, and for those into metrics, Rosenberry was second in the vertical jump, and fourth in the agility test.

-If Rosenberry’s off the board by the 10th selection, another player who the Revolution may select is the versatile Jordan McCrary from North Carolina. Similar to Rosenberry, McCrary appears to have the athleticism Heaps craves in his defensive players, as evidenced by recording the fourth-best vertical jump at the combine. Granted, he may not have the same attacking ambition that Rosenberry possesses, but that’s a trait that can be acquired in right environment. By the way, did we mention he’s versatile?

-Revolution Youth Academy product Mitchell Taintor had a decidedly quiet combine. The 6-2 defender/midfielder entered the showcase without Homegrown Protection status, and the situation is probably not going to change after an unremarkable showing. He saw time at center back and in the midfield, but didn’t quite distinguish himself as a coveted prospect. At this juncture, he looks like a second-day pick, whom the Revolution could potentially select for preseason trialing purposes.

-You have to wonder “What if?” when it comes to Berkshire School graduate and 2014-15 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year Jack Harrison, the intriguing Generation adidas prospect out of Wake Forest. According to reports, New York City FC had Homegrown Protection dibs (which were subsequently denied) on the 19-year-old midfielder because the Revolution don’t have Homegrown territorial rights in Western Massachusetts. While attacking prospects are usually big gambles (especially those who sit out the Combine), Harrison, a product of the Manchester United youth system, the Revolution could’ve benefited from adding Harrison without having to go through the draft, especially with plenty of roster space to fill between now and First Kick. If Harrison turns out to be the real deal, you can bet general manager Michael Burns will be asking the league to re-draft the Homegrown geographical territories the next time they come up for discussion.

-For the second time four years, the consensus top pick is a Big East defender, as Georgetown’s Josh Yaro appears to be head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class. The last time we heard this much hype about a “can’t miss” defensive prospect was Louisville’s Andrew Farrell, who had similarly had coaches and scouts salivating despite a disappointing combine. While the Revolution traded up to the first pick to select Farrell, it’s highly unlikely they’ll do the same to get Yaro this time around.

-Not a huge deal, but something worth a mention: a collection of combine participants were given a survey regarding MLS items, and surprise, surprise, not one prospect named Gillette Stadium as their favorite MLS park. Earth-shattering? Not quite. Another thing that didn’t quite show well for the local XI: the Revolution didn’t receive a single vote in the “favorite MLS club” category. If perception is reality, then these responses serve as the latest reminder that the Revolution have a long way to go in the marketing department.

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