D.C. United owns the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 MLS Draft. We're reviewing some of the top college soccer players who might be worth Ben Olsen's consideration in the first round.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Akron's attack was lead by a speedy, skillful attacker born abroad. He'll be picked very early in the MLS SuperDraft, and can be counted on to make a real impact on his team from the word go.
Yes, this happened again. Just like Steve Zakuani, Teal Bunbury, and Darlington Nagbe before him, Darren Mattocks is coming out of Akron as the top attacking prospect in this year's draft. The Jamaican - who is already a member of his country's U-23 national team pool - scored a ridiculous 21 goals in 22 games this past season, and finished his two collegiate seasons with 39 goals in just 47 matches.
Mattocks would be an early draft pick on the basis of his goalscoring record alone, but the 21 year old carries the added benefit of being part of this year's Generation Adidas class. Selecting a player like this without having his salary count against the salary cap is essentially a no-brainer; even MLS's most foolish front offices are fully aware of the fact that Mattocks could step in and start for most MLS teams, and would contribute regularly for all 19 clubs. When MLSsoccer.com's Travis Clark compares you to Omar Cummings, you are a player in demand.
What makes Mattocks special? His high-end speed is what jumps out and grabs your attention, but he matches that with sharp finishing, a good first touch, and more than adequate ability as a passer. Mattocks is also smart enough off the ball to make his speed count, unlike many MLS speedsters that run themselves into blind alleys. Add all those things up and you have a player that should be dangerous in MLS from day one.
Mattocks would be an automatic pick for a United side that needs a starting striker ... but there's no chance of him falling to No. 7. He and Andrew Wenger are locks to go first and second, so for United to grab him, we'd have to trade up. The terms of such a deal would be hard to guess - the Vancouver Whitecaps seem more easy to con into a bad deal than the Montreal Impact at this point - but if I've learned anything about the MLS draft, it's that you can't be sure about anything.