Leading up to the 2011 MLS Draft, we've been discussing some of the possible players that D.C. United could draft with their third overall pick. We'd love to see the team select either Perry Kitchen or Darlington Nagbe, but neither seems likely to be available, and opinion appears to be split on Omar Salgado.
As our series rolls on leading up to the draft on Thursday, we take a look at Indiana's Will Bruin, who could be the forward most ready to contribute immediately for whichever MLS team is luckiest to acquire him.
Bruin started all 20 of Indiana's matches in 2010, and scored 18 goals as a junior. He really came on late in the season, showing maturity and leading his team to a Big Ten Championship win, and to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Akron.
All along I've been thinking of Bruin as a player who could have a first season similar to that of Zach Schilawski, who scored five goals for the New England Revolution last year, most of them off the bench. I could be shooting too low. Bruin is the type of player who would be expected to get plenty of time in our lineup, and could even start next to Josh Wolff and ahead of Joseph Ngwenya.
The question all along though has been whether United will be looking for someone who can play on March 19, or someone who could potentially turn into a 10-goal scorer and annual All-Star. I've always been under the impression that Salgado's ceiling is higher than Bruin's. But I've been wrong before.
Who knows. This argument could be irrelevant anyway if Kitchen is still on the board. But if he's not, I know what I'd do if both Salgado and Bruin are both available. I'd take the better long-term prospect.
I won't be surprised in the least though if Ben Olsen disagrees. He's got a job to do, and that job involves winning games. If Bruin gives United the best chance to win, then I'll happily welcome him to the team.