MLS Soccer

Sounders look for depth in MLS SuperDraft

The Washington Huskies could be about as busy as Seattle Sounders FC in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.

UW midfielder Cristian Roldan and left back Andy Thoma are expected to be among the top handful of selections once the draft begins at 9:30 a.m. in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the Sounders could have to wait considerably longer, as they hold the 27th and 40th picks in the two-round draft.

Seattle sent its first-round pick — 19th overall — to Toronto last season for goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The Reds subsequently shuffled that pick along to Colorado.

Unless they trade up, Seattle’s initial pick will be the second-rounder they acquired from Chivas USA along with Shalrie Joseph.

Sporting director Chris Henderson said the club goes into the draft looking for defensive depth and a third goalkeeper — perhaps simply guys who could develop on the new Sounders 2 USL-Pro team.

“We have to see at our picks what’s on the board, but I think (we could find) a younger goalkeeper, someone who can develop and push (incumbent Stefan Frei and newly acquired Troy Perkins),” Henderson said. “There can be plenty of opportunity between Champions League, Open Cup and S2 where they are going to get significant minutes.”

Expansion newcomer Orlando City SC will open the draft, with Connecticut forward Cyle Larin a leading candidate for the top pick. The Huskies could go soon after, as the MLSsoccer.com mock draft projects Roldan going to New York City FC with the second overall selection.

“I just want to end up at a team that has confidence and the belief that I will be successful with their team,” Roldan said this week from the MLS Combine in Florida.

“That’s the only thing I would probably ask for. I could care less where I possibly end up at. Obviously Seattle has been very good to me, but it doesn’t look like Seattle is a possibility right now.”

The mock draft show Thoma going as early as No. 3 to Montreal or as late as No. 15 to Dallas.

“I’m kind of anxious, a little nervous,” he said. “But it’s generally the greatest experience of my life so far.”

There is no such suspense for UW forward Darwin Jones, who last week signed a homegrown contract with the Sounders.

“He would have gone in the first round,” Henderson said. “Anything can happen in a three-game combine and players playing, but I think from what we’ve seen and the way Darwin plays, I think he would have stood out and gone pretty high.”

Partly because of such early signings, Henderson projects this as perhaps the weakest draft class he’s seen.

“I think some of the players signing, some of the players going overseas and different options thin the group out a little bit,” he said. “But there are some pieces in the first round that teams will be able to get and be able to build upon, especially the ones with the high picks.”

The draft will be carried by live stream on the MLSsoccer.com website.

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