The Columbus Crew will look to bolster their backline in the SuperDraft. There are plenty of options to help add depth for the upcoming playoff push in 2016.
The 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft is set to begin today at 1pm Eastern Time. Players who are eligible for the draft are clearly outlined by the MLS, “The majority of draft prospects are NCAA college seniors who have exhausted their college eligibility. Generation adidas players and non-collegiate international players are also eligible for selection in the SuperDraft. Clubs may nominate players for the League’s Draft-Eligible List, and only players from that list may be selected.” Each team is designated one pick per round. The draft order was based on the Supporter Shield standings. The team that recorded the least amount of points this past season- the Chicago Fire- will pick first. The draft will then take a “snake” format, which gives the team that picked last in the first round, the opportunity to pick first in the second round. That pattern will continue throughout the entirety of the draft. There are many players who are set to have an impact in the MLS next season. Who will the Columbus Crew select?
What do the Crew need?
The Crew scored the 2nd most goals of any team during the 2015 regular season. Their tally of 58 was only beaten by the 62 goals scored by the New York Red Bulls. Statistically, they do not need much offensive assistance. Kei Kamara led the team with 22 goals, Ethan Finlay posted 12, Federico Higuain had eight and Justin Meram had six. Kamara had a dominant season but the scoring threats came from all over for the Crew. Ethan Finlay had a breakout season in 2015 and should continue to contribute more to the attack. The Crew do not need to bolster their attack in the draft. Instead, they should look to build their defense.
Columbus surrendered 53 goals in 2015, the 6th most of all teams in the MLS and the 2nd highest amongst all teams that made the playoffs. The Crew need defensive support. They made lackadaisical errors in the regular and post season that led to carless goals against. Columbus needs to add defensive options to improve their depth. If they are able to do so, they can cut down on the amount of goals that they concede late in games.
Who are the candidates?
Liam Doyle, Cole Selier and Keegan Rosenberry. All three are defensive standouts and could immediately add depth to the Crew backline. All three players are seniors at Ohio State and Georgetown, respectively. Doyle and Selier are big strong center backs who can use their physicality to impose themselves during a game. Rosenberry has shown the ability to get forward while playing with Georgetown. Joining the attack as an outside back is key in the Crew offensive threat.
Doyle and Selier play centrally, Rosenberry plays out wide on the right. All players would be a good option for Columbus, who may be able to get two of them since they possess the second pick in the 2nd round. Regardless, the Crew need to start grooming another central defender to take the place of Michael Parkhurst. Parkhurst has been the mainstay for years but is 31 years of age and will need to be replaced soon.
Look for the Crew to add to their defensive depth during the draft later today. They were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season and still made it to the playoff final. If they add to their defensive depth there is no reason that they should not return for another playoff push in 2016.