Like the actual MLS SuperDraft, the mock draft we run every year with our friends at the other SB Nation sites that cover MLS teams is hard to predict.
I went into the draft ready to select Logan Gdula with the Philadelphia Union’s 13th pick but when I saw that JJ Williams was still available I decided I couldn’t pass over a player who is arguably one of the top prospects in this year’s draft pool and who also happens to be a Reading United alum.
A target forward from Alabama, Williams had a break-out season in Kentucky pairing with Union Academy grad Kalil ElMedkhar in the attack. His 18 goals were third most in Division 1 and he added eight assists (ElMedkhar had 11 goals and 10 assists). With Kacper Pryzbylko re-signed for 2019 and Cory Burke and CJ Sapong both still on the roster, Williams would be deep on the depth chart to start the season but as a Generation adidas player he would also be off-budget, which we all know the Union would have trouble resisting.
Injuries limited him somewhat in his one season with Reading United in 2017 — he had a goal in 7 appearances — and he didn’t return last summer, but the Union could do worse than drafting one of the top attacking prospects should he still be available with the 13th pick. Williams gets a lot of attention for his size — 6-foot-4, 200 pounds — but he’s also very skilled with his feet and has shown an ability to combine with other attackers to bolster an offense, something he’d get a chance to prove all over again in USL.
Defensive depth or a back-up goalkeeper could also be wise uses of the team’s first round pick and likely only first team signing from this year’s draft (Bethlehem Steel FC will likely end up with two or three of their later round picks).
The college draft, which the league still insists on branding the SuperDraft, will be held this Friday in Chicago. The Union have two picks — No. 29 via the Fabian Herbers trade with Chicago Fire and 37 — in the second round. The third and fourth rounds will be held via conference call at a later date. The Union have the 61st and 85th overall picks in the final two rounds.
SB Nation MLS Mock Draft
1. FC Cincinnati – Tajon Buchanon
2. San Jose Earthquakes – Frankie Amaya
3. Orlando City – Callum Montgomery
4. FC Dallas – Siad Haji
5. Chicago Fire – Akeem Ward
6. Toronto FC – Dayne St. Clair
7. Minnesota United – Brad Dunwell
8. Houston Dynamo – Griffin Dorsey
9. New England Revolution – Sergio Rivas
10. FC Dallas – John Nelson
11. Revolution – Marcello Borges
12. LA Galaxy – Prosper Figbe
13. Philadelphia Union – JJ Williams
14. D.C. United – Logan Gdula
15. Colorado Rapids – Andre Shinyashiki
16. Los Angeles FC – Wouter Verstraaten
17. Real Salt Lake – DeJuan Jones
18. Columbus Crew – Ryan Sierakowski
19. New York City FC – Santiago Patiño
20. Seattle Sounders – Hassani Dotson
21. Sporting KC – Camden Riley
22. New York Red Bulls – Peter-Lee Vassell
23. Portland Timbers – Abdi Mohamed
24. Atlanta United – Rece Buckmaster