The Montreal Impact will pick 14th overall in the first round of tomorrow's MLS SuperDraft. They also hold three second-round selections: their natural pick (34th), plus the picks of NYCFC (24th) and Columbus (39th) via the Jeb Brovsky and Jack McInerney trades respectively.
There isn't as much buzz around the SuperDraft this year for Montreal as there was last year when the team was picking 3rd overall amid rumors they were trying to trade up to the first spot to select Canadian forward Cyle Larin. The Impact would ultimately select Romario Williams with the 3rd pick. Thus far Williams has not been a large part of the Impact's current plans at forward. However, there are positive signs as he represented Jamaica at the U23 level this past year. Not to mention he could end up playing a larger role if Didier Drogba decides to retire and the Impact front office have a harder time than expected finding a replacement on the international market.
Former IMFC first-round selections include:
Andrew Wenger (1st in 2012)
Blake Smith (8th in 2013)
Eric Miller (5th in 2014)
Romario Williams (3rd in 2015)
Picking 14th overall means that this will be the lowest the Impact ever select in the first round in their MLS history. Generally a good sign because it implies that the team had a strong year, it also makes it difficult to make a successful selection because the draft pool in MLS does not have a history of producing a large number of "sure-fire" prospects - even in the first round.
With that in mind we take a look at some players the Impact may be targeting at the 14th spot.
Tyler David (CB)
At 6'2'' and 185 lbs, David could bring some depth to an Impact central defense that could be losing Victor Cabrera this year. This means that the Impact may be planning to start the season with either Hassoun Camara or Wandrille Lefevre beside Laurent Ciman. Although drafting David would not necessarily represent an immediate upgrade on these two, it might give the team some needed depth at the position in the event that lackluster play or injury derail either Camara of Lefevre's season. Moreover, David has played a little at the defensive-midfielder position. He was a starter at St. Louis in college for all four seasons and has a soccer lineage.
Dennis Castillo (RB)
Like David, Castillo has been a starter throughout his 4-year college soccer career. Castillo is a safe pick for the Impact because he offers a steady presence at right back - he's hard to beat. Interestingly, Castillo may be moved to his natural center-back position if paired with a teammate like Laurent Ciman (at 5'10'' and 160 lbs Castillo has previously lacked the size to play center-back, reports MLSsoccer.com). This natural tendency to be a "stay-at-home" type of central defender might explain his lack of ability to get forward. His skill set sounds like that of Donny Toia who found a very comfortable home in Montreal. Not to mention the Impact already have one Costa Rican player, Johan Venegas, who could help Castillo with the transition.
Emmanuel Appiah (M)
Appiah would be the Impact "going off the board" considering he may be available in the second round where the Impact have three selections. However, he may be exactly what the teams needs. He is described by MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle as a "pure destroyer" who can cover a lot of ground in the midfield. Sounds like exactly what the Impact need in the midfield long-term, perhaps an heir apparent to Marco Donadel. His goals and assists totals jumped last year in what was his fifth season playing at Cincinnati. The Impact may need to focus some attention on a central midfield that is aging which includes the likes of Patrice Bernier, Marco Donadel, and Nigel Reo-Coker. Appiah may be a spark plug here.
Which players do you think the Impact could be targeting at the 14th spot?