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Whitecaps, TFC take chances on longshots in Supplemental Draft

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Michael Boxall
Earlier this year, Major League Soccer’s front office decided to reduce the number of rounds in the SuperDraft from four rounds to three, effective in 2011.

No one complained. That’s because, after the first round, almost every pick is considered a longshot — and the fourth round is usually where teams made deals for allocations or took fliers on players who had already committed to Europe, were coming off serious injuries, etc.

MLS expanded the Supplemental Draft to three rounds. It was held earlier today — and there’s a good chance that this will be the first and last time you’ll hear any of these players discussed as MLS prospects. In fact, the draft was done in less than an hour.

Three teams, D.C. United, Houston and the New York Red Bulls took passes in the third round, deciding that it wasn’t worth their while to make picks. Both Houston and D.C. are embarking on massive rebuilding projects, so that’s saying something about the quality of the third-round picks when they decide there’s nothing there for them. This wasn’t a case of a stacked team like a Real Salt Lake saying no — these are teams that you would think want as many young players as possible in camp.

So, who did Vancouver grab? The ‘Caps, as they did in the SuperDraft, held the first pick in the Supplemental Draft. With that pick, they grabbed New Zealander Michael Boxall from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Boxall had been expected to go in the SuperDraft but slipped badly in the eyes of the scouts during the combine.

Joe Anderson, a 24-year-old midfielder from Brampton, Ont (and the only Canadian selected in the Supplemental Draft by either Canadian MLS team) scored 10 times for Coastal Carolina, and was picked 19th overall by Vancouver. Santiago Bedoya, a small (five-foot-seven) defender from Northeastern University, was the ‘Caps final pick of the Supplemental Draft.

Toronto FC grabbed four players: Jimmy Banks, a midfielder from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, who scored 35 times in four seasons. Irish striker Steven Beattie scored 77 goals at Northern Kentucky University — in NCAA Division II soccer. Making the move to MLS would represent a massive leap. Midfielder Spencer Thompson, from Michigan State University, trained with the Reds in 2010 and could have potential, while Scott Rojo is a ball moving midfielder from High Point University.

“Rojo” is Spanish for red, so maybe that’s why TFC chose him.

As an interesting aside, Rojo and Anderson played against each other earlier this season; Anderson scored three times in a 3-1 win for Coastal Carolina over High Point, a win that pushed CCU into the NCAA tournament.

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