MLS Mock Draft: Whitecaps select Nikita Kotlov with the No. 30 pick

Photo courtesy of Indiana athletics

Might the Indiana midfielder be the replacement for Jun-Marques Davidson?

MLS is a gritty, physical league, and while that sounds like it might not suit the 5'9 Kotlov, scouts are praising his never ending motor, his tenacity and hard work on the pitch. You can never have too many hard workers on your team, especially on a club where some young players (*cough DARREN MATTOCKS *cough) have had their work ethic come into question. He's known as a smart two way player, which could work well now that defensive specialist Jun-Marques Davidson is gone.

Another plus; his thrown in's are known as herculean, a nifty asset to have on the pitch, especially in the offensive end. However, like most rookies, he needs to learn to beat MLS defenders one on one, and he must overcome his lack of size.

Who the experts say Vancouver will pick: Joey Dillon, mostly. Tomato, tomato. (That doesn't really work in print, I guess.) Another midfielder chosen to add some depth to a club that desperately needs a playmaker beyond Russell Teibert, who spends most of his time up front anyways. Dillon is more in the aforementioned 'Jun-Marques Davidson' mold, which might not mesh with Carl Robinson's system. We know that the fired Martin Rennie saw the value in the holding spot, will Robinson have a new approach?

Why I’m invariably wrong: Kotlov is very small, and the Whitecaps already have a pint-sized hero in Camilo. Plus, will the Whitecaps really be looking to add more defensive midfielders? If that was the case, surely they would have re-signed Davidson, who was a specialist in that category. The club may want to extract as much midfield creativity and attacking from this draft, as opposed to defensive ability.

Why I’m smarter than the pundits: If Kotlov comes as advertised, then he's basically the energizer bunny with a penchant for locking down the midfield defensively. That is something that would be very tempting to pass up, especially when you consider it would free up Gershon Koffie to perhaps make more of an impact offensively. He tried his best in the holding role at times last season, and while he actually did pretty well, you'd like to see him in the attack more.


Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
1. D.C. United Black and Red United Patrick Mullins
2. Philadelphia Union Brotherly Game Steve Neumann
3. Vancouver Whitecaps 86 Forever Andre Blake
4. Columbus Crew Massive Report Steve Birnbaum
5. FC Dallas Big D Soccer Christian Dean
6. Union Brotherly Game Marlon Hairston
7. Whitecaps 86 Forever Damion Lowe
8. Chicago Fire Hot Time In Old Town Grant Van De Casteele
9. San Jose Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Eric Miller
10. Montreal Impact Mount Royal Soccer A.J Corrado
11. Colorado Rapids Burgundy Wave Schillo Tshuma
12. New England Revolution The Bent Musket JJ Koval
13. Seattle Sounders Sounder at Heart Aodhan Quinn
14. LA Galaxy LAG Confidential Fifi Baiden
15. Toronto FC Waking the Red AJ Cochran
16. Houston Dynamo Dynamo Theory Mamadou Diouf
17. Portland Timbers Stumptown Footy Reinaldo Brenes
18. Real Salt Lake RSL Soapbox Ben Sweat
19. Revolution The Bent Musket Marco Franco

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
20. Chivas USA The Goat Parade Enrique Cardenas
21. Sounders Sounder at Heart Taylor Peay
22. New York Red Bulls Once a Metro Pete Caringi
23. Crew Massive Report Pedro Ribeiro
24. Toronto FC Waking the Red Joey Dillon
25. Union Brotherly Game Jared Watts
26. Timbers Stumptown Footy Kevin Cope
27. Union Brotherly Game Kyle Venter
28. Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Mackenzie Pridham
29. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Jimmy Ockford
30. Whitecaps 86 Forever Nikita Kotlov
31. Revolution The Bent Musket Victor Chavez
32. Dynamo Dynamo Theory Kristopher Tyrpak
33. Rapids Burgundy Wave Rafael Diaz
34. Red bulls Once a Metro Alex Martinez
35. Rapids Burgundy Wave Zach Bolden
36. Timbers Stumptown Footy Mark Sherrod
37. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Michael Calderon
38. Sporting Kansas City The Daily Wiz

Romena Bowie
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