I don’t know anything about college soccer. Odds are, you don’t either. But if you, like me, are a sicko who craves information about new Whitecaps players then you want to know more about the players they selected in the MLS SuperDraft yesterday. So here is what I have been able to find out about them.
We are helped, this year, by MSA football (@MSAFootball_) releasing some data on the players eligible for the draft. So even if we can’t know these new players inside and out we can at least get a general sense of what they’re about.
Probably the only draft pick likely to see first-team football, Becher is generally described as a hard-working striker who’s not the fastest but can be a dangerous presence in the box. This should sound familiar since it describes basically every other striker the Whitecaps have on the books at the moment. It seems like the Whitecaps recruitment department is pretty enamored with this archetype of striker.
According to MSA, Becher averaged 0.87 xG+xA/90, essentially being involved in one expected goal almost every single game. They do not specify if penalties are included in the tally or not but in any case, this is pretty impressive. If he put these numbers up in MLS he would be a top 5 striker in the league. Obviously, it’s very unlikely that he will maintain that level of production at a pro-level but it is good that he was producing sustainable offence at the level he was playing. He also scored pretty well in the percentage of the duels he won, progressive passes, and touches in the 18-yard box compared to other strikers in the draft. So he seems to fit the muscular goal poacher mold that White and Cavallini fit but with perhaps a little bit more passing ability. It will be a very crowded field at striker with Theo Bair and David Egbo returning from loans.
Fall ‘21 Highlights pic.twitter.com/bCXlRzVjxN— Simon Becher (@simon_becher101) January 5, 2022
Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador
Second-round picks have a terrible record of making MLS teams. But the Whitecaps have a reserve team to fill next year and Fernandez-Salvador does have kind of an interesting profile. He appears to be a sort of NCAA Connor Gallagher. He scores highly in xG+xA/90 and duels won but not very high on progressive passes or passing accuracy.
Translating that type of game to MLS might be a bit difficult but on the off chance it works out they have his MLS rights and he’ll have a chance to show what he can do on the reserve team (one imagines).
Aguilar looks to be more of a defensive midfielder who doesn’t produce a lot of direct offence but scores highly in defensive actions, duels won, progressive passes, and progressive carries. The Whitecaps could really use a guy that does those things at the MLS level but history is pretty clear that 2nd round picks don’t have a great track record of making it to MLS.
Collomb is a surprisingly interesting player to me this deep in the draft. A striker whose numbers jump off the page with 0.97 xG+xA per game. However, MSA has also included a strength of schedule measure, which aims to show how difficult the opponents a player was facing were. Collomb had the easiest schedule of any striker eligible for the draft. So he was a very dominant player but it’s hard to know how seriously to take that dominance because it was against such a poor level of opposition. But what is a reserve team for if not taking crazy fliers on guys like this?
Dias was picked in a round that doesn’t exist anymore. The Whitecaps traded David Norman Jr. for a 4th round pick then the 4th round ceased to exist. So to compensate teams that had received 4th round picks in trades a few picks were tacked on at the end of the draft. Dias had a really high passing accuracy in the college game. But other than that there’s not a ton going on. He had a decent amount of progressive carries and xG+xA but the odds are stacked against him as a guy picked in a round that doesn’t exist.