If you ignore the twenty or so homegrowns the New York Red Bulls just signed, it seems that this is a pretty solid draft class for Major League Soccer this year.
The New England Revolution have long been accustomed to good draft picks, turning late round picks like Chris Tierney into one of the league's best left backs. Their success recently in the first round with Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Farrell, Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann is a credit to the front office's ability to wheel and deal to either get good players in the first round or good value by trading their pick.
The 10th overall pick on the surface doesn't seem all that great, probably too far to move up and get top defender like Joshua Yaro, projected first in both drafts, to address the depth in the backline. But there are still good options for the Revs from TopDrawerSoccer and SoccerByIves.
Bolstering central midfield options is a priority of New England's, and they could fashion Buescher's quality into a stay at home midfielder capable of maintaining possession and creating chances from deeper central positions. (TDS)
SBI - (13th Pick to DCU) - Ben Olsen's side are expected to lose Perry Kitchen this winter, as he hits the open market after his contract expired, and that leaves a gaping hole in central midfield. Buescher is coming off a standout season that saw him help lead Syracuse to the NCAA Final Four. A box-to-box midfielder with good attacking qualities, Buescher would be a Generation adidas signing if he's in the draft, though he has yet to accept the offer MLS has already made to him. (SBI)
I'm going to disagree with the TDS guys on this one, because replacing Jermaine Jones and building midfield depth are two entirely different things. The draft is no place to try and target Jones, which is why there are already reports that the Revs are targeting former SKC man Oriol Rosell from partner club Sporting CP.
Scott Caldwell is entrenched in the starting lineup and is coming off his best offensive season as a professional. It's also possible the Revs would go with him as a single holding midfielder next year to get another attacking mid/striker onto the field if a replacement for Jones isn't found. Daigo Kobayashi resigned as the veteran backup and homegrown Zach Herivaux yet to make his MLS debut and with both capable of playing the holding role, I'd rather see the Revs target defense in the draft.
Defenders are usually one of the best "ready-for-MLS" positions coming from the college ranks and with the Revs thin in the middle and the right side, our next draft pick seems more logical.
The Revs aren't going to find a replacement for Jermaine Jones in the draft, but could find a player capable of helping address the right back position. McCrary is versatile enough to play either fullback position well, and boasts the speed and attacking qualities to be a first-year starter. (SBI)
TDS - (13th to DCU) - It's no secret D.C. United has always built pragmatically from the back under Ben Olsen, and McCrary would be an immediate fit in Olsen's system. He's versatile but probably projects as a raiding outside back at the next level, giving them depth on both flanks. (TDS)
One of the things the Revolution will miss most about Kevin Alston, recently claimed in the Re-Entry Draft by Orlando, is his attacking qualities from the fullback spot. Last year the right back spot was a revolving door for the Revs with Andrew Farrell moving inside to centerback to cover for the loss of A.J. Soares.
Alston, Jeremy Hall and London Woodberry all had turns at the starting spot and each showed different strengths and weaknesses at the position. Woodberry's crossing and service was dominant for New England's attack early in the year and Hall was a solid defense first player who helped steady a shaky backline. Utility man Darrius Barnes missed most of the year to injury and will be back for 2016.
But McCrary would be an immediate replacement for Alston at the fullback position, and a decent attacking one as well. Being able to play both flanks doesn't hurt either, though with Chris Tierney locking down the left side the immediate need is on the right for the Revs. This, in my opinion, is the better prospect for the Revs assuming that he's still on the board when the Revs pick.
Does that mean Buescher is a bad option? Certainly not, and he would be a Generation Adidas player for salary cap purposes, a very enticing pick for anyone picking near the middle of the first round and looking for value. But if it came to minutes in MLS, I'd rather see the Revs give those minutes to Herivaux than a first round draft pick at the same position.
Also interesting is that both TopDrawer and Ives have same players picked at 10th for the Revs and 13th for DC United. Galarcep's logic for Buescher as a replacement for the departing Perry Kitchen makes a lot of sense if he's still on the board. Both sites do peg skill sets that each team can use from each of the two players we've highlighted above, but I'm far more comfortable with the Revs in the central midfield than I am in defense.
The only negative I can see with the McCrary pick is that Jay Heaps went to Duke and would never hear the end of it from Coach K if he drafted a Tar Heel.
Galarcep also projected Louisville midfielder Ben Strong to the Revs in the 2nd round with the 30th overall pick.