During the Jay Heaps era, the Revolution have grown accustomed to selecting near the top of the MLS SuperDraft. In fact, the club has enjoyed five top-ten picks in the past five years, drafting the likes of Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Farrell and Patrick Mullins (now with D.C. United).
But this year, after sending its highest pick to Columbus in exchange for Kei Kamara, the Revs will have to wait until the end of the first round to make a selection.
Could the club find a steal after the elite talent has left the board? Here are four players—each selected 20th overall—who prove there's still value at the end of round one.
1. Tommy McNamara
College: Brown (2009-2012), Clemson (2013)
Draft snapshot: Drafted in 2014 by Chivas USA
Career stat line: 55 appearances (49 starts), 11 goals, 12 assists
Don’t confuse McNamara’s team hopping—he’s joined three MLS clubs in three seasons—as a knock on his quality. After making six starts for Chivas USA in 2014, McNamara moved to NYCFC by way of D.C. United and immediately latched on in the Bronx. He scored five goals in his first season in New York (15 starts) while displaying a knack for finishing spectacular long-distance strikes.
In 2016, McNamara proceeded to turn in a career year, contributing five goals and nine assists in 28 starts. His performance has raised questions about his international future, as the 25-year-old fan favorite holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland.
While McNamara admits he hasn’t heard from U.S. coach Bruce Arena or Ireland coach Martin O’Neill, his future looks bright in MLS and beyond.
2. Baggio Husidic
College: University of Illinois at Chicago (2006-2008)
Draft snapshot: Drafted in 2009 by the Chicago Fire
Career stat line: 137 appearances (95 starts), 14 goals, 17 assists
Husidic, a small school product born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, failed to earn long-term commitments from either of his first two professional clubs. The Chicago Fire declined his 2012 contract option. And Hammarby IF (Sweden) employed him for just two seasons.
Yet prior to the 2014 season, the LA Galaxy gave Husidic a go, signing him on a free transfer after previously acquiring his MLS rights. Husidic shined in his first season on the west coast, contributing five goals and four assists while appearing in every regular-season match. As Revolution fans know all too well, Husidic went on to play an integral role in the Galaxy’s MLS Cup run.
Now eight years removed from his rookie campaign, Husidic has remained a steady contributor for the Galaxy, collecting nine goals and 11 assists in three seasons. He earned a call up to the Bosnian national team in May 2016 and—with better health—likely would have earned another.
It took some time, but Husidic has peaked as a reliable MLS starter on an elite MLS club.
3. Ryan Hollingshead
College: UCLA (2009-2012)
Draft snapshot: Drafted in 2013 by FC Dallas
Career stat line: 73 appearances (51 starts), 4 goals, 3 assists
During his career at UCLA, Hollingshead accomplished as much as any player in the 2013 draft. He received NSCAA All-America honors, won Pac-12 Player of the Year and earned All-Pac-12 recognition three years in a row.
Yet despite this resume, Hollingshead fell to FC Dallas with the 20th pick in the 2013 SuperDraft. He didn’t feature for the club until 2014, as the California native opted out of his first season to build a church in Sacramento and serve an orphanage in Haiti. Then a midfielder, he played just 289 minutes for the Toros during his delayed rookie season.
It wasn’t until 2015, when FC Dallas Head Coach Oscar Pareja moved him to left back, that Hollingshead hit his stride in MLS. Technical and attack-minded, the former UCLA standout appeared in 33 of 34 regular-season matches while contributing two goals and three assists. He turned in another solid campaign in 2016, scoring a pair of goals in 29 appearances (22 starts).
Sadly, a car accident will impede on Hollingshead’s 2017 campaign, as the defender fractured three different vertebrae after being struck by a car. He is expected to return to the field by April. The Bent Musket wishes Ryan a speedy recovery and a productive fourth season in MLS.
4. Calum Mallace
College: Marquette (2008-2011)
Draft snapshot: Drafted in 2012 by the Montreal Impact
Career stat line: 73 appearances (47 starts), 1 goal, 6 assists
The versatile, Scottish-born midfielder barely made an impact during his first two seasons, logging a combined 325 minutes of play. But after navigating loans to Minnesota United (then of the NASL) and, at one point, 17 straight matches as an unused sub, Mallace emerged as an MLS regular. He appeared in 49 matches (33 starts) from 2014-2015 while playing a significant role in Montreal’s performance in the CONCACAF Champions League and AMWAY Canadian Championship.
Mallace’s shining moment arrived in March 2015, when he set up Cameron Porter for a 94th-minute aggregate winner that stunned Mexican-side Pachuca in the Champions League quarterfinal.
In 2016, Mallace endured a down year, serving as a spot-starter and defensive substitute. But at 27-years old, he still has plenty of career ahead—and plenty of opportunity to re-discover his top form.