Round two of past MLS Drafts have been very kind to the San Jose Earthquakes. Notably, the reconstituted 2008 franchise selected Shea Salinas to lead off that round, and the 2010 edition picked up future MLS All-Stars Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour in the non-televised portion of the draft. These diamonds in the rough have been important contributors to the team, especially during the Supporters' Shield winning campaign of 2012.
So what surprise awaits the Quakes in this year's edition? Look new further that Canadian born target forward Mackenzie Pridham from just-down-the-interstate Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Pridham is a two-time Big West Offensive Player of the Year and scored 14 goals in his senior year. In four years with the Aggies, the stout target forward set a school record for career goals with 27 and was a constant threat up top to score even more. An avid surfer from his days living in Santa Cruz - Steven Lenhart will most certainly welcome this kindred spirit - Pridham attending high school in San Jose and has a strong family support group in the area. As for his prospects in the professional game, the 23-year old spent a lengthy spell last summer training with Toronto FC, so he knows just what it is going to take to succeed at the MLS level.
What the San Jose Earthquakes will be looking for in the draft: After filling in a hole at defender with the first pick in the draft, the Quakes will look to add to their offensive corps with Pridham. Not as tall as Lenhart or Alan Gordon, or has swift as newly acquired striker Atiba Harris, Pridham will join second-year forward Adam Jahn in the Earthquakes reserve side initially. However, if the production from the Bash Brothers takes a dive for the second straight season, Pridham might find himself with the opportunity to contribute right away.
Who the experts say the San Jose Earthquakes will pick: With all the aforementioned forwards already on the roster, it may seem criminal to spend a draft pick on another offensive player. However, the second round of the MLS Draft is where a team can afford to take a chance. For San Jose, taking a player with local connections that will be hungry to prove himself at the professional level is the true no-brainer.
Why QRG will invariably be wrong: The Quakes are notorious for staying within the bounds of California when selecting lower round talent in the draft, a condition that Pridham shares with many an ex-Earthquake. And therein lies the problem. Taking a flier on a local college kid when no one else seems worth the trouble only makes sense if the talent pool has at that point in the draft thinned out. Some intriguing names could be left at the 28th overall pick, and the Earthquakes just might need to go with whoever is deemed the best available.
Why QRG is smarter than the pundits: History suggests that the Quakes will select a player that has for his college career witnessed the setting of the sun over the Pacific Ocean with his own two eyes. Sure, a bruiser from the Big 10 or a racehorse from the ACC might be available at #28, but that won't stop the Earthquakes technical staff from California dreamin'.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|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|
|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|