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MLS Mock Draft: San Jose Earthquakes select Cal Poly forward Mackenzie Pridham with No. 28 pick

As the SB Nation MLS Mock Draft moved into round two, some intriguing names started to slip down the board. By the time the San Jose Earthquakes made their selection at #28, two-time Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year Mackenzie Pridham was still available. The prolific target forward was too tempting to pass up.

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)

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