Mikey Lopez Falls Into Sporting’s Lap During MLS SuperDraft

In the past six days MLS has held both its SuperDraft and, more recently, its Supplemental Draft. For Sporting Kansas City, the net result of all this delicious draft goodness is the addition of five new faces.

North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez is now a member of Sporting. (Photo Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Before we get to the results of yesterday’s Supplemental Draft (covered in an article coming soon!), let’s rewind to last Thursday when the SuperDraft was held in Indianapolis. Sporting went into the draft with only their first round pick (14th overall) since they dealt their two second round picks to acquire Josh Gardner from Montreal and Ike Opara from San Jose in separate December trades.

At pick number 14 there seemed to be some consensus that SKC would wind up with Dillon Powers but after reading up on the Notre Dame midfielder my expectation was that he’d be off the board by the time our hometown team was on the clock. That expectation became reality when the Colorado Rapids selected Powers 11th overall.

Other mocks had Sporting landing either VCU forward Jason Johnson, Maryland midfielder John Stertzer or Kentucky midfielder Matt Lodge. Stertzer and Johnson were selected right after Powers by Real Salt Lake (12th) and Houston (13th). Matt Lodge was not selected in either the first or second round so that projected pick proved to be wildly off base.

Based on the above you might be thinking that Sporting was left to grasp at straws that weren’t ideal fits for their team and system. In reality it appears that the draft broke in their favor as North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez was still on the board. SKC selected him and were immediately met with praise from many independent sources for their selection. Some went so far as to label Lopez the “steal of the draft.”

Curious to know where he was slotted in the mocks heading into Thursday’s draft, I went back and was pleasantly surprised. Two of the three analysts on MLS.com’s mock had Lopez going second overall Chivas USA while the third had him going 12th to Real Salt Lake. Top Drawer Soccer had the UNC midfielder as the third player off the board with Toronto FC his destination. Finally in the SBN mock draft, it was the Columbus Crew that wound up with Lopez at pick number nine.

No matter the source and no matter how you slice it, Mikey Lopez fell in to Sporting’s lap. Thankfully they didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth or over think things. They simply made the logical selection and went about their day with smiles all around.

Based on the scouting reports I’ve read, Lopez seems to be an ideal player to land in Peter Vermes’ system. It’s a sentiment that Vermes reiterated when he stated that Lopez, “fits our ideal situation at the moment.” As a Generation Adidas player, his salary will not count against the team’s salary cap until he completes the program. This certainly isn’t a reason to draft or avoid a given player, but a little extra payroll flexibility is always a bonus.

Currently a member of Under-20 US Men’s National Team, the 19-year old Lopez was recently in Puebla, Mexico training  in a CONCACAF U-20 camp with 19 other players. Among those 19 is Sporting goalkeeper, and Overland Park native, Jon Kempin.

For more on Sporting’s 2013 SuperDraft selection head over to his pre-draft profile on the MLS Soccer site. Some of my favorite quotes from his profile are:

Fiesty, terrier kind of guy but can be an attacking midfielder in MLS … Has the ability to compete for playing time in his first year in midfield

Has all the tools. He’s very creative … Extremely hard working, great lungs, can run all day. He’s a pitbull .. Box-to-box guy and he’s good at it … Major quality is his ability to close down and he’s very much a defensive-minded player … Puts out fires

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like our kind of player!

Editorial Note: for some direct quotes from both Peter Vermes and Mikey Lopez head here and enjoy.

Topics: Mikey Lopez, Sporting Kansas City

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