Shak and Sakiewicz
Ten Worst: SuperDraft picks
January 14, 2021

Are you exciting about the upcoming SuperDraft? We're not. At least we're hoping that Denis Hamlett doesn't convince Kevin Thelwell to adhere to his tradition of buying draft picks for allocation money (and then not having those draft picks make any kind of positive impact).

In fact, with some minor exceptions, our recent draft history has been absolutely brutal. But where does it stand when compared to the early years? Let's look at the ten worst SuperDraft picks in Metro history... so our list will not include anyone drafted before 2000, when the selection process was split into college and supplemental drafts. (Of course, MLS also had various other supplemental drafts afterwards... let's just get on with it!)

  • 10) Zeiko Lewis: 17th, 2017 or Cherif Dieye: 15th, 2020
    Take your pick: two speedy wingers, both drafted late in the first round, both would have wasted international slots (if they made the team), both were average (if that) in their lone seasons in the USL, both never played an MLS game. Take a bow, Ali Curtis and Denis Hamlett!

  • 9) Eric Brunner: 16th, 2008
    Brunner, the highest draft pick in 2008, never stepped on the field for Metro. When Juan Carlos Osorio decided to sign Toronto castoff Andrew Boyens, Brunner was offered a demotion to a developmental contract. He refused; Metro released him, and traded his rights to Columbus a year later... Where he immediately became a starting defender on a team that won the Supporters Shield. But at least Metro got something for him: a second round pick in the 2011 draft that became Tyler Lassiter... so that's something, but not much.

  • 8) Babajide Ogunbiyi: 18th, 2009
    What did Metro get for Ogunbiyi? Jack squat. Supposedly, they offered him a senior deal, then withdrew it. Ogunbiyi had enough, went to Europe, trialed with a number of teams, and ended up in Denmark, starting for Viborg. The player drafted with the next pick was another defender, A. J. DeLaGarza, who became an MLS stalwart. Ogunbiyi actually came back to Metro three years later... but his contract was terminated before he played a match for health reasons.

  • 7) Tony Tchani: 2nd, 2010
    Tchani was not a bad player, but the fact that Metro used the second overall pick on him pushes him to this list. (With the next pick, Ike Opara came off the board.) At the draft, Tchani famously proclaimed that he had never seen an MLS game... the lack of acumen showed on the field. He was pedestrian in his lone full season with Metro, and was dumped a game into 2011 to Toronto in the Dwayne De Rosario trade. An up-and-down MLS career followed.

  • 6) Corey Hertzog: 13th, 2011
    There were high hopes for the forward from Penn State, but they never materialized. He did score in an Open Cup win against minor league FCNY (not to be confused with the blue poseurs, who were not even in embryonic state back then), but never started a league match, playing in seven games total. None of those came in his second season, which Hertzog spent mostly on loan in the USL. He has become a rather competent minor-league scorer, but that seems to be his limit. Did this website once plead for Hertzog to be given a chance? No comment.

  • 5) Patrick Seagrist: 10th, 2020
    Hamlett dumped $100,000 to Chicago for the right to draft Seagirst. (Somehow, the 9th and 11th pick were both sold for $75,000 each. Math is clearly not Hamlett's strong suit.) "He is aggressive, always on the front foot, someone who is going to fit well into our system," Hamlett said about his new left back from Marquette. Forced to become an opening day starter, Seagrist was clearly the worst player on the field. He was even worse in his second game, and was benched for the rest of the season, except for one squad-rotating appearance. Who knows, if there was no pandemic, he could have cut his teeth in the USL last year. Instead, he was released and then traded to Miami for a lowly third rounder.

  • 4) Roy Boateng: 16th, 2019
    "He's an old-school defender. He loves to defend. He has physical attributes that we think will fit well with us in terms of a center back and the way we like to play," said Hamlett after buying a pick to draft Boateng. The defense-loving defender signed with RBNY II, missed most of 2019 with injury, and showed nothing in 2020 to prove he can play above the USL level. "That was probably the best $100,000 we've ever spent," Hamlett added. Sigh.

  • 3) Leo Stolz: 18th, 2015
    Oh, Stolz, supposedly the crown jewel of Curtis' first offseason! The best player in college soccer, the German central midfielder out of UCLA, famously refused to play for any team outside of New York and Los Angeles, so he fell all the way to 18th and Curtis' greedy hands. With the USL team launched, he would get a chance to contribute before moving to the first squad! Contribute he did, but not much. Stolz was average at best in the minors, and retired from soccer after his lone pro season at the age of 24.

  • 2) Mansour Ndiaye: 7th, 2002
    At least the the previously listed players showed up. The Metros drafted the UConn product even after a terrible combine, and he decided to go to law school as opposed to playing soccer. Nick Sakiewicz played down his departure, telling MetroFanatic, "I don't see very many draft picks making MLS rosters this year, the talent pool is just not so good." The next pick was Kyle Martino, and Shalrie Joseph was taken 14th.

  • 1) Steve Shak: 1st, 2000
    Nothing can match the ineptitude of Octavio Zambrano in drafting Shak, the stick figure out of UCLA who was taken first overall in the league's first SuperDraft. Octavio knew Shak from youth teams, but the Metros could have easily taken him much later in the draft as he was not on anyone's top list; in fact, they spurred trade offers that would have yielded multiple picks (while Bob Bradley traded two Fire first-rounders to LA for DaMarcus Beasley). Perhaps the deepest draft in league history saw Nick Garcia (2nd), Carlos Bocanegra (4th), Danny Califf (6th), Sasha Victorine (11th), and Bobby Convey (12th) headline a long list of players to make an impact in MLS and beyond. Shak played a season and a half with Metro, was mostly useless, was dealt to Colorado, played in the A-League, and became a scab during 2005's US national team labor dispute.
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