Gonsalves' future decided today

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

The collection of young prospects in the 2007 Major League Soccer SuperDraft that will be held in Indianapolis today has been described as both the weakest class in some time and the one with the most potential to deliver future stars.

Toronto FC, the newest MLS franchise, gets three picks -- including the prized No. 1 selection -- and it is hoping the latter is the real read on this year's crop.

Toronto's other two picks are 27th and 40th.

To add to the pressure any new team faces, Toronto's credibility among local soccer enthusiasts surely will be judged on its selections in Indianapolis.

At issue is Markham's Jeffrey Gonsalves who is ranked ninth overall among the eligible draftees and second overall among forwards.

The 21-year-old senior from the University of Rhode Island is coming off a bout with mononucleosis but his skills around the net are universally acknowledged as among the best in the draft.

With Toronto coach Mo Johnston already on record as saying that local players are the most important part of the new franchise, it will be hard for him to ignore Gonsalves with the No. 1 pick.

The prevailing wisdom around the MLS is that Gonsalves won't be around when Johnston uses the team's second pick.

And he certainly won't be there when No. 40 is announced.

One of the reasons many believe that this draft year is weak is that the consensus best player in the age group -- Charlie Davies of Boston College -- already has signed a pro deal with Hammarby in Sweden.

Yet the highest-profile executive in the MLS -- Alexi Lalas, president and general manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy -- has high praise for this year's crop.

"Inevitably this will be the generation that becomes the one to take us to heights we've never seen," Lalas told MLSnet.com.

Should Toronto pass on Gonsalves, the top-ranked players available to them are Maurice Edu, a midfielder out of Maryland, and Greg Dalby, a midfielder/defender out of Notre Dame.

Without Davies in the pool they could be ranked No. 1 and No. 1A.

Another interesting choice for Toronto could be 17-year-old Bryan Arguez, of the U.S. under-20 team, who is ranked third on the draft depth chart.

The first round of the draft will be carried live starting at noon today on The Score.

Subsequent rounds will be available live on the www.MLSnet.com website.

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TOP PROSPECTS FOR MLS SUPERDRAFT

RANK NAME POSITION PREVIOUS TEAM

1. Maurice Edu M Maryland

2. Greg Dalby M/D Notre Dame

3. Bryan Arguez M/F U.S. Under-20

4. Bakary Soumare D Virginia

5. Chris Seitz G Maryland

6. Anthony Wallace D/M South Florida

7. Robbie Findley F Oregon State

8. Andrew Boyens D New Mexico

9. Jeffrey Gonsalves F Rhode Island

10. Nico Colaluca M Virginia

11. Amaechi Igwe D/M Santa Clara

12. Jay Needham D Southern Methodist

13. Michael Harrington D/M North Carolina

14. Abdus Ibrahim F U.S. Under-17

15. Dane Richards F/M Clemson

16. Mike Sambursky D/M South Carolina

17. Edson Elcock F Old Dominion

18. John Cunliffe F/M Fort Lewis College

19. Scott Jones M UNC Greensboro

20. Sinisa Ubiparipovic M Akron

21. Ryan Guy F/M San Diego

22. Bryan Byrne M UC Santa Barbara

23. Nate Norman M Notre Dame

24. Nick LaBrocca M Rutgers

25. Simon Omekanda F/M Penn State

(G -- goalkeeper, D -- defender, M -- midfielder, F -- forward)

Source: ESPN.com


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