Lucky Number: Colorado Rapids again hold the #11 pick in the 2014 MLS Draft
By bowing out of the MLS Cup Playoffs in the knockout match last week, the Colorado Rapids now know they'll once again hold the #11 pick in January's draft.
MLS has yet to reveal details of the annual draft, but going off the 2013 edition, the first nine selections were held by clubs that did not qualify for the 2012 Playoffs, in reverse order of regular season finish. The remaining 10 positions went to the clubs that were eliminated in the same round of the 2012 Playoffs, also in reverse order of regular season finish.
Assuming the same rules apply for the 2014 draft, in the Rapids case, their playoff run ended in the same round as Montreal's. However, since the Impact finished with 49 points in the regular season, two fewer than Colorado, Montreal would hold the 10th pick and Colorado the 11th selection.
The Rapids also had the 11th pick in the most recent draft, where they selected midfielder Dillon Powers from the University of Notre Dame. Powers went on to have an outstanding rookie season, scoring five goals and adding six assists on his way to being named the team's Most Valuable Player and a leading candidate for the MLS Rookie of the Year.
The 11th pick has introduced solid players to MLS in previous drafts, with players such as Ross Paule, Tyrone Marshall, Evan Whitfield, Sasha Victorine, Brian Carroll, and Scott Sealy all playing at least seven seasons in MLS, and more recent #11 selections Roger Espinoza, Jeremy Hall, David Estrada, Will Bruin, and Matt Hedges all playing key roles on MLS teams or in Europe.
Extra Note: The Rapids also hold two picks in the second round of the 2014 draft. The team traded their own natural pick second round to Vancouver in January of 2012 for allocation money, however Colorado hold both the Houston Dynamo's and LA Galaxy's second round picks.
In February of 2012, Colorado traded forward Mac Kandji to Houston for a conditional pick in the 2014 draft. Kandji played in 34 regular season and playoff games combined for Houston in 2012 before leaving for Greece when his contract ended, thus meeting the conditions which resulted in Houston surrendering their natural second round 2014 pick to Colorado.
In June 2013, Colorado acquired the Galaxy's natural 2014 second round pick in the trade that sent Pablo Mastroeni to LA.