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MLS Combine Day 2

Tuesday 10th January 2012
Game One:   adiPOWER 2 – 1 adiZERO

AdiPOWER was by far the most impressive team on the first day of the Combine and boasted the most talented roster. Luis Silva, Chandler Hoffman and Adam Townsend looked dangerous on day one and having now played a game together the goals were sure to come. It was scoreless at the break, but Hoffman quickly changed that, coming on at the half and scoring less than 5 minutes into the second period. With Silva, and UCLA standout Kelyn Rowe controlling the midfield, adiZERO never saw much of the ball and their only goal came on a fantastic strike from winger Evan James.

adiPOWER:

Chandler Hoffman – The Generation Adidas star described himself perfectly when asked what the best part of his game is; “I just scored goals,” said the UCLA product. Hoffman was no secret coming into the combine, but he's been justifying the hype with two goals and an assist in two games. His goal in the first game came literally with seconds left as he scored to give adiPOWER a 3-2 win. Besides his clinical finishing, he's combined well up front with Casey Townsend and looks very active in front of goal. If he wasn't a top 5 pick before this weekend, he is now.  Luis Silva – There are mixed opinions on the UCSB product; some people see him as a legitimate #10 who can be a difference maker while others wonder what position he'll play at the next level, whether he'll have to move out to the wing. Here's what any smart GM would do: draft Silva and build your team around him. In two combine games, he's arguably been the most impressive player. Silva looks comfortable on the ball, makes great passes and shows the ability to run the show as the primary playmaker; even his passes that don't find teammates show Silva's vision and creative ideas. The kid is for real and the combine has only proved that.

Matt Hedges – Some analysts criticized Hedges day two performance, but the center back had a good day and was absolutely dominant in the air. He did get turned a few times, but he also showed an uncanny ability to anticipate, blocking several shots and breaking up multiple crosses.

Also on the rise: Casey Townsend, Brian Rowe, Luckymore “Lucky” Mkosana, Kelyn Rowe, Jason Banton

adiZERO :

Evan James – The winger from Charlotte was one of the players who had the most to gain from the combine and he's taken full advantage of his opportunity. James dismantled top – rated fullback Tyler Polak in game one and continued to cause problems for the defense in game two. His runs were the best threat for adiZERO in the second half and he took his goal well, cutting in on his right foot before hammering his shot into the top corner of the net. James wasn't highly thought of before the combine, but with another solid performance in game three he may play himself into a day one pick, maybe even a first round selection.

Evans Frimpong – One of the international players at the combine, and therefore one with the most to gain, looked okay on day one playing wide on the left, but on day two he shined when moved to his more natural position of forward. Frimpong still demonstrated the speed and strength from day one, but he also showed his patience, vision and looked comfortable with the ball at his feet. As the game progressed and adiZERO struggled to keep possession, Frimpong dropped deep into the midfield to provide and outlet and start the attack. He did squander a chance in front of goal, but he got plenty of power behind his shot and repeatedly showed the ability to be in good position in front of goal.

Dom Dwyer – The Generation Adidas signing can't really hurt his stock – he's going to be a first round pick – but you never want to see your first round pick perform badly against the other top rookies. Dwyer was invisible on day one so it's a good thing he picked up his game on in game two. His speed and strength was on display and although he didn't score, he looked much more like a player that can lead the line than the one who struggled in the first game.

Also on the rise: Aaron Maund, Enzo Martinez, Warren Creavalle

 

  adiZERO:

Colin Rolfe – The Louisville forward is a proven goal-scorer and will most likely go in the first round, but he has been invisible so far at the combine. Yes adiZERO has played him as a lone forward and tried to throw long balls over the top, but he's barley touched the ball and doesn't even look active up top. Expect a stronger showing on day 3.

Emiliano Bonfigli – International players always have a harder time getting drafted because of the international spot they take up on a roster so impressing at the combine is crucial. That being said, Bonfigli's stock is plummeting. It's not that he's been bad, but he hasn't been very involved and hasn't shown anything proves he's a match-winner or a special player. Not what you need when trying to convince a team you deserve a precious roster spot.

Game Two:  adiPURE 4 – 2 PRIME

The second game of the day saw a dominating start from adiPURE as the fired four first half goals, led by a hat-trick from Ethan Findley. The PRIME backline was repeatedly burned by the frontline of Findley, Sam Garza and Luke Holmes while Kohei Yamada continued his fantastic combine. Aldo Paniagua and Darren Mattocks were the only standout performers for PRIME.

adiPURE:

Ethan Findley – With 4 goals in the first half, the entire attack force saw their stock rise, but the star of the bunch was Findley. Making his combine debut, the Akron product was absolutely clinical with his finishing including a calm chip over the keeper to complete his hat-trick. People worry about Findley's size and where he projects position-wise at the next level, but it's easy to envision him as an impact sub off the bench who can change games with his speed and nose for goal.

Sam Garza – Garza looked excellent up front, leading the line and laying off excellent passes for his teammates. He didn't get on the score sheet, but it wasn't for a lack of trying and he looked very active and confident up front.

Kohei Yamada – Chandler Hoffman has looked like a future star, Ethan Findley had his hat trick, Luis Silva and Enzo Martinez have lived up to their billing as playmakers, but no player has been as impressive as Kohei Yamada. A product of the Japanese second division, Yamada was unknown coming into the combine, but everyone is aware of him now. After showing good energy, quickness and footwork while playing as a winger on day one, Yamada excelled when played as an attacking midfielder. He's feisty, eneregitc and absolutely unafraid to run the show. He has incredible feet and never seems to lose the ball. The knock on him is he'll need to add 10 pounds to stand up to the physical nature of the MLS, but he's definitely done enough to earn a roster spot.

Also on the rise: Austin Berry, Arthur Ivo, Chris Blais

PRIME:

Darren Mattocks – Welcome to the party Darren Mattocks. After doing nothing in the first half on Friday, Mattocks came on in the second half of game two and showed why he deserved to be the number one pick. He torched the adiPURE backline to set up both PRIME goals and looked strong on the ball. He still hasn't scored, but I would expect a goal on day three and look for him to be the first player off the board on Thursday.

Aldo Paniagua – Another international player, Paniagua has shown good feet and creativity down on the wing in the two games he's played. Although he doesn't have the speed of a traditional winger, he's showed he can be an impact player out wide and has most likely earned himself a first day selection.

Stock Down: Tyler Polak, RJ Allen, Chris Estridge – The PRIME backline was burned for four goals as the defense looked unorganized and weak. On the other side, Polak hasn't done himself any favors, getting outplayed by Evan James in the first game and not doing much better in the second.

Check back for an update on day 3 as well as a combine wrap-up.
Anders Aarhus

Total articles: 2

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