For the first time in a long time, the Houston Dynamo found itself in the seemingly foreign position of not only having, but also needing a top MLS SuperDraft pick. President Chris Canetti, Head Coach Dominic Kinnear, and the rest of the team's technical staff opted to use their pick on Kofi Sarkodie, a defender from the NCAA champion-winning University of Arkon.
Sarkodie is a 5-9, 155-pound outside defender who is mobile and uses his speed to push up the pitch, stretching the field. In 2009, Sarkodie had a massive year, scoring eight goals and contributing six assists. His production in 2010 was just as remarkable and Sarkodie was announced as a Hermann Trophy (college soccer's Heisman equivalent) semifinalist, named to the NSCAA All-America First Team, and given Soccer America's Player of the year award.
While many thought Houston would go more offensive in the draft and pick a strike partner to play alongside Brian Ching, Sarkodie is a pick that will help improve the Dynamo's defense, which gave up 49 goals in 2010, second-worse in MLS.
The addition of Sarkodie to the Houston Dynamo squad does mean the coaching staff will have to make a few tough decisions. The young defender played at right back for the Zips, a position that Andrew Hainault currently occupies. Hunter Freeman, a recent offseason addition to the Dynamo, also favors the right wingback position, so the coaching staff will have to sort out who plays where.
The likely solution is that Hainault, who was brought to Houston with the intention of playing in the center of defense alongside Bobby Boswell (or Eddie Robinson, at the time), will move inside and Freeman or Sarkodie will fill in on the right side. Another solution is that Coach Kinnear could move Freeman or Sarkodie to left back, pushing Mike Chabala out of the starting line-up, giving the team two fast outside defenders and two big, strong central defenders.
Another reason that may have factored in the Dynamo's selection of Sarkodie is that the young player has the speed and skills to play in the midfield as well. He could train in a role that would let him fill in as an outside midfielder behind Brad Davis, Colin Clarke, Corey Ashe, and Danny Cruz.
Sarkodie is a massive pick for the Dynamo, and is a player that many thought would draft in the top 5.