Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer (MLS)
After each day of matches at the 2018 MLS Combine, USLPDL.com will examine the prospects we believe stood out from their peers, utilizing data from performances, the PDL Scouting Network and USL coaches.
After match day two, the list of Premier Development League players impressing at the Combine grows thanks to a stunning goal from a defender, a penalty save off the post and another penalty converted. These five players moved themselves into stronger SuperDraft position with standout plays and consistent performances.
With a glut of defensive talent entering the 2018 MLS Player Combine, Hartford senior and Long Island Rough Riders alum Andre Morrison was overlooked among the likes of Tomas Hilliard-Arce and Joao Moutinho. But Morrison made his mark on Monday’s matches, scoring a stunning volley from the right side of goal that ranks among the best seen at a Combine in recent memory. His solid defensive play complemented his offensive production and pushed his stock upwards.
The goalkeepers at the Combine have been absolutely stellar to this point, but on Monday, Ben Lundgaard made the standout save of the event so far. One on one with Team Nemeziz’s penalty taker after a foul in the box, Lundgaard dove to his right and pushed a powerful shot off the post with an open-palm deflection. The 2017 PDL Goalkeeper of the Year otherwise looked strong in command of his box, while maintaining his positioning to make things difficult for attacking players, and showed off impressive distribution.
For a second-straight match day, Duke senior and Red Bulls U23 forward Brian White once again established himself as one of the stronger attacking talents in this year’s class. Aside from a well-taken penalty kick goal, the 2017 PDL MVP again looked dangerous pushing forward, helping to set up teammates and making dangerous runs of his own. White may be the player who’s done the most to raise his stock during the Combine.
Another example of the high-level goalkeeping available in this class, Jeff Caldwell joined his opponent on Monday, Ben Lundgaard, as a top performer on match day two. While not matching anything as flashy as Lundgaard’s penalty save, Caldwell put together an impressive performance with multiple good saves and helped keep his team in the match.
Playing in partnership with Andre Morrison, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Morton after his partner’s stunning goal, but the Cal and Burlingame Dragons defender put together an equally strong performance in the back for Team X. Morton and Morrison played well off one another, and posed a formidable defense against the Team Nemeziz attackers. Morton in particular displayed clever, effective distribution from the back that opened up the field for his midfield and forward teammates on several occasions.