In a draft class littered with quality forwards, the Houston Dynamo were optimistic that one of their top targets would fall to them. Unable to move up in the draft, the Dynamo bided their time using the 18th pick allotted to them on a player that has been on their radar for several years: Louisville forward Colin Rolfe.
“We liked him last year and watched him this year and our appreciation for him didn’t go away,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “When it came to our pick, we talked about taking the best player and also filling a need, and he fit that position. As his name stayed there as the draft was going down, we thought we’d have a good pick on our hands.”
As a 6-foot-tall striker who can hold the ball and finish with aplomb, Rolfe’s availability at No. 18 was a surprise to Kinnear. The two-time All-American and 2010 Hermann Trophy finalist was projected to be a top pick in last year’s draft but chose to return to Louisville for his senior season instead.
Despite duplicating his nine-goal junior year performance, Rolfe’s stock took a dip heading into Thursday’s draft. The dip was fortunate for the Dynamo, as they believe the Michigan native has the toughness and skill to be a quality forward in MLS.
“When you think of the way Louisville plays, he played as a lone striker a lot and for him to get those goals is pretty positive,” Kinnear said. “We play a lot of games during the preseason and we’ll give him a chance to play.”
In addition to Rolfe, Houston selected combine standout Warren Creavalle, a midfielder from the University of Central Florida, with the 37th pick.
“I think every day he played he looked good,” Kinnear said of Creavalle’s performance at the combine. “He’s very confident and comfortable on the ball. At that time in the draft I thought it was a good pick.”
Kinnear confirmed the club tried to trade up in the draft; but felt the teams at the top were happy with the players they took. In the end the Dynamo feel confident their draft haul will pay off.
“At the end of the draft we all looked at each other and congratulated everyone because it was a job well done,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com via phone. “It feels like we had a good draft under the circumstances.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.