MLS Mock Draft: Red Bulls select Alex Martinez with No. 34 pick

Photo courtesy of NC State athletics

Alex Martinez may be the solution to a problem the Red Bulls have, creative wing play.

Martinez comes out of NC State after 2 years with the Wolfpack, racking up 12 goals and 13 assists, after playing two years at High Point University. At High Point, Alex was named to the 2010 Big South All-Freshman team. He gained a similar honor at NC State when he was selected for the 2012 All-ACC First Team. According to College Sports Madness, Martinez knows how to get forward and maintain the ball in tight spaces, something the Red Bulls had a little trouble with on the wings last season. Martinez isn't a defensive workhorse, something that is a Red Bull staple in 2013, but that might be a good thing in this case. The reason I selected him was because he could play the wing and distribute the ball, something that is needed when crosses went wanting last year.

Matt Coyne previously interviewed Top Drawer Soccer's J.R. Eskilson and he spoke about Marinez being a good option for the Red Bulls.

Alex Martinez is probably the most likely player to be around in the second round who could still make a difference for the Red Bulls. Martinez is the younger brother of RSL's Enzo Martinez. They are similar type of players - Alex prefers to stay on the wing more than Enzo though. Alex was great in 2012, but he was pretty average this season. It may have been a bad year just for NC State or ACC defenses learning how to defend him? Either way, I think he will be picked in the second or third round on draft day. He has some nice skills on the dribble and can whip in a cross. He is a bit small.

What the Red Bulls will be looking for in the draft: Mike Petke has already stated that he wants to find a defender who can play on the wing and join in the attack. With a wing player like Martinez, Petke might reconsider the attacking role.

Who the experts say the Red Bulls will pick: Both Soccer by Ives and Top Drawer soccer see the Red Bulls focusing on a forward with their second pick in the 2014 draft.Ives has the Red Bulls selecting Victor Chavez of UCLA, after Martinez is taken one pick before by Colorado. Top Drawer has the Red Bulls forgoing Martinez (who falls to #38) for Mark Sherrod of Memphis.

Why I’m invariably wrong: Petke doesn't seem to have a good relationship with those who show lackluster effort on the field, something that is a knock on Martinez's defensive effort. The Red Bulls are also pretty flush at the midfield position, especially after trading away a first round draft pick to acquire Bobby Convey, who is a winger himself.

Why I’m smarter than the pundits: While Lloyd Sam played his way out of Petke's dog house last year, he was injury prone, which may be why Convey was brought in. Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele are the other incumbent wings, but neither showed a lot of promise when it came to crossing the ball into the box. There are other midfielders like Ian Christianson, Michael Bustamante, and Marius Obekop, but they never saw a lot of first team action, so they probably aren't too high on Petke's radar.

Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
1. D.C. United Black and Red United Patrick Mullins
2. Philadelphia Union Brotherly Game Steve Neumann
3. Vancouver Whitecaps 86 Forever Andre Blake
4. Columbus Crew Massive Report Steve Birnbaum
5. FC Dallas Big D Soccer Christian Dean
6. Union Brotherly Game Marlon Hairston
7. Whitecaps 86 Forever Damion Lowe
8. Chicago Fire Hot Time In Old Town Grant Van De Casteele
9. San Jose Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Eric Miller
10. Montreal Impact Mount Royal Soccer A.J Corrado
11. Colorado Rapids Burgundy Wave Schillo Tshuma
12. New England Revolution The Bent Musket JJ Koval
13. Seattle Sounders Sounder at Heart Aodhan Quinn
14. LA Galaxy LAG Confidential Fifi Baiden
15. Toronto FC Waking the Red AJ Cochran
16. Houston Dynamo Dynamo Theory Mamadou Diouf
17. Portland Timbers Stumptown Footy Reinaldo Brenes
18. Real Salt Lake RSL Soapbox Ben Sweat
19. Revolution The Bent Musket Marco Franco

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
20. Chivas USA The Goat Parade Enrique Cardenas
21. Sounders Sounder at Heart Taylor Peay
22. New York Red Bulls Once a Metro Pete Caringi
23. Crew Massive Report Pedro Ribeiro
24. Toronto FC Waking the Red Joey Dillon
25. Union Brotherly Game Jared Watts
26. Timbers Stumptown Footy Kevin Cope
27. Union Brotherly Game Kyle Venter
28. Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Mackenzie Pridham
29. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Jimmy Ockford
30. Whitecaps 86 Forever Nikita Kotlov
31. Revolution The Bent Musket Victor Chavez
32. Dynamo Dynamo Theory Kristopher Tyrpak
33. Rapids Burgundy Wave Rafael Diaz
34. Red bulls Once a Metro Alex Martinez
35. Rapids Burgundy Wave Zach Bolden
36. Timbers Stumptown Footy Mark Sherrod
37. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Michael Calderon
38. Sporting Kansas City The Daily Wiz

Romena Bowie
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