Rarely do players selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft make an immediate impact on their new professional clubs. However, that's just what Nick Hagglund and Daniel Lovitz, have been able to do with Toronto FC this season. Hagglund was selected 10th overall in this year's draft, while Lovitz was taken in the second round, at 24th overall.
There were many question marks surrounding the two youngsters when they were first drafted, but their play on the pitch thus far has answered any questions off of it. Hagglund's first professional action was in his home state of Ohio against the Crew alongside Bradley Orr in the center of defence, where he was able to help the Reds earn a clean sheet. He has been excellent in most games he's featured in, and has provided head coach, Ryan Nelsen, with another quality defender to rely on.
In fact, Hagglund's performance at the back have been so good thus far, that Nelsen has even pushed the likes of Bradley Orr up the pitch to the center of the park, to help cover the loss of Michael Bradley. Against San Jose on Saturday, he was easily one of the best players on the pitch, and was named to this week's Major League Soccer 'Team of the Week' as a result.
Daniel Lovitz was sent out on loan to Toronto's USL affiliate, Wilmington Hammerheads, but his strong showings earned him a recall in May. Ever since he was recalled to the Reds, he has been brilliant out wide on the flanks. Toronto were not expecting Lovitz to adapt to life in the pros so quickly, but he has, and his impressive outings may be the reason the team decided to pull the trigger on the Issey Nakajima Farran - Collen Warner swap with Montreal.
Lovitz only managed to make a brief cameo in Toronto's last game against the Earthquakes as he came off the bench but was injured a couple of minutes afters. In the post game press conference, Nelsen even mentioned how much the team needed the youthful spark that Lovitz provides.
Toronto's been off to a flying start this season, and the big money signings have definitely played a key role in that success. However, what may be even more impressive than Jermain Defoe's seven goals, or Michael Bradley's dominance of the midfield whenever he is in the lineup, may be the way the team's youngsters have stepped up. Toronto has not lost in MLS action with Hagglund starting and Lovitz has been dynamite on the pitch. Bringing in effective designated players is crucial to winning in Major League Soccer, but so is drafting well, and Toronto looks to have finally started to do that as well.