Jan 13, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A general view of a MLS soccer ball during the 2017 MLS SuperDraft at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The final two rounds of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft concluded on Tuesday, after the league’s 22 teams went through Rounds 1 and 2 on Friday in Los Angeles. Roster depth, player potential, and the upcoming 2017 campaign were all elements of the selections made.
The draft has taken many forms over the past two decades as teams and the league itself have evolved. Where the player pool was once only college players, international players are present and every club has the ability to bring in talent through other mechanisms.
But the MLS SuperDraft can still provide much excitement, as we review key moments from the past few days in Major League Soccer.
The number one pick
Like any draft, the number one overall pick comes with massive expectations. Expansion side Minnesota United FC made the choice to bring in UCLA forward Abu Danladi with that distinction on Friday.
Danladi possesses excellent skill on the ball and a wonderful scoring touch, as he helped to spark the Bruins’ attack over the past few seasons.
Minnesota and head coach Adrian Heath will be pleased to select a player of Danladi’s quality. The question will be how much of an impact he will be able to make in his rookie season.
A slight fall for Jeremy Ebobisse
One of the pundits’ choices to be a possible number one overall pick, former Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse surprisingly ended up at number four to the Portland Timbers. The Timbers traded up in the draft order with the Houston Dynamo in order to acquire the 19-year old.
Ebobisse’s talent is evident and he is capable of the spectacular in front of goal. He left school early and signed with MLS last season, going out on loan to the USL until the draft could take place.
While it is a bit of surprise that Ebobisse ended up at number four, Portland may have ended up with the best overall selection.
Chip on the shoulder
With the 17th pick of the first round, the New York Red Bulls chose Boston College midfielder, Zeiko Lewis. Projected to be selected at least within the top ten, Red Bulls management were happy to still see him on the board.
But it was Lewis’ refreshingly honest take on what is ahead for him that stood out. “I didn’t feel dissed by any club that didn’t pick me. I’m not going to lose sleep over it at the end of the day. But it’s definitely encouraging for me to see other clubs pass up on me, because then when I play them, they’re going to look at the scoreboard, and they’ll know they made the wrong decision.”
Visitors to Red Bull Arena have been warned.
Chicago Fire ready for 2017
After finishing at the bottom of MLS last season, the Chicago Fire enjoyed a weekend that should give their fans a sense of optimism.
The club traded out of the number three selection received a hefty bit of allocation money from New York City FC ($250,000) and still acquired quality talent. Midfielder Daniel Johnson (Louisville), goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland (Louisville) and forward Guillermo Delgado (Delaware) all have the potential to contribute.
Along with the additions of Dax McCarty and former MLS Cup champion Juninho as well, the Fire is poised for improvement in 2017.
LA is not in the mood
Current USMNT manager, Bruce Arena was not often active over the past few years at the SuperDraft with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and little has changed since he has departed.
With no selections in the first three rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, LA skipped their fourth-round pick.
The Galaxy have been noted for their incredible academy and reserve systems, and expect to see more talent emerge from those sections of the organization in the near future.
Pre-season friendlies get underway for many MLS sides later this month, with the 2017 regular season kicking off on Friday, March 3rd.