With the 2019 SuperDraft less than a week away, MLS clubs are piecing together the final details concerning available talents, positional needs, and insights gathered at the Adidas Player Combine in Orlando. As always, there should be plenty of unexpected picks and trades to surface throughout the draft in the Windy City. The first two rounds are showcased and will be aired on mlssoccer.com on January 11 at 1 PM ET.
Expansion side FC Cincinnati hold the first selection and numerous projections have UCLA midfielder Frankie Amaya and VCU winger Siad Haji — both Generation Adidas signees — as the best available prospects. Generation Adidas is a partnership between the sporting company and MLS that grants a selection of underclassmen early entry into the draft.
A considerable number of household U.S. soccer names were products of the program when Nike sponsored, including Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, and Michael Bradley. Both Amaya and Haji have featured for U.S. men’s youth national teams. Other top prospects include UNC-Charlotte’s Callum Montgomery (defender), Tajon Buchanan of Syracuse (forward), JJ Williams of Kentucky (forward), and Maryland goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
Click here for the complete draft order.
D.C. United Draft Breakdown
D.C.’s first-round pick in the 2014 draft has proved to be the most valuable in recent years, namely defender Steve Birnbaum. Following a loan move to the Richmond Kickers in 2014, Birnbaum has earned time with the U.S. men’ national team and has become a pillar at the back for D.C., playing every minute in 34 matches this season.
D.C. have shied away from frontmen in the last three drafts (eight total picks), acquiring only one forward in that span. The introduction of the club’s new affiliate, Loudoun United, will play a large role in the team’s draft strategy this time around. Announced in July of 2018, the team replaces the Richmond Kickers and will compete in the USL Championship.
In addition, the need for players up front is paramount following the loss of Darren Mattocks in the expansion draft, leaving only one forward on the roster. Here is a breakdown of when D.C. will participate in Friday’s draft:
United will pick 14th in the first round of this year’s draft. SBI Soccer’s Ives Galarcep has D.C. selecting Florida International’s Santiago Patino, a talented center forward from Orlando. MLSSoccer.com’s Matthew Doyle also foresees Patino landing in the District. Meanwhile, Travis Clark of Top Drawer Soccer believes D.C. will look to capitalize on the versatility of Maryland’s Andrew Samuels, a player capable of playing defensive midfield and on the backline.
The Black and Red will not choose in the second round due to the December 19 trade that landed goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. from Orlando.
D.C. have the 14th and 24th picks in the third round. They gained the 24th pick from Atlanta in 2017 in the deal that sent defender Bobby Boswell to the Five Stripes.
D.C. will not make a selection in the final round as a result of the 2016 deal involving the rights to Miguel Aguilar and Kennedy Igboananike. The LA Galaxy gained this year’s 14th spot in the fourth round as part of the deal.
Wesley is a graduate of the University of Alabama (BA) and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (MA). He currently works in youth soccer in Austin, Texas, and can be found on Twitter.