The true value of every SuperDraft won’t be known until a year or two — at least. And while it’s a long shot to suggest that a future USmen’s national team player emerged fromthe second round, who doesn’t love a quickfire reaction?
In the first two rounds of the draft, eight goalkeepers were picked, as teams look to stock up at that position. A word of caution —at this point in the life of the SuperDraft, a good portion of most picks are going to start out in the USL, whether in the Championship or League One. And of course, MLS Cup is unlikely to be decided by a draft pick, even if the likes of Chase Gasper and Hassani Dotson were two rookies that made a big impression right away after joining the league via the draft last year.
Below are grades for each team from the first two rounds.
GRADE: B+ Faced with an immediate need, Atlanta came away with Patrick Nielsen, a tall, polished, no-nonsense defender. Whether the team can accommodate his international status is the obstacle, but there’s a good enough player here to at least be a reserve defender if he proves his mettle in preseason.
Patrick Nielsen (Round 1, #23)
Chicago Fire FC
GRADE: A- In addition to trading out of the No. 10 pick to net some allocation money, Jonathan Jimenez (picked at No. 26) is someone that can come in, show he is healthy and get on the field sooner rather than later at left back.
Traded No. 10 overall pick to NY Red Bullsfor $100,000 in General Allocation MoneyJonathan Jimenez (Round 1, #26)
GRADE: BOne year after being one of the stories of the draft, FC Cincyadopted a much different approach this time after trading away the No. 3 pick back in November. Rey Ortiz would require an international spot, but he wasone of the most talented attacking midfielders in college soccer during his four years in Portland.
Rey Ortiz (Round 2, #29)
GRADE: BIt was a quickfire set of trades for the Rapids, who acquired Jeremy Kelly from Montreal after he was selected No. 9 overall. Kelly offers the team central midfield depth and the ability to also play as a right back. They turned around and recouped the $75,000 in allocation money by dealing away the No. 11 pick to Nashville.
Traded No. 11 overall pick to Nashville for $75,000 in General Allocation MoneyTraded $75,000 in General Allocation Money to Montrealfor Jeremy Kelly (Round 1, #9)Robin Afamefuna (Round 2, #37)
Columbus Crew SC
GRADE: B+ Grabbing a player that has potential like Miguel Berry could be significant to push the Crew’s backup forward crop. Even the late picks, Remi Prieur in goal and Danny Griffin have shown flashes to suggest they could push for roster spots.
Miguel Berry (Round 1, #7)Remi Prieur (Round 2, #47)Danny Griffin (Round 2, #49)
GRADE: A- For a second year in a row, FC Dallas did very well given the parameters they had. Nkosi Burgess is a big center back with good potential that they can park at North Texas SC, and Cal Jennings could end up as a big hit coming off the bench in MLS in 2020. Second-round addition Manuel Ferriol is a talented player that slipped due to his international status and lack of athleticism. He would fit FCD’s style extremely well if he makes the team.
Nkosi Burgess (Round 1, #14)Cal Jennings (Round 1, #17)Manuel Ferriol (Round 2, #40)
GRADE: C+ Taking fliers on a couple of players that will head to Loudoun United, D.C. traded into the first round and picked a 6-feet-9 goalkeeper from Temple, Simon Lefebvre. There were arguably better options on that spot at the time, even if the pick is immaterial for the MLS team. In the second round, they went local and grabbed Josh Fawole, who can start up front in the USL Championship and see what happens in his first season.
Traded No. 17 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking and $50,000 in potential General Allocation Money based on performance metrics for D.C.s No. 21 SuperDraft selection for the No. 21 pick in 2020 SuperDraft and No. 21 selection in 2020 Allocation Ranking.Simon Lefebvre (Round 1, #21)Josh Fawole (Round 2, #42)
GRADE: B+ Grabbing Oklahoma native Garrett McLaughlin was a smart pick for the Dynamo. He’s a good, domestic player that adds a front-line attacker with pace. Provided he can cope with what new Houston head coach Tab Ramos demands of him, he could be in line for plenty of minutes this season. Luka Prpa could be a sleeper if he ends up proving the cost, as he battled injuries in 2019 at Marquette.
Garrett McLaughlin (Round 1, #8)Luka Prpa (Round 2, #34)
Los Angeles Football Club
GRADE: BGoalkeeper Paulo Pita was one of the surprising picks of the first round, as he’s a 25-year-old goalkeeper that requires an international spot. However, it shows that the team put in a shift with its scouting, as Pita backstopped Marshall’s stellar 2019 campaign. Jack Hallahan came in the second round, and could be an intriguing upside pick if the team’s able to account for his overseas status as well.
Paulo Pita (Round 1, #24)Jack Hallahan (Round 2, #50)
GRADE: C- Perhaps the most surprising pick of the day was not only thattheGalaxyselected someone, but also the player it was. Tom Smart is a left back that played sparingly at Akron, after transferring in from New Mexico. It’s a bit of an odd pick, even at that stage.
Tom Smart (Round 2, #45)
Inter Miami CF
GRADE: B+ If it were up to this pundit, Daryl Dike made perhaps a bit more sense at No. 1, given his upside. But there’s a very solid argument to be made that Robbie Robinson is the better pure finisher and soccer player right now, and tracking the two players’ careers will be fascinating. Nabbing Dylan Nealis at No. 3 surely gives them a college player that could see minutes, provided he can defend MLS attackers.
Robbie Robinson(Round 1, #1)Dylan Nealis (Round 1, #3)
Minnesota United FC
GRADE: B+ Working with just one pick, Minnesota snapped up Noah Billingsley, a right back that looks like he could be serviceable in his rookie season for the Loons.
Noah Billingsley(Round 1, #18)
GRADE: N/AThe Impact ended up making a pick, but shipped Jeremy Kelly off to Colorado. That left them with some allocation money from the first two rounds on Thursday
Traded Jeremy Kelly (Round 1, #9) to Colorado for$75,000 in General Allocation Money
GRADE: B+ Success in their expansion season will come down to other roster moves. But it’s not bad to bring in a local talent in the second round (Tanner Dieterich) and arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft in Jack Maher. Coming off an excellent season at Wake Forest, Alistair Johnston might be able to see minutes this season. Some considered Elliot Panicco the top goalkeeping prospect in college soccer as well, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him come off the board first.
Traded $75,000 in General Allocation Money to Colorado for No. 11 overall pickTraded $50,000 in General Allocation Money and $50,000 in conditional General Allocation Moneyto New England for No. 13 overall pickJack Maher(Round 1, #2)Alistair Johnston (Round 1, #11)Elliot Panicco (Round 1, #13)Tanner Dieterich (Round 2, #28)
New England Revolution
GRADE: A- The New England Revolution II got a number of intriguing players on the day. Henry Kessler might be the closest to being able to contribute in MLS, and then the Revolution did well to nab some allocation money from Nashville. Simon Lekressner offers versatility, and Keegan Meyer was one of the better goalkeepers on the board in the second round.
Traded No. 13 overall pick to Nashville for $50,000 in General Allocation Money and $50,000 in conditional General Allocation MoneyHenry Kessler(Round 1, #6)Simon Lekressner (Round 2, #30)Keegan Meyer (Round 2, #43)
New York City FC
GRADE: B- Already featuring a glut of central midfielders, it will be interesting to see if Jesus Perez, an attacking center mid, can make the roster. He’s also been on the lookout for a gig overseas as well. But if that doesn’t work out, he’s an asset for NYCFC who will hold his rights or give him a long look.