A history of the No. 1 overall pick in MLS SuperDraft

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas was determined last Thursday, when Robbie Robinson was selected by expansion side Inter Miami CF. Robinson’s professional career is only just beginning, but a trip down memory lane shows how difficult it is to pinpoint how the Clemson product will fare in his new digs.

The top pick has been anything but a sure thing, and only two have won Rookie of the Year (Maurice Edu, Cyle Larin). Through the years, it more often has been the case that top picks have been busts rather than stars, despite a few prominent exceptions.

Let’s turn back history for perspective on what direction Robinson’s career could head down.

1996 – Matt McKeon (Kansas City Wiz)

Matt McKeon was first off the board in MLSs inaugural season and eventually won MLS Cup. Getty Images

The first pick in MLS College Draft history, McKeon was a versatile player for the Kansas City Wizards for six of his seven MLS seasons. He appeared in a total of 172 games, collecting 13 goals and 19 assists. He made 30 appearances for the Wizards in 2000 when they took home MLS Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

1997 – Tahj Jakins (Colorado Rapids)

Jakins played three-plus seasons with the Rapids before being waived. He was later picked up by the Kansas City Wizards but lasted just 12 games with the club before his release.

1998 – Leo Cullen (Miami Fusion)

Cullen was a regular for a Fusion team that made the playoffs in his first two seasons with the club. Cullen made a total of 61 appearances in those two seasons and went on to appear in 166 total MLS games for the Fusion, New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids.

1999 – Jason Moore (D.C. United)

Moore played for four different teams over the course of his MLS career, appearing in 92 total games.

2000 – Steve Shak (NY/NJ MetroStars)

A surprise No. 1 pick in 2000, Shak was selected over the likes of Nick Garcia, Carlos Bocanegra and Danny Califf by Octavio Zambrano and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. After appearing in 23 games during his rookie season, Shak lasted just two more seasons in MLS before embarking on a career in the lower leagues of American soccer.

2001 – Chris Carrieri (San Jose Earthquakes)

After being selected by the Earthquakes, Carrieri was sent to the Colorado Rapids in June of his rookie season. He made 69 appearances, scoring 19 goals, over two-and-a-half seasons with the club before leaving MLS and spending multiple seasons with the Richmond Kickers.

2002 – Chris Gbandi (Dallas Burn)

After a successful career at UConn, Gbandi missed out on his rookie season with the Dallas Burn due to an ACL injury. Following that the left back made 111 appearances over five seasons with the club before signing with FK Haugesund in Norway. He is currently the head coach of Northeastern University’s men’s soccer program.

2003 – Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)

Alecko Eskandarian proved to be a title-winner for D.C. United. Getty Images

Eskandarian was an integral member of the 2004 D.C. United squad that took home MLS Cup, scoring 10 goals during the regular season. He was also named MVP of MLS Cup after scoring a brace against the Kansas City Wizards. He went on to have an eight-year MLS career, appearing in 125 games with United, Toronto FC, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy before injury cut short his career.

2004 – Freddy Adu (D.C. United)

Where to begin? Adu (pictured at the top) was selected No. 1 as a 14-year-old by his hometown club in one of the most famous moments in MLS history. He was a regular contributor with D.C. over his three seasons with the club, helping them capture the 2004 MLS Cup before being sent to Real Salt Lake. From there he was transferred to Portuguese club Benfica for a reported $2 million.

After several unsuccessful loan stints, he returned to MLS with the Philadelphia Union. In a season and a half with the club he made 35 appearances, scoring seven goals. He soon left Philly, however, and wandered across the world playing for several teams, most recently with USL Championship side Las Vegas Lights FC.

2005 – Nikolas Besagno (Real Salt Lake)

Besagno was just 16 when he became the first draft pick in the history of Real Salt Lake. He spent four seasons with the club but made just eight appearances before he was released. He spent time with a couple Seattle-area teams after that, including the Tacoma Tide and Kitsap Pumas. MLSsoccer.com caught up with Besagno in 2013.

2006 – Marvell Wynne (New York Red Bulls)

One of the more successful No. 1 overall picks, Wynne built a reputation for consistency over a decade-long pro career before the discovery of a heart abnormality cut it short in 2017. He appeared in at least 21 games in all 12 of his MLS seasons and in 2016 became the 36th outfield player to reach 300 games played. Wynne served the Red Bulls, Toronto FC, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes. In 2010 he helped the Rapids capture their first MLS Cup, forming a formidable center-back tandem with Drew Moor.

2007 – Maurice Edu (Toronto FC)

Being picked No. 1 was just the beginning for Maurice Edu. Getty Images

The first No. 1 pick to be awarded the Rookie of the Year, Edu hit the MLS scene like a man on fire. His strong play as a defensive midfielder with Toronto led to a transfer to Scottish giants Rangers reportedly worth nearly $4 million. He won three SPL titles with the club before returning to MLS prior to the 2014 season.

He made 53 appearances with the Philadelphia Union two seasons with the club, before missing the entire 2016 season – and eventually calling time on his career – due to injury. Edu also was a regular member of the US national team, registering 46 caps and earning a spot on Bob Bradley’s 2010 World Cup squad.

2008 – Chance Myers (Kansas City Wizards)

Myers was an integral member of Sporting’s transformation into a perennial contender in MLS. He appeared in 147 games in his nine seasons in MLS and has helped the team capture the 2013 MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cups (2012, 2015). He moved to the Portland Timbers in 2017 but played in just one match before chronic injury issues brought his career to a close; he now heads Nashville SC’s scouting department.

2009 – Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)

One of the most promising young talents in MLS history, Zakuani was an immediate star for the expansion Seattle Sounders. He accrued 14 goals and 10 assists in his first two seasons in MLS and was off to a great start in his third before a crunching tackle left his leg badly injured. He stayed in MLS for three more seasons but never fully recovered his top form, and retired in 2014. Today he works on the Sounders’ broadcast team, hosts a podcast, coaches high-school soccer and runs Kingdom Hope, a charity he founded in 2010.

2010 – Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union)

Mwanga had his best MLS season in his rookie year, scoring seven goals and collecting four assists for the Philadelphia Union. He has scored just eight goals in his last five seasons in the league with the Portland Timbers, Colorado Rapids and Orlando City SC. He also played in the NASL for the New York Cosmos, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury, most recently in 2016.

2011 – Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Salgado never really got his career started north of the border, making just 29 appearances in four seasons with the Whitecaps. He was transferred to Tigres in Liga MX following the 2014 season. Finding limited playing time in Mexico, he returned stateside and has spent the past two seasons in the USL Championship with El Paso Locomotive FC and Las Vegas Lights.

2012 – Andrew Wenger (Montreal Impact)

Wenger came into the 2012 SuperDraft as the obvious No. 1 choice, but without a true position. He has spent most of his career either as a striker or as a left winger, scoring 23 goals and 15 assists in career MLS appearances for the Impact, Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo before retiring after the 2018 campaign.

2013 – Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)

Andrew Farrell continues to excel with the Revs to this day. Getty Images

Farrell has been a starter since Day 1 for the Revolution, spending time at both right back and center back. He started 32 games in each of first four MLS seasons and helped New England reach the MLS Cup final in 2014; he remains a Revs regular today.

2014 – Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)

The Union traded up to get Blake in the 2014 SuperDraft, but for over a season the Jamaican international was relegated to the bench. After Brian Sylvestre went down with an injury in 2015, Blake finally got his shot. The UConn product started six games for the Union in 2015, collecting two clean sheets. He broke out this past season, starting 32 games and being named MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year. read more

El Chapo Prosecutors End Closing Arguments in Trial With Plea – Time

Notorious drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman was a ruthless murderer who regularly resorted to violence and corruption to defend the multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise he led, prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments in the Mexican kingpin’s U.S. trial.

In the government’s final address to the jury before deliberations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg spent about six hours reminding jurors of the more than 55 testimonies they’ve heard since mid-November. Goldbarg began by recalling a brutal tale of vengeance in which Guzman allegedly gunned down two rivals in the Sinaloa mountains before ordering his henchmen to toss their bodies in a bonfire that raged nearby.

“This is how he built his empire and protected it,” Goldbarg said.

Guzman, 61, is accused of trafficking $14 billion worth of drugs into the U.S. as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel. He is perhaps most famous for bolting from two top-security Mexican prisons. In 2001, he first escaped from the Puente Grande prison by hiding in a laundry cart. He was recaptured in 2014 in Mazatlán, Mexico—only to break free from the Altiplano prison through a tunnel in 2015. Guzman was re-arrested the next year and extradited to stand trial in the U.S. in 2017.

On Wednesday, prosecutors urged the jury to remember his pattern of fleeing justice and not to let him get away with it again. “He’s guilty and he never wanted to be in a position where he’d have to answer to his crimes,” Goldbarg said. “Do not let him escape responsibility. Hold him accountable for his crimes.”

Goldbarg said an “avalanche of evidence,” including intercepted text messages and audio recordings, shows Guzman’s guilt “through the defendant’s own words.”

The prosecutor said Guzman was standing trial in New York City, where authorities say he is “responsible for bringing almost four tons of cocaine into this district,” Goldbarg said. That amounted to about $5 million in profits at the expense of New Yorkers, she said.

Goldbarg also hammered at the point that Guzman’s alleged crimes hit close to home. His stash house that was seized in 2002 was so close to the courthouse, the prosecutor said, that it could be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge. She said it was part of his plan to distribute as many drugs as possible in the U.S. and amass billions of dollars in profits by doing so.

The high-profile trial that began last November in federal court in Brooklyn is inching closer to an end. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers rested their cases this week. Defense lawyers were slated to deliver closing arguments Thursday. They rested their case Tuesday after only calling one witness. The 12-member jury could begin deliberating as early as Friday, although the court has not yet confirmed the date.

In the last few weeks, jurors heard stunning testimonies from former cartel members, including some who used to be Guzman’s closest confidantes. Other testimonies from Guzman’s ex-lover and U.S. law enforcement agents revealed salacious details of Guzman’s romantic life and exposed widespread corruption at the highest levels of the Mexican government and police force. One of the most damning allegations to emerge from the trial is the claim that Guzman paid former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto $100 million to stop looking for him while he was on the lam. Peña Nieto’s former chief of staff vigorously denied the claim.

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Guzman’s defense team says he is being framed by the cooperating witnesses—a cast of admitted drug traffickers who have struck deals with the federal government. Through cross-examinations, defense lawyers have consistently tried to discredit the turncoat members of Guzman’s inner circle.

In her summations, Goldbarg acknowledged that many of the cooperating witnesses had tainted backgrounds. She said of the 14 cooperating witnesses, a dozen were given deals by the government.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these witnesses are criminals,” the prosecutor told jurors. “The government is not asking you to like them.” Goldbarg said their testimonies were corroborated, and many details given matched testimonies from law enforcement officers. “The witnesses are testifying truthfully,” she said.

Among the many allegations prosecutors have to prove to the jury is that Guzman was a boss who oversaw five or more people in the Sinaloa cartel. Goldbarg ran through a long list of rare luxuries and resources Guzman enjoyed before his latest capture and arrest. A rotating staff of chefs. Escape tunnels under bathtubs and a maximum-security prison. He demanded spyware be installed on devices to keep tabs of his wife and mistresses. He commissioned an encrypted communication network to chat with his inner circle while evading authorities.

“A boss of the Sinaloa cartel does these things,” Goldbarg said.

Correction, Feb. 4:

The original version of a photo caption in this story misidentified two people featured in the court sketch. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina Parlovecchio is pictured questioning a handwriting expert, not Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Liskamm questioning Damaso Lopez Nunez.

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