by Taylor Sorrels @AbGatorade
Important introductory caveat: I barely have any idea what I’m talking about. All opinions from here forward should be taken with a box of salt.
The first two rounds of MLS SuperDraft, the MLS draft* where clubs actually draft college and other youth players signed by MLS, were last week. Orlando City SC won the rights to the first pick due to being an expansion franchise and by virtue of winning the first pick in a different kind of draft in September. The remaining two rounds of the draft take place later this week.
As OCSC’s USL Pro affiliate, I was interested to see who LCFC might get from the big club (as was coach James O’Connor, apparently) It is increasingly rare to see players taken in the SuperDraft actually make the first team for their MLS club. This is a good thing for player development in the U.S., as MLS rosters are finally becoming quality enough not to need college talent to fill gaps on the field.
Orlando City got the first, 22nd, and 25th picks in this year’s SuperDraft, and by all accounts made the most of their picks, taking UConn F Cyle Larin with the first overall pick, along with D Conor Donovan out of NC State and F Akeil Barrett from Tulsa. Larin has already signed with OCSC, while the club’s official site doesn’t list Donovan or Barrett on their official roster yet.
As of right now, OCSC only has three forwards, including Larin, on its roster. It seems likely that the club will sign one or two more, which may or may not include Akeil Barrett, before opening their pre-season camp. Thus, while I’d love to see Larin suit up for Louisville City on opening day, it does not look likely. We may, however, see Akeil Barrett and Conor Donovan here in Louisville at the start of our own spring camp.
Other players currently on OCSC’s roster that we might get to see:
Excepting Kaka, there’s a lot of youth in OCSC at the moment. I wouldn’t be surprised to see D Tommy Redding here in Louisville at some point, along with M Harrison Heath, son of head coach Adrian Heath.
Orlando City still has plenty of room for more additions to their roster, but I’d be surprised if Heath and company wouldn’t like for their younger inexperienced players cut their teeth in the Derby City before releasing them into the wilds of MLS. I’m also interested to see whom else they take in the remaining two rounds of the SuperDraft this week. Will they use those picks to bolster their existing roster, or use them with an eye to the future, i.e. projects that could develop into MLS talent while learning at the USL Pro level?
The Mane Land recently posted its opinion on OCSC’s remaining roster needs and concluded that the back line remains an area of dire need, so I think we can expect to be on our own for the LCFC back four. It seems James O’Connor recognizes that, having signed two defenders in Sean Reynolds and Adam “Not Batman” West.
Who do you think we’ll see? Leave it in the comments!
*For the uninitiated, MLS is a big fan of drafts: SuperDraft, supplemental draft, re-entry drafts 1 and 2, expansion drafts, contraction drafts, and sometimes draft beer made in Portland.