The 2014 MLS Expansion Draft took place Wednesday, as new franchises Orlando City FC and New York City FC were given the chance to add 10 players each to start finalizing their rosters for the 2015 MLS season.
Orlando won the right to the first overall pick and selected veteran goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts from the Portland Timbers. New York moved for Real Salt Lake's Ned Grabavoy to add some physicality to its midfield.
Below is the full list of selections:
|2014 MLS Expansion Draft Selections|
|Round||Orlando City||New York City|
|1||GK Donovan Ricketts (POR)||MF Ned Grabavoy (RSL)|
|2||MF Tony Cascio (COL)||FW Patrick Mullins (NE)|
|3||DF Jalil Anibaba (SEA)||DF Jason Hernandez (SJ)|
|4||MF/FW Pedro Ribeiro (PHI)||MF Daniel Lovitz (TOR)|
|5||MF Lewis Neal (DC)||FW Tony Taylor (NE)|
|6||FW Jairo Arrieta (CLB)||MF Mehdi Ballouchy (VAN)|
|7||DF Heath Pearce (MTL)||DF George John (DAL)|
|8||FW Danny Mwanga (COL)||MF Thomas McNamara (DC)|
|9||FW Mark Sherrod (HOU)||MF Sal Zizzo (SKC)|
|10||DF Eric Gehrig (COL)||DF Chris Wingert (RSL)|
TSN's Luke Wileman reports Lovitz' tenure with NYCFC was shortlived:
With just three minutes permitted between selections, the pace of this year's draft was furious. Both clubs came in with a clear strategy, and it quickly became clear the mock drafts of numerous pundits were close to spot-on.
Ricketts wasn't a particularly flashy selection for Orlando, but the veteran will add a ton of experience to the squad and compete for the starting position from Day 1, as shared by MLSsoccer.com's Darrell Lovell:
People had been mocking Grabavoy to New York City for weeks, making for arguably the least surprising selection of the entire draft. The 31-year-old midfielder is a smart and reliable player and should combine well with stars Frank Lampard and David Villa.
Salt Lake used the opportunity to move Carlos Salcedo to the protected list, something that somewhat surprised Goal's Ives Galarcep:
New York City also made an intriguing selection with its second pick, going after the New England Revolution's Patrick Mullins. The talented youngster looked very solid throughout the MLS playoffs, and ITV's Kristan Heneage loved the selection:
Orlando added Lewis Neal, who became somewhat of a fan favorite during his one season with Orlando City of the USL Pro. Galarcep wasn't a huge fan of the selection but understood the mechanics behind the pick:
New England became the first team to be taken out of the draft after New York City selected forward Tony Taylor in the fifth round.
New York made the conscious choice of going after high-risk, high-reward type players, including several players who will come with some injury concerns. Galarcep didn't mind, however:
Grabavoy will be a big piece of the team's midfield moving forward, while Mullins has the potential to develop into a very good MLS contributor. Chris Wingert will also be returning home, a move that will no doubt sit well with the fans.
Orlando appears ready to attack the trade market with a bevy of young prospects, and while the selection of Ricketts will not excite the fans as much as someone like Grabavoy would, adding experience is never a bad thing. Houston's Mark Sherrod could turn into the steal of the draft after showing plenty of potential during his rookie season.