Expansion club Minnesota United made UCLA forward Abu Danladi the top overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft on Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. Syracuse defender Miles Robinson was the second player off the board to fellow expansion team Atlanta United.
Danladi and Robinson represented the first of 44 selections made during Friday's event, which covered the first two rounds. The third and fourth rounds are scheduled to get completed Tuesday through a conference call involving the league's 22 franchises.
Let's check out a complete list of picks made Friday in L.A. That's followed by a recap of some notable selections and a look at the social-media reaction to the annual showcase of incoming players.
|2017 MLS SuperDraft: Round 1 and 2 Results|
|1||Minnesota United||Abu Danladi, F, UCLA|
|2||Atlanta United||Miles Robinson, D, Syracuse|
|3||New York City FC||Jonathan Lewis, F, Akron|
|4||Portland Timbers||Jeremy Ebobisse, F, Duke|
|5||Columbus Crew||Lalas Abubakar, D, Dayton|
|6||San Jose Earthquakes||Jackson Yueill, M, UCLA|
|7||Vancouver Whitecaps||Jakob Nerwinski, D, UConn|
|8||Atlanta United||Julian Gressel, M, Providence|
|9||Columbus Crew||Niko Hansen, F, New Mexico|
|10||Houston Dynamo||Joe Holland, M, Hofstra|
|11||Chicago Fire||Daniel Johnson, M, Louisville|
|12||D.C. United||Chris Odoi-Atsem, D, Maryland|
|13||Real Salt Lake||Reagan Dunk, D, Denver|
|14||Sporting Kansas City||Colton Storm, D, UNC|
|15||Colorado Rapids||Sam Hamilton, M, Denver|
|16||New York City FC||Kwame Awuah, M, UConn|
|17||New York Red Bulls||Zeiko Lewis, M, Boston College|
|18||FC Dallas||Jacori Hayes, M, Wake Forest|
|19||Montreal Impact||Nick DePuy, F, UC Santa Barbara|
|20||New England Revolution||Brian Wright, F, Vermont|
|21||Toronto FC||Brandon Aubrey, D, Notre Dame|
|22||Seattle Sounders||Brian Nana-Sinkam, D, Stanford|
|23||Minnesota United||Alec Ferrell, G, Wake Forest|
|24||Colorado Rapids||Liam Callahan, D, Syracuse|
|25||Philadelphia Union||Marcus Epps, M, South Florida|
|26||Chicago Fire||Stefan Cleveland, G, Louisville|
|27||Chicago Fire||Guillermo Delgado, F, Delaware|
|28||San Jose Earthquakes||Lindo Mfeka, M, South Florida|
|29||Vancouver Whitecaps||Francis de Vries, D, St. Francis|
|30||Houston Dynamo||Jake McGuire, G, Tulsa|
|31||New England Revolution||Napo Matsoso, M, Kentucky|
|32||Portland Timbers||Michael Amick, D, UCLA|
|33||Philadelphia Union||Aaron Jones, D, Clemson|
|34||D.C. United||Eric Klenofsky, G, Monmouth|
|35||Real Salt Lake||Justin Schmidt, D, Washington|
|36||Houston Dynamo||Danilo Radjen, D, Akron|
|37||FC Dallas||Walker Hume, D, UNC|
|38||New York City FC||Jalen Brown, F, Xavier|
|39||New York Red Bulls||Ethan Kutler, F, Colgate|
|40||FC Dallas||Adonijah Reid, F, ANB Futbol Academy|
|41||Montreal Impact||Shamit Shome, M, FC Edmonton|
|42||Minnesota United||Thomas de Villardi, M, Delaware|
|43||D.C. United||Jo Vetle Rimstad, D, Radford|
|44||Seattle Sounders||Dominic Oduro, D, FC Nordsjaelland|
Recap and Reaction
Danladi is coming off a strong junior campaign with the Bruins during which he tallied a team-high seven goals and two assists across 11 appearances. In all, he found the net 18 times and assisted on 18 more goals in his three years at UCLA.
The Ghana native could step right in to a key attacking role for the Loons. Although there's always a learning period when a young prospect starts going up against experienced professional players, his vision and playmaking ability make him ready for the challenge.
Minnesota United passed along a message from Danladi to the supporters:
The Pac-12 Network provided a glimpse at his attacking skills back in November:
While Minnesota opted for offense with its first MLS pick, Atlanta United went the opposite direction to select Robinson. The 6'2'', 185-pound defender was an immense physical presence at the collegiate level en route to winning the 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
His stature gives him the look of a future stalwart center back at the pro level, but he does bring some offensive skill to the table, as well. He racked up four goals and an assist for the Orange in 2016.
Major League Soccer relayed an interview with Robinson after his selection:
Bay Area broadcaster Tim Swartz is bullish on the defender, including at the international level:
New York City FC pulled off a trade with the Chicago Fire to acquire the third pick. The club made the decision to take Akron forward Jonathan Lewis, a surprising choice based on the side's immense defending woes across its first two years in MLS.
That said, there's no doubting Lewis' long-term potential. He was one of the nation's best distributors, accumulating 12 assists in 22 games for the Zips in 2016. He also scored a pair of goals during his freshman season.
Glenn Crooks of WFAN showcased comments from the winger, who was named the top player at the MLS Scouting Combine, about manager Patrick Vieira's potential vision after the pick:
Ives Galarcep of Goal USA analyzed the selection:
In all, the first round featured the selection of six forwards, eight midfielders and eight defenders. Three schools—UCLA, Connecticut and Denver—tied for the lead with two players apiece taken inside the round's 22 picks.
Alec Ferrell became the first goalkeeper taken by Minnesota with the first selection in Round 2. Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press passed on further details about the Wake Forest standout:
Every team will hope the players it drafted Friday will eventually make an impression on their club. Though in some cases, it could take multiple years before they develop enough to do so. Finding valuable depth through the draft is critical to success in MLS.
That said, the picks are even more important for Minnesota and Atlanta. Those front offices were tasked with trying to secure future faces of the franchise as they build from the ground up. Danladi and Robinson are saddled with those expectations but should prove worth the investment.