Without being a consensus No. 1 selection in the crop of 2020 MLS SuperDraft prospects, much intrigue swirled around who Inter Miami CF would take with this year's top pick.
The club landed on Clemson forward Robbie Robinson, who now has the reputation and expectation of being No. 1. The 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy winner for college soccer's best player, Robinson's resume (and Wikipedia page) is quickly filling with accolades and answers to domestic soccer trivia questions in recent weeks.
For fans of MLS who haven't consumed a ton of the college game this year, the burning questions remain: Who is Robbie Robinson and how will he fit into Inter Miami's expansion season?
After an injury-riddled sophomore season in 2018, Robinson exploded in 2019 to the tune of 18 goals and nine assists in just 19 games. His goal outburst led Clemson to the ACC Tournament final — which they lost to the University of Virginia — as well as on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Stanford in the quarterfinals.
Clemson went 18-2-2 behind Robinson. On top of winning the MAC Hermann trophy, he was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year and led the nation in four statistical categories.
The forward just turned 21 years old in December, too.
During college, he featured with USL side Charleston Battery, making his debut to play two minutes off the bench against Atlanta United in a 3-2 U.S. Open Cup loss.
How will he fit in on Miami's roster?
Ostensibly, Robinson will have the chance to arrive at training camp and turn heads immediately. Miami's roster is still incomplete, punctuated by the fact they have used just one of their three Designated Player slots. Sporting director Paul McDonough has been on the record saying the club will fill all three DP slots. Will one be a center forward?
As currently constituted the club have Julian Carranza, Juan Agudelo and Jerome Kiesewetter as forward options. The latter pair can play on the wings or in attacking midfield. Carranza was signed for a reported $6 million fee, a significant investment from the club in the teenager. He'll be expected to play regular minutes, likely slotting Robinson somewhere behind that trio, looking to carve out a rotational role.
Head coach Diego Alonso is known to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, though, perhaps limiting Robinson's opportunities as the lone forward.
Travis Clark's breakdown
Ahead of the SuperDraft, Travis Clark dove deeper into five players that might be selected with the top pick, including Robinson. Clark noted his potent scoring ability and potential-- As well as his injury history.
The highest-scoring forward available in the draft with regards to 2019 production, there’s a decent case to be made for Miami to lean the way of the South Carolina native. With an eye towards grooming him as a backup, Robinson could be a building block for the bench, able to come in and offer a scoring touch. And given the changing winds of the draft, getting a capable backup forward, even with the top pick, is no knock. His injury history – Robinson missed almost all of his sophomore season – is a reason to stay away with the No. 1 pick.