It's all starting to happen for Major League Soccer's 2015 expansion teams, and now New York City FC and Orlando City SC know where they stand regarding the various mechanisms they'll use to acquire players over the next few months.
Orlando City won the supporter-conducted draw at Wednesday's Expansion Priority Draft and head coach Adrian Heath jumped at the chance to pick first in the Dec. 10 Expansion Draft, where teams will selecte 10 players each from those made available by the other 19 MLS teams.
“We think we've got some really good young players. What we don't have: We don't have any MLS experience,” Heath said after making the selection. “We think with the Expansion Draft we're going to get one or two players that'll help us straightaway. It's important for us that we get some experience.”
New York City FC, represented by head coach Jason Kreis, then opted to get the No. 1 spot in the MLS Allocation Ranking, the mechanism used to determine which MLS club has first priority to acquire a US men's national team player who signs with MLS after playing abroad, or a former MLS player who returns to theleague after having gone to a club abroad for a transfer fee.
Kreis admitted after making the pick that he and his team already had their eyes on a few players they may select using the mechanism, saying, “We do feel that there's quite a few players in Europe right now that would be interesting for us to use this selection on.”
Orlando, in turn took the first selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Kreis followed by selecting the higher pick in the Discovery Ranking, though revealed almost immediately after that he'd made a mistake and intended to select the top pick in the USL PRO/NASL Player Priority Ranking, which Heath then picked for Orlando.
Here are the full results of the Expansion Priority Draft, in the order they were selected:
1. MLS Expansion Draft: Pick 1 goes to Orlando City SC, Pick 2 goes to New York City FC
2. Allocation Ranking: Pick 1 goes to New York City FC, Pick 2 goes to Orlando City SC
3. MLS SuperDraft: Pick 1 goes to Orlando City SC, Pick 2 goes to New York City FC
4. Discovery Ranking: Pick 20 goes to New York City FC, Pick 21 goes to Orlando City SC
5. USL PRO/NASL Player Priority Ranking: Pick 1 goes to Orlando City SC, Pick 2 goes to New York City FC
6. Waiver/Re-Entry Draft Ranking: Pick 20 goes to New York City FC, Pick 21 goes to Orlando City SC
7. Lottery Ranking: Pick 20 goes to Orlando City SC, Pick 21 goes to New York City FC
8. Designated Player Ranking: Pick 1 goes to New York City FC, Pick 2 goes to Orlando City SC
Here are explanations for all of the player acquisition mechanisms decided on Wednesday:
MLS Expansion Draft
The expansion draft occurs whenever a new team enters the league. Each team gets to pick a total of 10 players from the existing clubs in the league. Since two teams are entering the league, Orlando and New York will take alternating picks. Existing teams can protect up to 11 players. Gen adidas players are automatically protected, as are Homegrown player who are not on the Senior roster (also known as the "Salary Budget Players").
The SuperDraft is the process whereby all of the leagues teams get to pick players coming in from the college system. As expansion teams Orlando City and NYCFC will have the first two positions in the draft.
USL PRO/NASL Player Priority Ranking
NYCFC and OCSC are given priority ranking when signing players from USL PRO or NASL, subject to another MLS club’s right of first refusal.
Designated Player Ranking
The Designated player ranking comes into play when two MLS clubs wish to negotiate the same player, not including returning U.S. Men’s National team players of a certain threshold.
Discovery Ranking, Picks 20&21
The Discovery Ranking is determined by average points per game during the current League season with the team with the lower points per game average earning priority over the team with higher points per game average.
The allocation ranking is used to determine which club has first priority to acquire a USMNT player who has signed with the league, or a player who returns to the MLS after playing abroad. Once a club uses it's ranking to acquire a player, they drop to the bottom of the list. As new franchises, Orlando City and NYFC will take the top two spots in the allocation order. This does not include returing USMNT players above a certain threshold.
Waiver / Re-Entry Draft Ranking
This ranking determines the priority order for picking up players who's club have not excersized their option, or players who have been placed on waiver by their club. Orlando City and NYCFC will take the bottom two positions in the order.
The lottery system is a weighted lottery which assigns Generation Adidas players and draft eligible players who were signed to the league after the MLS SuperDraft. The higher the ranking, the more chance the team will have of winning. Orlando City and NYCFC will take the bottom two positions in the order.
For a complete list of the players already signed by both expansion teams for their 2015 rosters, please check the bottom of the transactions page.