The 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas got underway on Thursday with Inter Miami selecting college soccer's top scorer, Clemson forward Robbie Robinson, with the first pick of the draft.
Robinson, who took home the 2019 MAC Hermann trophy as college soccer's best player, put up 18 goals and 9 assists for the Tiger, and was signed as a Generation adidas player in December following the conclusion of his junior year.
Fellow expansion side Nashville SC also picked a Generation adidas player with the No. 2 pick, selecting Indiana defender Jack Maher. The 20-year-old was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and helped the Hoosiers to an NCAA Division I-leading 15 shutouts.
Miami were back at it with the No. 3 pick, acquired in a November trade with FC Cincinnati, this time choosing pre-signed senior Dylan Nealis, a right back from the national champion Georgetown Hoyas. Nealis was a Hermann Trophy finalist and First Team All-American, and is the younger brother of New York Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis.
Pre-signed players off the board quickly
Another Generation adidas player came off the board with the fourth pick of the draft, as Vancouver got some attacking help by selecting Syracuse winger Ryan Raposo.
One of the draft’s most talked-about prospects, Virginia forward Daryl Dike, went to Orlando City with the No. 5 pick after a timeout. The Lions will be hoping for another draft success here after scoring with Chris Mueller at the sixth pick two years ago.
New England completed the run on Generation adidas players with the sixth pick of the draft, picking 6'3" center back Henry Kessler out of national runners-up Virginia, the last GA player available in the draft.
After a run on pre-signed players with the first six picks, only one pre-signed senior remained: Stanford defender Tanner Beason. He didn't last long though, and will have a very short move to make after he was selected No. 12 by the San Jose Earthquakes.
New coaches make their moves
A couple teams with new coaches found themselves in the top 10 of the draft, giving them a wide array of options to help shape new rosters in their image. The Houston Dynamo, led by longtime US U-20 head coach Tab Ramos, selected forward Garrett McLaughlin from Southern Methodist University.
Thierry Henry and the Montreal Impact went a different direction, selecting UNC right back/defensive midfielder Jeremy Kelly with the No. 9 pick before eventually sending him to the Colorado Rapids for $75,000 in General Allocation Money.
The Chicago Fire, also under new management with head coach Raphael Wicky and sporting director Georg Heitz, also traded away their pick, sending the No. 10 selection to the New York Red Bulls for $100,000 in General Allocation Money, which they used to select Marquette left back Patrick Seagrist.
Nashville bet on the draft
Prior to acquiring Kelly, Colorado the 11th pick to Nashville for $75,000 in GAM, which NSC used to pick Wake Forest right back Alistair Johnston.
Nashville also spent to acquire the 13th pick, dealing $50,000 in GAM and $50,000 more of conditional GAM to the Revolution in order to select UNC-Charlotte goalkeeper Elliot Panico.
Three GKs go in First Round
Panico was the first of three goalkeepers to go in Round One. D.C. United selected towering (6'9") goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre from Temple University, following their acquisition of the No. 21 pick from Philadelphia earlier in the day. Three picks later, LAFC selected goalkeeper Paulo Pita from Marshall.
It is not surprising to see a few teams focus goalkeepers on goalkeepers as the draft evolves — players at that position often hit their prime later than field players, and clubs can have more of a hand in their development.
For all the latest picks, be sure to check out MLSsoccer.com's Draft Tracker.