In 2016 it happened a little differently.
Jack Harrison was taken as the No. 1 draft pick by the Chicago Fire in the MLS SuperDraft. He was then immediately traded away to New York City FC for the No. 4 overall pick – where the Fire took Brandon Vincent.
Teams trading away top draft picks for either money or more picks later in the draft is not uncommon in any sport. The Boston Celtics did it in the 2017 NBA Draft, San Diego traded its top pick rights to Eli Manning to the New York Giants in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Could it happen again in during the 2018 MLS SuperDraft?
As we approach Friday’s opening rounds, a report from MLSsoccer.com’s Sam Stejskal has suggested Los Angeles Football Club has received “numerous offers” for its No. 1 draft pick. LAFC General Manager John Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com he has received offers, but would not disclose which teams have made those offers.
“I guess what I would say is we haven’t traded it, so that says a lot. People use the term untouchable and off limits and all the rest of it, but the reality is there is no such thing in our world,” he told the website. “So, it just depends. And we are absolutely comfortable that if we make that pick we’ll be ecstatic with it, and therefore it would need to be something better than that to tempt us to trade it.”
He suggested the team doesn’t have their sights set on any one particular player, if they keep the No. 1 pick, but some potential picks are defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce of Stanford or Akron University defender Joao Moutinho. Hilliard-Arce – a three-time national champion with Stanford -- has been a popular mock draft pick for LAFC as an addition to the backline with Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman.
“They’re tradeoffs and I think it depends. You also have to account for position there, so if you’re looking at the best player and you have a ready-made solution [on your roster], it’s easier to go for longer-term upside than a ready-made turnkey solution,” Thorrington said. “It depends on how you look at it. Certainly, we see the potential of both in this draft. When we look at what we have, what we need and what is on offer, we think that there are very good options for us that can help us right away. We also think that there are options we think will be solid contributors in the years to come, and so those are all of the variables that enter into our thinking as we approach Friday.”
LAFC have the first picks in each of the first three rounds and presently do not have a pick in the fourth round. So, as it stands, LAFC has just three picks in the SuperDraft and with positions like midfielder still up in the air – despite signing Benny Feilhaber and Omar Gaber – the coaching staff may want additional picks in the draft to help shore up that position.
“Midfield’s the obvious spot, and therefore the majority of those bigger conversations that are going on are about filling the needs like that,” Thorrington said. “I think if you look at what we have done so far, the building blocks are there but not every piece is put into the puzzle yet, and that is certainly an area we’re looking to add.”
Also of note, according to Stejskal’s report, the team is also discussing the addition of a third designated player. LAFC already has Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi as DPs. Thorrington said the club was looking at options, but may wait until the summer to add a third DP.
The first and second rounds of the MLS SuperDraft will be held on Friday in Philadelphia while the third and fourth rounds will be on Sunday via conference call.
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