Los Angeles Football Club traded for a second pick near the top of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft on Friday, taking right back Tristan Blackmon from the University of the Pacific. It was a surprise move of sorts, as Blackmon was expected to be a first-round selection, but had not been considered a player likely to be taken in the Top 3.
Still, Bob Bradley’s track record in the past with MLS drafts has been largely positive, most notably drafting Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft for Chivas USA. Will Blackmon prove to be another savvy pick? Time will tell, but here’s a little bit about the second ever LAFC draft pick.
Straight outta Vegas
Blackmon grew up in Las Vegas, telling Pro Soccer USA this week that he started playing because his mother played rec soccer in the city. While Las Vegas has produced pros on occasion, including former U.S. international Herculez Gomez, Blackmon admitted the area was not the most competitive environment growing up.
“It’s tough because there isn’t a lot of competition there, but you make the best of it. Luckily my club team was good, and we competed at the national level,” he said.
After being picked, Blackmon appeared to be stunned, but showed the poise to put together a nice speech at the podium in front of the crowd in Philadelphia:
Like many full backs, Blackmon moved around the field in college. Entering the University of the Pacific as a forward, he transitioned, first to winger then to right back, over the course of his college career.
It’s possible that Blackmon will be right back depth for the presumed incoming free agent Steven Beitashour, but there is also a chance he could be moved up to midfield to play wide right if Bob Bradley uses that position.
Here’s a look at his highlights from the MLS combine:
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