2017 MLS SuperDraft: Minnesota resists trading, takes UCLA's Danladi No. 1

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Friday January 13th, 2017

Despite rumors of trade talk, MLS expansion club Minnesota United held onto the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and took star UCLA forward Abu Danladi to kick off the festivities at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday.

Fellow expansion team Atlanta United followed at No. 2 and took Syracuse and U.S. Under-20 national team center back Miles Robinson.

Both were part of this year's Generation Adidas class, which is made up of star underclassmen who do not immediately count against a team's salary budget. It also included forwards Jonathan Lewis (Akron) and Adonijah Reid (Canada youth national team) and midfielders Jackson Yueill (UCLA) and Shamit Shome (FC Edmonton).

Former Duke product Jeremy Ebobisse is another top prospect and was touted as a potential No. 1 selection, and he went fourth overall to the Portland Timbers, who traded up to acquire his services.

The league also introduced a new wrinkle, divulging the exact figures of how much allocation money was involved in announced trades. New York City FC, for example, spent $250,000 in general allocation money to trade up to No. 3 and select Lewis with the pick that initially belonged to the Chicago Fire. Portland, meanwhile, sent $100,000 in general allocation money to Houston to take Ebobisse.

​Here are the picks for the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft (the final two rounds take place via conference call on Jan. 17):

1
1Minnesota United
Abu Danladi, F, UCLA*

Oft-injured but supremely talented, the dynamic Danladi joins a potentially potent attacking corps in Minnesota, along with incumbents Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez. He had 18 goals in three seasons at UCLA.

2
2Atlanta United
Miles Robinson, D, Syracuse*

Widely regarded as the best defender available in the draft, the U.S. U-20 center back joins the expansion project in Atlanta.

3
3New York City FC (Via Chicago)
Jonathan Lewis, F, Akron*

NYCFC executed a trade with Chicago for the second straight draft, sending $250,000 in general allocation money to the Fire for the chance to select Lewis, the MVP of the college combine.

4
4Portland Timbers (Via Houston)
Jeremy Ebobisse, F, Duke

The Timbers swapped first-rounders, sent an international roster spot and $100,000 in general allocation money for the chance to pick Ebobisse,a former Duke product who spent time with the USL's Charleston Battery after signing with MLS. Another U.S. U-20 product, Ebobisse had been touted as a first overall possibility.

5
5Columbus Crew SC
Lalas Abubakar, D, Dayton

A second center back goes off the board, as Columbus looks to rebuild its back line after taking a local product (via Ghana). Columbus is expected to be without Gaston Sauro in 2017 and lost Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta in the off-season.

6
6San Jose Earthquakes
Jackson Yueill, M, UCLA*

The central midfielder becomes the second Bruin off the board in L.A. and goes up the coast to the Earthquakes, who are in need of a dynamic punch in the midfield after scoring the fewest goals in MLS (32) last season.

7
7Vancouver Whitecaps
Jakob Nerwinski, D, UCONN

The Whitecaps leaked goals last season, so they turn to the Huskies' right back, who enjoyed a strong combine.

8
8Atlanta United (via Orlando)
Julian Gressel, M, Providence

The German midfielder will occupy an international roster spot. He starred in 2016 at Providence with 15 goals and six assists.

9
9Columbus Crew SC (Via New England)
Niko Hansen, F, New Mexico

The versatile winger offers another attacking piece to Gregg Berhalter's squad after a 13-goal, three-assist campaign as a senior with the Lobos. Had 28 goals and 14 assists in his four years in school.

10
10Houston Dynamo (Via Portland)
Joe Holland, M, Hofstra

The first player not present at the draft is off the board! The London native will require an international spot and is already 24, but he had 26 assists in the last three seasons with the Pride.

11
11Chicago Fire (Via Philadelphia)
Daniel Johnson, M, Louisville

Johnson's stock soared at the combine after his strong showing in the last few days, and he parlayed it into a high pick. Johnson transferred from Maryland after two seasons and had a pair of goals and five assists as a senior with the Cardinals. Spent time with West Ham while living in London from 2009-2012.

12
12D.C. United
Chris Odoi-Atsem, D, Maryland

D.C. goes into its backyard to take Odoi-Atsem, an athletic, attack-minded right back. The club also has Sean Franklin and experimental fullback Nick DeLeon at the position, but Odoi-Atsem comes in highly regarded.

13
13Real Salt Lake
Reagan Dunk, D, Denver

A third right back goes off the board, with Dunk staying in the Rocky Mountain region and heading to Rio Tinto Stadium, where Tony Beltran is the incumbent starter.

14
14Sporting Kansas City
Colton Storm, D, North Carolina

The run on right backs continues! Storm, a tremendous athlete, showed well at the combine but faces competition with Sporting KC to make the first team off the bat, especially if Graham Zusi becomes a regular right back for club and country.

15
15Colorado Rapids (Via LA)
Sam Hamilton, M, Denver

Colorado keeps it local with the pick it received in exchange for the MLS rights to another defensive midfielder, Jermaine Jones.

16
16New York City FC (Via Seattle...via NYCFC)
Kwame Awuah, M, UConn

NYCFC sent $75,000 in general allocation money to Seattle for a pick it once owned in order to select Awuah, who played left back and midfield at UConn. NYCFC has spent $325,000 in GAM just to be able to draft a pair of players.

17
17New York Red Bulls
Zeiko Lewis, M, Boston College

A Bermuda international, the speedy winger offers a successor to Dane Richards and Lloyd Sam and expressed quite the chip on his shoulder in his post-pick remarks. He's eager to prove he should've been drafted higher.

18
18FC Dallas
Jacori Hayes, M, Wake Forest

The box-to-box midfielder falls to Oscar Pareja's squad, giving the Supporters' Shield winner another talented, versatile option on an already deep squad.

19
19Montreal Impact
Nick DePuy, F, UC Santa Barbara

DePuy has played in the front and the back in college, ending his college career with the Gauchos as a target forward. At 6-foot-4, he provides ample size either as a forward or as a center back.

20
20New England Revolution (Via Colorado)
Brian Wright, F, Vermont

The Revolution keep it in New England with Wright, who lit it up with the Catamounts. In four seasons, he scored 39 goals and added 25 assists, with 14 and 12, respectively, as a senior.

21
21Toronto FC
Brandon Aubrey, D, Notre Dame

Aubrey dropped after his combine performance, but he was highly touted during his four years as a center back with the Fighting Irish. As a senior, he scored nine goals, showing a nose for goal when he got into the attacking third.

22
22Seattle Sounders
Brian Nana-Sinkam, D, Stanford

The back-to-back national champion goes to the MLS Cup champion to close the first round, providing depth at center back for the Sounders, where he'll re-team with Jordan Morris.

23
1Minnesota United
Alec Ferrell, GK, Wake Forest

 

24
2Colorado Rapids (Via Atlanta)
Liam Callahan, D, Syracuse

 

25
3Philadelphia Union (Via Minnesota, Chicago)
Marcus Epps, F, South Florida

 

26
Chicago Fire (Via Toronto, Houston)
Stefan Cleveland, GK, Louisville

 

27
Chicago Fire (Via Toronto, Montreal, Columbus)
Guillermo Delgado, F, Delaware

 

28
6San Jose Earthquakes
Lindo Mfeka, M, South Florida

 

29
7Vancouver Whitecaps
Francis de Vries, D, St. Francis

 

30
Houston Dynamo (Via Orlando)
Jake McGuire, GK, Tulsa

 

31
New England Revolution
Napo Matoso, M, Kentucky

 

32
10Portland Timbers
Michael Amick, D, UCLA

 

33
Philadelphia Union
Aaron Jones, D, Clemson

 

34
12D.C. United
Eric Klenofsky, GK, Monmouth

 

35
13Real Salt Lake
Justin Schmidt, D, Washington

 

36
14Houston Dynamo (Via Sporting KC)
Danilo Radjen, D, Akron

 

37
FC Dallas (Via LA)
Walker Hume, D, North Carolina

 

38
New York City FC
Jalen Brown, F, Xavier

 

39
17New York Red Bulls
Ethan Kutler, M, Colgate

 

40
18FC Dallas
Adonijah Reid, F, Ontario, Canada*

 

41
19Montreal Impact
Shamit Shome, M, FC Edmonton*

 

42
Minnesota United (Via Philadelphia, Colorado)
Thomas de Villardi, D, Delaware

 

43
D.C. United (Via Portland, Toronto)
Jo Vetle Rimstad, D, Radford

 

44
22Seattle Sounders
Dominic Oduro, D/M, FC Nordsjaelland

 

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