The 2018 MLS SuperDraft is in the books and it was marked by trades and overshadowed by significant player moves within the league.
LAFC made Akron defender Joao Moutinho the first overall pick, the first of three defenders going off the board to kick off a hectic first round.
There were five trades in the first 10 picks of the draft, with teams shipping and accruing allocation money in exchange for their slots. LAFC traded back up to No. 3 to take Pacific's Tristan Blackmon, while the Chicago Fire were among the most active, landing Wake Forest senior forward Jon Bakero and Syracuse defensive midfielder Mo Adams.
The Montreal Impact, which had two first-round picks, traded out of the round altogether to stockpile allocation money. Minnesota United traded down as well and still landed a pair of touted prospects at picks Nos. 7 and 15.
The real headlines came via big-money moves that took place during the draft. The Philadelphia Union sent a combined $1.2 million in allocation money ($300,000 general allocation, $900,000 targeted allocation) to the Chicago Fire in exchange for Designated Player attacker David Accam, while Atlanta United announced the long-awaited transfer of Argentine playmaker Ezequiel Barco, in what is reported to be the most expensive signing in league history.
The draft field included seven Generation Adidas players–star underclassmen whose salary will not count against a drafting club's budget until they hit a certain playing time allotment. Those seven players are: Adams, Francis Atuahene (F, Michigan), Joao Moutinho (D, Akron), Edward Opoku (F, Virginia), Mason Toye (F, Indiana), Ema Twumasi (M, Wake Forest) and Gordon Wild (F, Maryland), and they were all taken over the course of the first two rounds. The final two will take place over conference call in a couple of days.
Here are the full results from the 2018 MLS SuperDraft(* indicates Generation Adidas):
1. Los Angeles FC - Joao Moutinho, D, Akron*
Many project Moutinho as a left back despite him starring as a central defender for Akron, and with Walker Zimmerman and Laurent Ciman already projected as the starting tandem, he'll have a hard time breaking through in the center. He'll occupy an international roster slot, but as a Generation Adidas signing, he won't count against the cap. He came through the Sporting Lisbon academy prior to heading to Akron.
2. LA Galaxy - Tomas Hilliard-Arce, D, Stanford
A three-time national champion center back, Hilliard-Arce is seen as one of the safer bets in the draft class. The Galaxy were uncharacteristically poor in the back last season, and Hilliard-Arce could help plug the holes.
3. Los Angeles FC (via D.C. United) - Tristan Blackmon, D, Pacific
The expansion side reportedly dealt $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $100,000 in General Allocation Money to D.C. to take Blackmon, a right back who shot up draft charts after his showing at this past week's MLS Combine in Orlando. It's another defensive move for LAFC, which has already loaded up in the attack with Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi.
4. FC Dallas (via Montreal Impact, via Colorado Rapids) - Francis Atuahene, F, Michigan*
FC Dallas spent $200,000 in allocation money to trade up for Atuahene, a speed demon out of Michigan who will man the wing for Oscar Pareja's side.
5. Chicago Fire (via Minnesota United) - Jon Bakero, F, Wake Forest
The Fire spent big to move up, sending $75,000 in GAM, $100,000 in TAM, the 15th overall pick and a player to be named later (which wound up being goalkeeper Matt Lampson) to Minnesota for Bakero, the Hermann Trophy winner, MLS Combine MVP and son of former Spanish national team and Barcelona standout Jose Mari Bakero. He scored 16 goals and assisted on 14 more in a stellar senior year with the Demon Deacons.
6. Orlando City - Chris Mueller, F, Wisconsin
Mueller led the nation in assists in 2017 with 20 and added nine goals. With Cyle Larin appearing to be on his way to Besiktas, the Lions could be looking for attacking depth, and Mueller is the man to provide it.
7. Minnesota United (via Montreal Impact) - Mason Toye, F, Indiana*
Minnesota turned around and sent $150,000 of TAM to Montreal after netting $100,000 of it from Chicago and used it to take Toye, a 6-foot-3 forward who had 10 goals with Indiana and is the youngest player in the draft at 19.
8. New England Revolution (via Philadelphia Union) - Brandon Bye, D, Western Michigan
Bye projects as a right back despite starring in the midfield at Western Michigan, where he scored 12 goals and added seven assists in his senior season.
9. New England Revolution - Mark Segbers, D, Wisconsin
The Revs take another outside back in Segbers, another winger who projects as a defender. A redundant pick for the Revolution after taking Bye. Segbers had five goals and seven assists as a senior.
10. Chicago Fire (via Real Salt Lake) - Mo Adams, M, Syracuse*
The Fire sent $85,000 of allocation money to RSL to take another impact player in Adams, a defensive midfielder who will have a pair of solid models to follow in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty.
11. FC Dallas - Ema Twumasi, M, Wake Forest*
Like the Revs, FC Dallas went with a redundant second pick in Twumasi after taking Atuahene. On the plus side, both are GA signings who won't count against the cap, but both are also international signings, and those roster slots are limited. FC Dallas clearly isn't put off by that fact, going after the impact attacking players in this class.
12. San Jose Earthquakes - Paul Marie, D, Florida International
An attacking player who projects as a defender in MLS, Marie impressed at the MLS Combine and is a depth signing for an Earthquakes side in the midst of a transition period.
13. Sporting Kansas City - Eric Dick, GK, Butler
The first goalkeeper is off the board, and it's the 6-foot-5 backstop who showed well at the Combine and was expected by many to be the first GK chosen. He's not a pick for the present, with reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia firmly entrenched in the starting lineup.
14. Atlanta United - Jon Gallagher, F, Notre Dame
Gallagher scored 39 goals in his four years at Notre Dame (27 in his final two seasons). He enters the league as an international player, which didn't scare Atlanta away for a second straight year after landing Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel in 2017's draft.
15. Minnesota United (via Chicago Fire) - Wyatt Omsberg, D, Darmouth
Omsberg has drawn rave reviews and his bandwagon only got more packed during the Combine. At 6-foot-4, he certainly has the size and agility to fit the position.
16. New York Red Bulls - Brian White, F, Duke
White is a New Jersey native and he's spent time with the Red Bulls' U-23 side in PDL, so he's already familiar with the organization, and vice versa. White scored 10 goals as a senior.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps - Justin Fiddes, D, Washington
The versatile left back possesses blazing speed and joins a Whitecaps defensive unit that was in the middle of the pack in terms of goals allowed a season ago.
18. Sporting Kansas City (via Portland Timbers) - Graham Smith, D, Denver
Smith figures to be another depth project for Sporting KC, which is set at center back with Ike Opara and Matt Besler but is casting an eye on the future. A season in USL with Swope Park Rangers should be expected.
19. New York City FC - Jeff Caldwell, GK, Virginia
Caldwell won't supplant Sean Johnson as NYCFC's starting goalkeeper, but he was at the top of the list of goalkeepers available in the draft and he'll compete with Andre Rawls for backup minutes.
20. Houston Dynamo - Michael Nelson, GK, SMU
Another goalkeeper flies off the board, with Nelson not having to travel far to link up with his new club. After Tyler Deric's situation unclear following his legal issues, adding another keeper was a priority for the club.
21. Columbus Crew - Ben Lundgaard, GK, Virginia Tech
Make that three goalkeepers in a row! Columbus is set at starting goalkeeper with Zack Steffen, but perhaps the Crew are bracing for their starter to test the European waters again.
22. Seattle Sounders - Alex Roldan, M, Seattle
Roldan joins his older brother, Christian, with the Sounders, a pick sure to make the rising star happy. The younger Roldan was a quality player at nearby Seattle University and will have no problem familiarizing himself to the franchise.
23. Minnesota United (via Toronto FC) - Carter Manley, D, Duke
Minnesota capped a busy first round by dealing $50,000 in allocation to the defending league champions in order to take the versatile right back.
24. Los Angeles FC - Pol Clavet Planellas, M, Pittsburgh
25. Colorado Rapids (via LA Galaxy) - Alan Winn, F, North Carolina
26. Vancouver Whitecaps (via D.C. United) - Lucas Stauffer, D, Creighton
27. Colorado Rapids - Frantzdy Pierrot, F, Coastal Carolina
28. Toronto FC (via Minnesota United) - Tim Kubel, D, Louisville
29. FC Dallas (via Orlando City) - Mauro Cichero, M, SMU
30. San Jose Earthquakes (via Montreal Impact) - Danny Musovski, F, UNLV
31. New York Red Bulls (via Philadelphia Union) - Niko De Vera, D, Akron
32. Columbus Crew (via New England Revolution) - Edward Opoku, M, Virginia*
33. Real Salt Lake - Ricky Lopez-Espin, F, Real Salt Lake
34. FC Dallas - Chris Lema, M, Georgetown
35. San Jose Earthquakes - Mohamed Thiaw, F, Louisville
36. Atlanta United (via Sporting Kansas City) - Oliver Shannon, M, Clemson
37. Atlanta United - Gordon Wild, F, Maryland*
38. Chicago Fire - Diego Campos, M, Clemson
39. New York Red Bulls - Tom Barlow, F, Wisconsin
40. LA Galaxy (via Vancouver Whitecaps) - Drew Skundrich, M, Stanford
41. Minnesota United (via Portland Timbers) - Xavier Gomez, F, Nebraska-Omaha
42. New York City FC - AJ Patterson, M, Wright State
43. Houston Dynamo - Mac Steeves, F, Providence
44. Columbus Crew - Jake Rozhansky, M, Maryland
45. Seattle Sounders - Markus Fjortoft, D, Duke
46. Toronto FC - Drew Shepherd, GK, Western Michigan