On the eve of the latest MLS Expansion Draft for newcomers New York City FC and Orlando City SC, Seth and I thought it would be fun to do a little mock draft of how we think the day might play out. In all reality, each one of these 20 picks could be wrong, but it was fun to try out anyway. I mean, we're bound to get at least a couple right probably.
For this exercise Seth took the reins for Jason Kreis' NYC FC and I made the calls for the purple lions, Orlando City.
Rd. 1 - OC: Eddie Johnson (DC moves Arnaud to protected list)
It seemed the obvious choice to select EJ first overall. Johnson recently expressed an interest in finishing his career in his home state, and he might just find himself in a better situation in Orlando, even if it comes at a high price tag for the Lions.
Rd. 1 - NYC: Peguy Luyindula (NY moves Tim Cahill to protected list)
Luyindula was a driving force for the Red Bulls this year (5 goals, 1 assist), particularly in the playoffs (3 goals, 2 assists).
Rd. 2 - OC: Corey Ashe (HOU moves Inkoom to protected list)
Ashe is arguably the best fullback available and is someone who could be inserted right into OCSC's starting XI from day 1. This fills a need and doesn't break the bank.
Rd. 2 - NYC: Ned Grabavoy (RSL moves Chris Wingert to the protected list)
Jason Kreis picks up an old friend in Grabavoy, a player that will solidify the midfield.
Rd. 3 - OC: Brian Span (DAL moves George John to protected list)
After spending most of last season with Orlando on loan from Dallas (19 appearances and 3 goals), it seems to make sense that the Lions would want to make Span a permanent fixture in their squad as they jump to the top flight. Heath is familiar with him and will find him a useful attacking option.
Rd. 3 - NYC: Austin Berry (PHI move Zac MacMath to the protected list)
A bit of a risky pick, but a change of location might be enough to spark a career renaissance for Berry, who once won Rookie of the Year.
Rd. 4 - OC: Patrick Mullins (NE moves Steve Neumann to protected list)
Still thin up top, Orlando takes one of the best young talents in the available pool in Mullins. He had a hot and cold year with the Revs, but finished strong with a great substitute performance in the MLS Cup final.
Rd. 4 - NYC: Benji Joya (CHI moves Bakary Soumare to the protected list)
Joya didn't offer much when with Chicago (1 goal in 12 appearances), but the 21-year-old, who captained the US U-20s, has loads of potential.
Rd. 5 - OC: Lawrence Olum (KC moves Dovale to protected list)
Olum is another player who spent time with Orlando back in 2011 and whom Adrian Heath will be familiar with. Plus, Olum is familiar with playing alongside new addition Aurelien Collin, which could prove to be an added bonus.
Rd. 5 - NYC: David Texeira (DAL is done)
A young, speedy striker that needs someone like Kreis to unlock his potential.
Rd. 6 - OC: Cordell Cato (SJ moves Adam Jahn to protected list)
Cato is cheap, fast, and versatile.I felt that Orlando needed to jump on him sooner rather than later. His pace as right-sided winger should compliment the likes of Kevin Molino on the left quite well.
Rd. 6 - NYC: Dan Gargan (LA moves Todd Dunivant to protected list)
After a career year in LA where he won an MLS Cup, Gargan moves east to provide NYC FC with a veteran presence.
Rd. 7 - OC: Danny Cruz (PHI is done)
Cruz isn't the most glamorous player, but he's certainly a hard worker. Able to play on either side of the midfield, the 24-year-old Cruz would be a great piece to add to the Lions' midfield.
Rd. 7 - NYC: Devon Sandoval (RSL is done)
In search of a striker, Kreis grabs Sandoval to learn from David Villa.
Rd. 8 - OC: Kenny Cooper (SEA moves Azira to protected list)
Cooper was a bit-part player in Seattle. In Orlando, he could be a star. the MLS veteran knows his way around the league and is a top-shelf finisher in front of net. Perhaps it's a bit risky, but I think Orlando would see the value in adding him to their striking arsenal.
Rd. 8 - NYC: Darrius Barnes (NE is done)
The versatility of Barnes will come in handy as Kreis looks to build his starting XI.
Rd. 9 - OC: Chris Korb (DC is done)
Korb proved to be a legitimate member of the backline that helped DC United claim first-place in the Eastern Conference in 2014. His ability to play either fullback position makes him a great depth pick-up for OCSC.
Rd. 9 - NYC: Ben Speas (CLB moves Eric Gehrig to protected list)
After a learning from Higuaín in Columbus, Speas is ready to make an impact of his own.
Rd. 10 - OC: Kevan George (CLB is done)
The Trinidadian center-midfielder will be another depth addition for Orlando, but a talented and cheap one that makes sense. George will have his work cut out for him for a starting spot, however, with the likes of Amobi Okugo, Darwin Ceren, and Estrela likely all ahead of him on the depth chart.
Rd. 10 - NYC: Dylan Remick (SEA is done)
A young defender that can play left back? It's a rarity in MLS which makes this pick a smart one.
Corey's synopsis of how he thinks his OCSC draft went:
This is an immensely talented pool of players to choose from, so just about all decisions were pretty tough to make. Ultimately, I took Orlando's existing squad and tried to bolster it with some cost-effective young talent such as Cato and Mullins as well as some guys who have been around the MLS block already like Ashe, Cruz, and Olum. Splashing the cash on Eddie Johnson and Kenny Cooper was perhaps a bit risky, but it felt right, especially when you consider that Kaka's going to need some quality strikers to finish the myriad chances he's bound to create.
Seth's synopsis of how he thinks his NYCFC draft went:
With Kreis' ability to develop young, underutilized talent in mind, I searched for players with potential. Joya, Texeira, Speas and Remick could all be future stars if they land on the right team. Picking a lot of youth can be risky, so I also opted to draft reliable veterans like Luyindula, Gargan and Barnes. Grabavoy and Sandoval round out my draft class to give Kreis some familiar faces to work with.