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MLS Draft 2015: How Did Orlando City Grade Out?

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Lions address areas of need and get three potential future starters, taking forward Cyle Larin, center back Conor Donovan and midfielder / forward Akeil Barrett in the first two rounds

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City SC has its first MLS SuperDraft in the books, completing yet another historic event in a year of historic events.

So, how did they do?

Overall, I'd have to give this draft an ‘A' grade, with the caveat that we obviously have no idea how these players will develop. The club addressed three areas of need by selecting a striker, a center back and a wing player. Further, the players selected could have gone higher, with the exception of the No. 1 pick.

Here's how the draft went:

The Lions kicked off the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by taking the player many considered the best in the entire draft pool, Cyle Larin. We told you a bit about him earlier, but the upshot is that the club has a potential future star at striker, which is never a bad thing in a sport where scoring the most goals is paramount to winning.

"I'd like to thank Phil Rawlins, Paul McDonough, Coach Adrian Heath, and the entire Orlando City organization for picking me first," said Larin. "I really appreciate it, and I can't wait to come in and work really hard."

"Cyle ticks a lot of the boxes that you look for in a modern day striker," said Head Coach Adrian Heath. "He has good size, he's very athletic, and he can score a variety of goals. He has a little bit of everything, and ultimately it came down to the fact that goal-scorers are a hot commodity."

There were likely many opportunities to trade down and collect additional picks, future picks, allocation cash, current MLS players, or all of the above. In the end, Orlando City's front office decided that none of the offers were worth as much as what Larin could potentially become.

Orlando City continued its strong inaugural MLS SuperDraft by taking North Carolina defender Conor Donovan, a standout Generation Adidas prospect at center back.

He's the second youngest player in the draft pool, coming out of college after his freshman season, and is currently playing for the U-20 USMNT in Jamaica in the CONCACAF Championships, where he is teammates with Lions right back Tyler Turner.

Donovan made 15 appearances for North Carolina State in his freshman season, scoring one goal and adding an assist. A Fuquay-Varina, NC, native, the 6-foot-2, 176-pound Donovan trained with both the U.S. U-18 and U-20 youth national teams, scoring three international goals in more than 30 caps.

He is no stranger to Florida, having attended the U-17 USMNT Residency Program in Bradenton.

The Lions will be able to bring Donovan along slowly, develop his game, and get him to bulk up a little. As a center back, he fills an area of need, even though he probably won't be able to contribute immediately. You can never have enough good center backs, so this was a solid selection.

Just three picks later, City chose diminutive (5-foot-7, 130 pounds) winger Akeil Barrett from the University of Tulsa. The Kingston, Jamaica native played his freshman year at the University of Akron before transferring to Tulsa.

Barrett scored 22 collegiate goals and earned honors such as Conference USA All-Tournament Team (2012), NSCAA All-Midwest Region Third Team (2013), All-Conference USA Second Team (2013) and American Athletic Conference First Team (2014).

Orlando City may be an expansion team, but the Lions seemed to handle their first ever MLS SuperDraft like a well-established club.

They took the guy many believe to be the best player in the draft in forward Cyle Larin with the No. 1 pick, which makes sense. They added a defender many thought would go in the first round in center back Conor Donovan, a very young Generation Adidas prospect with tremendous upside. Orlando City finished the day by taking Jamaican winger Akeil Barrett.

The team addressed three areas of need and we feel they made good choices. Without knowing how these three players will develop, I don't see how they could get anything but an A.

Here's how the SuperDraft unfolded:

Round 1

Pick #

MLS team

Player

POS.

School

1

Orlando City SC

Cyle Larin

F

Connecticut

2

New York City FC

Khiry Shelton

F

Oregon State

3

Montreal Impact

Romario Williams

F

Central Florida

4

San Jose Earthquakes

Fatai Alashe

MF

Michigan State

5

Portland Timbers

Nick Besler

MF

Notre Dame

6

Toronto FC

Alex Bono

GK

Syracuse

7

Chicago Fire

Matt Polster

D

Southern Illinois

8

Houston Dynamo

Zach Steinberger

MF

Butler

9

Toronto FC

Clement Simonen

D

North Carolina State

10

Sporting Kansas City

Connor Hallisey

MF

California

11

Toronto FC

Skylar Thomas

D

Syracuse

12

Sporting Kansas City

Saad Abdul-Salaam

D

Akron

13

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Tim Parker

D

St. John’s

14

Colorado Rapids

Axel Sjoberg

D

Marquette

15

FC Dallas

Otis Earle

D

California-Riverside

16

Seattle Sounders FC

Cristian Roldan

MF

Washington

17

D.C. United

Miguel Aguilar

F

San Francisco

18

New York Red Bulls

Leo Stolz

MF

UCLA

19

Columbus Crew SC

Sergio Campbell

D

Connecticut

20

Sporting Kansas City

Amadou Dia

MF

Clemson

21

Los Angeles Galaxy

Ignacio Maganto

F

Iona

Round 2

Pick #

MLS team

Player

POS.

School

22

Orlando City SC

Conor Donovan

D

North Carolina State

23

New York City FC

Connor Brandt

MF

San Diego

24

Portland Timbers

Andy Thoma

D

Washington

25

Orlando City SC

Akeil Barrett

MF

Tulsa

26

Colorado Rapids

Joseph Greenspan

D

Navy

27

Real Salt Lake

Boyd Okwuonu

D

North Carolina

28

Chicago Fire

Kingsley Bryce

F

St. Louis

29

Toronto FC

Wesley Charpie

D

South Florida

30

Houston Dynamo

Oumar Ballo

D

UMBC

31

Philadelphia Union

Dzenan Catic

D

Davenport

32

Portland Timbers

Christian Volesky

F

Southern Illinois

33

Seattle Sounders FC

Tyler Miller

GK

Northwestern

34

Portland Timbers

Kharlton Belmar

F

Virginia Commonwealth

35

Columbus Crew SC

Sagi Lev Ari

F

Cal State-Northridge

36

Houston Dynamo

Rob Lovejoy

F

North Carolina

37

Toronto FC

Edwin Rivas

F

Cal State-Northridge

38

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Kay Banjo

F

UMBC

39

New York Red Bulls

Stefano Bonomo

F

California

40

Seattle Sounders FC

Oneil Fisher

MF

New Mexico

41

Philadelphia Union

Eric Bird

MF

Virginia

42

D.C. United

Dan Metzger

MF

Maryland