The first two rounds of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft are in the books, and Orlando City can say the club came away with almost everything it was looking for.
The Lions kicked things off with their first pick, No. 7 overall, taking University of Akron's Richie Laryea, then traded up again into the first round by sending Targeted Allocation Money and the 32nd overall pick to D.C. United for the ability to draft UCF and Orlando City U-23 forward Hadji Barry.
Both selections add depth and versatility to the squad, as Laryea can play multiple positions around the midfield,and Barry gives Orlando yet another promising forward, adding to a group that includes last year's No. 1 overall pick Cyle Larin, Bryan Rochez, and recently signed academy product Pierre Da Silva, who signed with Orlando City B on Wednesday.
"We felt we needed some solid reinforcements in the forward area," said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the draft. "And we've liked Richie all year, and obviously the fact that he's so close with Cyle Larin -- and, in fact, Cyle Larin kept on us, 'You gotta take Richie Laryea,' because they've grown up together. So, we watched him closely all year and we really liked him. We told him at the interview when he was down at the combine that if he was there at (the seventh overall pick) we would take him. So we were fortunate and very pleased that he was there."
Heath also felt the club did the right thing trading up for Barry, who was projected to go much sooner than the club's second round pick.
"The more we thought about it, the more we kept coming back to Hadji Barry," Heath said. "And we knew he wouldn't have been there at [32nd overall]. I think we just jumped in before [other clubs did]. I think everybody in the room recognized that he's got huge upside -- a lot to do, a lot of work, but he's incredibly athletic.
"Really looking forward to getting to work with him because if the penny drops and he takes on the information, he could be a really great pick-up for us."
Overall, the club was very pleased with what it came away with on draft day, as club President and acting General Manager Phil Rawlins expressed, picking up almost every player on its wish list.
"I'm delighted, and I know the whole coaching staff is delighted as well." Rawlins said afterwards. "We had three targets coming into the day, and we got two of those three targets -- we obviously couldn't get all three because we only had two picks, but we got two of the three that we wanted, which is great. Everybody behind the scenes is very delighted with the two picks we got."