When the MLS protected and unprotected lists were announced, Designated Player Bryan Rochez stood out as easily the biggest name eligible for selection in today’s MLS Expansion Draft. It was left back Mikey Ambrose, however, that came off the list as Atlanta United’s fourth pick in the draft. He could still be moving elsewhere on in a prearranged deal.
Darren Eales telling MLS that there will be pre-arranged trades announced later today.— Mouths of the South (@MOTSPodcast) December 13, 2016
Hints, hints, everywhere hints. https://t.co/DoSaXQOsiv— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) December 13, 2016
Ambrose, 23, joined the Lions organization as a USL signing for 2016 and played most of the season with Orlando City B. But in the summer transfer window, the Lions acquired his MLS rights from FC Dallas in exchange for a third-round SuperDraft pick in 2018. Prior to coming to Orlando, he has represented the FC Dallas Development Academy, the University of Maryland, and the U.S. national youth program.
The El Paso, TX, native made his MLS debut with Orlando City on Aug. 20 and played well in a 0-0 draw at Colorado Rapids. Ambrose appeared in five games (four starts), playing 405 minutes without registering a goal, assist, or shot.
FC Dallas originally tried to sign Ambrose as a Homegrown Player after he left Maryland to turn pro following his junior season. Given FC Dallas’ tendency to develop young players, Ambrose quickly emerged as an up-and-coming left back. Negotiations ended up breaking down, and the youngster signed with the Austin Aztex, before coming to OCB.
To recap the rest of the Expansion Draft, here is how it all unfolded:
- Atlanta United - Donny Toia, D (Montreal Impact)
- Minnesota United - Chris Duvall, D (New York Red Bulls)
- Atlanta United - Zach Lloyd, D (FC Dallas)
- Minnesota United - Collen Warner, MF (Houston Dynamo)
- Atlanta United - Clint Irwin, GK (Toronto FC)
- Minnesota United - Mohamed Saeid, MF (Columbus Crew)
- Atlanta United - Mikey Ambrose, D (Orlando City)
- Minnesota United - Jeff Attinella, GK (Real Salt Lake)
- Atlanta United - Alec Kann, GK (Sporting Kansas City)
- Minnesota United - Femi Hollinger-Janzen, F (New England Revolution)
With teams still wheeling-and-dealing, there is the possibility for clubs to make deals in order to bring back a player that they lost in the draft. With Orlando already declining to pick up the contract options for Seb Hines, Luke Boden, and Kevin Alston, losing a young outside back player with as much promise as Ambrose could hurt the Lions. The only current left back on the roster (sort of) is Brek Shea.