Through two MLS SuperDrafts, Orlando City has had one selected player make an impact with the team. Most of the players drafted are still learning and could have bright futures ahead of them, but only Cyle Larin has been an effective first-team member to this point in time.
This needs to change this year. Orlando City has the opportunity to draft someone equal to Larin’s quality and at a position where the Lions are the weakest. Miles Robinson could be the answer to Orlando City’s defensive woes.
The Syracuse central defender will be a top-three pick in this year’s SuperDraft, and after a solid outing in the first match of the MLS Combine, some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 1 overall. Personally, I see him going to Atlanta with the second overall pick, and Minnesota taking Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse with the first pick.
The Generation Adidas signee has similarities to current Orlando City defender Tommy Redding. Robinson is composed on the ball and confident with it at his feet. His ability to distribute after he has gained control is a top reason why he is the best defender in the draft. Robinson is also physically strong when the ball is in the air, and fans can be confident that he will come out on top in aerial challenges.
Robinson has also had time playing with the U.S. U-20 team, meaning he has played with Redding. Redding and José Aja are the best center backs on Orlando City’s roster, but because of English-Spanish communication issues they may have difficulty playing together. Robinson playing alongside Redding would solve that issue.
Robinson is also capable of playing in both three- and four-defender systems. In college he played with three defenders, and with the youth national team he played with four at the back and he did not miss a step in either system. This versatility will help him to quickly adapt to whichever MLS team he ends up with.
Still not convinced that Orlando City should trade up? Look at some footage of him below (he is No. 19 in white):
Now for the hard part: What does Orlando City give up for him? To get Robinson, Orlando City will need to get the first or second pick in the SuperDraft. The problem is that the Lions do not have a pick until the third round, so it will be more difficult to work out a trade. Luckily, there are still many options available.
To trade with Atlanta may be the easiest, as Atlanta is currently looking for a defensive midfielder, something Orlando City has a plethora of. Cristian Higuita for the No. 2 overall pick could be enough to do it, but if not, the Lions can always throw in some allocation money and maybe even a late-round pick.
If Orlando City wishes to trade up to get the No. 1 pick, there are a number of players that new Minnesota United Head Coach Adrian Heath might love to reunite with. Brek Shea or Kevin Molino individually may get the trade done, but, same as above, allocation and a late-round pick may be the cherry on top needed to get the trade done. Molino would be a big loss, but Robinson would lighten the blow and go a long way toward curing Orlando City’s defensive woes.