Orlando City typically is able to get some use out of its top draft picks and 2019 was no exception. The Lions nabbed local product Santiago Patino in the first round (No. 3 overall) of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and then picked up defender Kamal Miller in the second round (27th overall).
Patino scored two goals and added an assist in 11 appearances (three starts) over the course of the 2019 season. Miller had a bigger impact, appearing 16 times (14 starts) at center back and fullback during the 2019 season. He didn’t score a goal or assist on one, but that wasn’t his job. He put in 1,350 minutes during the year, dwarfing the totals put up by fellow rookies Patino (322) and Benji Michel (943).
But what about the other guys? After the second round of the MLS SuperDraft, the likelihood of a player having a productive MLS career drops significantly. The Lions had two second-round picks in 2019 and with their second — the No. 38 overall selection — chose Charlotte midfielder Tommy Madden. In Round 3, the team selected defender Scott DeVoss out of Denver with the No. 59 overall pick. Orlando passed with its fourth-round pick at No. 96 — the final selection slot of the draft.
While Patino and Miller signed contracts with Orlando and we watched their rookie seasons unfold, neither Madden nor DeVoss stuck with the club. Both went on to sign USL deals, with Madden inking a deal with New Mexico United in the USL Championship and DeVoss also joining that league with Hartford Athletic. Hartford then sent DeVoss out on loan to FC Tucson in USL League One.
Madden was the more successful of the two Orlando City rookie cuts. He made 13 appearances with New Mexico, starting twice and playing 300 minutes. The 22-year-old did not score a goal but managed a decent 82.8% passing rate on an average of 49 pass attempts per match and contributed one key pass. Defensively, he finished with seven interceptions and three clearances, winning two of four tackles but just 12 of his 38 duels. He was booked twice and committed eight fouls while winning just two. Essentially, Madden played sparingly in a back-up role with a New Mexico side that finished 10th in the Western Conference, grabbing the last playoff spot. New Mexico lost its play-in round game 2-1 to Sacramento Republic. He was not picked up for the 2020 season.
DeVoss did not earn a spot with Hartford and was loaned out to USL League One side FC Tucson on April 11. He played 314 minutes in five appearances (three starts) in 2019 League One play, attempting two shots without scoring a goal or assisting on one. DeVoss passed at an 82.7% rate on about 40 attempts per match without a key pass. He made 13 clearances, two blocks and six interceptions on the season. He had no tackles on one attempt and won six of 13 duels and four of nine aerials. Tucson finished eighth among the 10 USL League One teams at 8-11-9 — a full 17 points ahead of Orlando City B — but missed the playoffs by 10 points.
It’s clear that Orlando City was probably wise not to sign either Madden or DeVoss. Neither played a major role for their minor league team and DeVoss was loaned down to the third division and failed to make an impact. What is also clear is that scouting is an imperfect science, and players taken in later rounds tend to be much less likely to stick with the club that drafts them.
Neither of last year’s unsigned rookies has made it thus far but that’s not to say they won’t or they can’t. There are always late bloomers and perhaps a different situation and a different coach could produce a different outcome for them. But both Madden and DeVoss will forever be linked with Orlando City through the MLS SuperDraft.