With the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Orlando City has selected forward Derek Dodson out of Georgetown. The Lions moved up to make this selection by trading a total of $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) to the Portland Timbers to secure the No. 8 overall pick. Orlando will send $75,000 in 2021 GAM and $25,000 in 2022 GAM to Portland.
“We had [Derek] Dodson in mind and No. 8 is where we thought he was going to go,” Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “We liked Dodson a lot, since we saw him play last year in the final, and we thought this a great move to get a guy that we really wanted. We think there’s a lot of talent. We think that college is a part of our system and we value our system. There’s a lot of good players in college, a lot of great programs out there that do a great job. We’re really happy.”
Dodson played 65 matches in three seasons at Georgetown (47 starts) and was a dynamic scorer, racking up 30 goals and 11 assists. Of his 30 goals, 10 were game winners and he scored on three of his four penalty kick attempts.
During his 2019 season, the 6-foot native of Aurora, IL was one of three team captains, earned United Soccer Coaches All-America honors, was named First Team All-Big East selection, was named to the Big East All-Tournament Team, and won the Big East Offensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 27.
What it Means for Orlando City
With Dom Dwyer moving on, there was room on the roster for an additional forward. Daryl Dike’s emergence last year meant that his stay in MLS could be short-lived, as European clubs now have an eye on the young striker. Dodson’s addition will provide some cover on both fronts, and if Dike hangs around, there will be no rush to get Dodson on the field.
Furthermore, Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja has been able to develop young players, as seen last year when both Dike and Joey DeZart got on the field often as rookies and youngsters like Andres Perea played vital roles on the team. If Pareja can develop Dodson, this pick will look good down the road for Orlando.
Dodson took 162 shots in his 65 collegiate matches (2.49 shot attempts per game) and got 70 of them on frame, so he’s got an eye for goal. That’s a skill that the Lions could use and one that is vital for any striker at the MLS level.
All five of the Generation Adidas players came off the board before Orlando selected, so there is no cap relief for this player. The Lions will need to sign him, as is the case with most draft selections. Orlando trading up to make this pick makes this selection vital, as the GAM the team parted with is a valuable asset. Luiz Muzzi and company have worked the draft well in the past, so we’ll wait to see how Dodson develops.
Here’s a look at what Dodson can do:
Orlando City currently holds two more selections in the first round and three in the SuperDraft. The Lions are set to pick at No. 19, 22, and 49.