With its final pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Orlando City selected Wake Forest goalkeeper Andrew Pannenberg in the second round (No. 49 overall). The selection was the 22nd pick in the second round and concludes Orlando’s draft day as the Lions traded their third-round pick to FC Dallas last year.
Just the second goalkeeper taken in this year’s draft, Pannenberg only saw action one time in his first two years at Wake Forest. He started in a double-overtime win over Clemson in 2017 and redshirted in 2018. In 2019, the redshirt sophomore became the regular starter for the Demon Deacons, starting 22 of 23 games and all nine games in 2020.
During his first full season as a starter, Pannenberg recorded 50 saves, nine clean sheets, and a 0.72 goals-against average. It was enough to earn him third-team All-ACC honors. He followed that success up by recording four clean sheets in nine games in a shortened 2020 season. He ended the year with 26 saves and a 0.84 goals-against average. Additionally, the Charlotte native was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 9.
Pannenberg was a college teammate of Orlando City midfielder Joey DeZart at Wake Forest. He was the fourth Demon Deacon selected in the draft, with three of his college teammates getting selected in the first round.
What it Means for Orlando City
At 6-foot-3, Pannenberg has good size and may have sufficient upside to keep around and develop. However, Pannenberg will likely be a longshot to make the first team in 2021. Orlando City already has two goalkeepers returning in starter Pedro Gallese and Mason Stajduhar. Last year’s backup, Brian Rowe, is currently out of contract but the club has expressed interest in bringing him back, stating it was in negotiations in “remaining out-of-contract players” in a press release (Rowe was the only remaining such player not named in the release).
It is unlikely that Pannenberg could make the first team unless Rowe departs and the club doesn’t acquire a new backup for Gallese. With Gallese slated to play for Peru in the Copa America, the Lions would likely want an experienced goalkeeper to fill in during his absence.
A second option is that Pannenberg could be signed to Orlando City B, should the team play in 2021. It could be a similar situation to Austin Aviza last year. However, should Pannenberg leave the club, Orlando City will retain his MLS rights.
Here’s a look at what Pannenberg can do: