With their first selection in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, Orlando City selected Duke forward Shakur Mohammed with the No. 2 overall pick. Mohammed is a Generation Adidas player, meaning the Lions will get salary cap relief during the first part of his career while he develops. The Lions acquired that draft pick from D.C. United about an hour earlier by trading right back Ruan to their fellow Eastern Conference club, despite already holding the No. 6 overall selection in today’s first round.
The Duke forward is considered one of the top prospects in this year’s draft.
“This is amazing. This is definitely a dream come true for me,” Mohammed said on the league’s SuperDraft stream about being selected. “And to be able to share this moment with my host family and my family back home, and the people that helped me along the way through Duke University and all through high school, it’s just amazing to know that all the work that people put into me is finally paying off. I spoke to (Orlando) a few days ago, and I was telling my host dad, it seems like an elite organization and, you know, it just aligns with my values and all that. So, I’m ready to go and the purple (color) is for sure. a plus. So, let’s go get it.”
Mohammed, a 19-year-old native of Kumasi, Ghana, just completed his sophomore season. He played in 19 games (all starts), this year with the Blue Devils, logging 1,548 minutes, scoring 10 goals and adding two assists. In two years of college soccer, Mohammed made 37 appearances (35 starts), scoring 13 goals to go along with nine assists.
A MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2022, Mohammed received First Team All-America honors, was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and was on the All-ACC First Team as a sophomore.
What It Means for Orlando City
The Lions get a versatile forward who can play in multiple formations. At 5-foot-10, Mohammed has decent size. It took Mohammed only two seasons to become a semifinalist for college soccer’s MVP award and he put the ball in the net for a team in arguably the nation’s best college soccer conference.
With a lack of depth behind Ercan Kara, Orlando City filled an area of need with this pick. The Lions have only Jack Lynn on the roster behind Kara after declining Tesho Akindele’s contract option and not yet having re-signed Benji Michel. I think it’s fair to look for Orlando to continue to add to this position group prior to the season. More experience is needed at the position.
Orlando City will need to use an international slot for the Ghanaian.
Whether Mohammed turns out to be worth the price of giving up a starting right back remains to be seen, but he’s got a lot of upside and could be the next great forward Orlando City has scooped out of the SuperDraft.
Here is his interview with MLSSoccer.com: