Editorial (January 18, 2018) – Major League Soccer’s newest team is now on the clock. Los Angeles FC will play their first game in March but have more important things to worry about. One of those being who to pick first in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft. Recent reports suggest that LAFC are in talks to trade the number one pick. Other clubs have sent offers for the pick to the LAFC in hopes of getting the player they want the most. Will this happen? Will LAFC trade away first pick?
Will LAFC Trade Away First Pick?
Who is the Interested Club?
The Philadelphia Union are the club most interested in getting this spot in the SuperDraft. The terms of the trade would be Targeted and General Allocation Money in exchange for the number one pick. Club GM, John Thorington, will have to weigh the hefty pros and cons of a deal of this magnitude. Thorington has proven himself to be quite the tactician with offseason moves to make LAFC a winner straight out of the gate. His next big move will be how to win the club’s first SuperDraft.
Why Trade The Number One Pick?
There is a precedent for this happening in other leagues in the US. The 2016 MLS SuperDraft saw a similar situation when Jack Harrison was selected first by the Chicago Fire and traded away to New York City FC for the number four pick.
The positive of LAFC turning the first pick over to another club is the cold hard cash they receive in exchange. A move that will put more money in the bank to acquire that elusive third Designated Player spot they are hoping to fill. More money from other teams allows them to get a significant piece to their puzzle for a third Designated Player.
According to the MLS website, LAFC are scouting in Portugal to find that third DP. Money from trading away the first pick could come in handy when it’s time to sign overseas talent.
Who Will Be Number One?
The popular choice on Mock Draft boards is LAFC picking a center back. LAFC will be following in the footsteps of other MLS clubs by selecting a domestic center back in the SuperDraft. The club is expected to pick either Stanford’s Tomas Hilliard-Arce or Akron’s Joao Moutinho.
The former Cardinal, Hilliard-Arce, boasts an impressive resume that includes being a finalist for the MAC Herman Trophy, winning Defensive MVP of the College Cup, and helping Stanford win 3 College Cups in a row. Jordan Morris and Brandon Vincent are proof that Stanford players are capable of instant success in the MLS.
Moutinho had a breakout freshman season with the Zips. He came to Akron by way of the Sporting Lisbon Academy. His passes add poise to any backline that he is on. The comfortability he has with the ball at his feet will definitely prove to be an asset in the pros.
No matter what they do, LAFC will sure to be on the right track for this season. They have made House of Cards-like moves for players this offseason. As of now, LAFC still hold the first pick but that could all change come Friday. Buckle up, because it will be quite the drama-filled night in Philly for the SuperDraft.