When Orlando City drafted midfielder Chris Mueller with sixth pick in the 2018 MLS Superdraft, they knew they were getting someone who could contribute immediately.
“One of our focuses for this pick was not to pick somebody that we thought we could develop over several years,” said Jason Kreis following Mueller’s selection. “It was to pick somebody we think can contribute in 2018 and we definitely think that about Chris.”
With 11 starts, 3 goals and 4 assists you could say that Mueller has certainly lived up to those expectations. You might even say Mueller is the favorite for Rookie of the Year.
How has the rest of Major League Soccer’s rookie class performed?
To start, Mueller has played more minutes this season then the 5 players drafted ahead of him combined. Of those 5 only the first overall pick, center back Joao Moutinho, has been a consistent contributor. He has started in 6 matches for LAFC, adding a goal to some consistent defensive performances.
Of the rest of the first round selections, only Chicago’s Mo Adams (10th overall) and Seattle’s Alex Roldan (22nd overall) have found consistent playing time. Adams has 9 starts on the season but has yet to find the score sheet. Roldan recorded an assist in the first of his 7 starts, but hasn’t contributed on the score sheet since.
If the vote was today, Mueller would likely be the unanimous choice for the award. At the moment, there is no rookie that is providing his team with anywhere near the level of production that he is.
We’ll see if any of Mueller’s fellow rookies can make this a race at the end of the season.