Last week, we talked about Orlando City’s past MLS SuperDraft successes, with talents like Cyle Larin, Chris Mueller, and Daryl Dike finding their way to the City Beautiful through the league’s annual talent allocation process.
Things are somewhat different this year, though–Orlando City’s first draft pick is not in the top part of the first round. In fact, the Lions won’t pick until No. 19, and they only have that pick through a trade with Philadelphia. Their natural first round selection is at No. 22.
But never fear! There is always a diamond in the rough to be found, and Orlando City’s scouting network has already picked up solid players later in the draft over the past two years in Kamal Miller (picked 27th in 2019) and Joey DeZart (31st in 2020). I went back to find the best players drafted at 19th overall or later since Orlando City came into the league in 2015.
Tyler Miller (33rd, 2015)
The Sounders snagged goalkeeper Miller out of Northwestern in the middle of the second round. While Miller played sparingly backing up Stefan Frei in Seattle, he became a household name when he was taken in the 2018 Expansion Draft by LAFC and handed their No. 1 jersey. Miller started 61 regular season games in two years in Los Angeles and won the 2019 Supporters’ Shield before Bob Bradley traded him to Minnesota, where he will resume his role as the Loons’ starter when he returns from injury in 2021.
Taylor Washington (23rd, 2016)
While not the rising star that Miller is, Washington has turned into a fun MLS success story since being taken 23rd overall in 2016 by Philadelphia. The fullback spent four years in USL before coming up to MLS with Nashville SC in 2020, where he became a reliable presence off the bench for Gary Smith as Nashville finished 7th in the East and won a playoff game in their expansion season.
Nick DePuy (19th, 2017)
DePuy has had a wild path to MLS prominence since going 19th to Montreal out of UC Santa Barbara. Coming into the pros as a forward, DePuy found limited success until moving to the LA Galaxy in 2019, where he was promptly moved to center back. Dave Romney’s departure and GIancarlo Gonzalez’s struggles created an opening in the starting XI, and DePuy filled it with great results in 2020, starting 15 games and putting himself on the map as a potential rock in the back for Greg Vanney in 2021.
Brandt Bronico (47th, 2017)
Orlando City’s third pick is at No. 49, near the end of the second round. Even there, they could find a talent like Bronico, who has spent the past four years with Chicago Fire FC, starting 37 games in midfield and producing 2 G/8 A from 2018 to 2019. Bronico, who played collegiately at UNC-Charlotte, was moved to Charlotte FC this offseason and will take the field for the expansion side in 2022.
Alex Roldan (22nd, 2018)
Roldan the Younger came into the league with his name widely known thanks to older brother Cristian, who is a mainstay for the USMNT. Alex, drafted to his brother’s Seattle Sounders, proved himself a solid find in his own right, finding playing time in central midfield, on the wing, and eventually at right back during Seattle’s Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs run.
Hassani Dotson (31st, 2019)
Minnesota hit twice in the 2019 draft. They got starting left back Chase Gasper with the 15th pick, just a few spots in front of where Orlando City will be picking this year, and then snagged Dotson early in the second round. Dotson has become a key squad player for the Loons, filling in at right back and in central midfield.
Who will be 2021’s diamond in the rough? Orlando City will have three shots to find one. The 2021 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will stream live on MLSSoccer.com on Thursday, January 21 at 2 pm EST.