It is no surprise that there is some real talent available in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft this year, and with Inter Miami and Nashville entering the league this year as the new expansion teams, those two teams will be adding some great talents to their respective rosters from holding the first 3 picks combined (Inter Miami with picks 1 and 3 and Nashville with pick 2). When looking at the top talent that is available in the draft, and looking what each team needs in terms of roster spots that need to be filled, Travis Clark ( MLS.com contributor) lays out in his article his predictions for the whole first round, but what I would like to do an analyze the top 5 picks in round 1.
Pick 1: Inter Miami CF: Jack Maher, Indiana.
Maher is one of four standout underclassmen to be represented by the Adidas Generations 2020 class, which gives underclassmen the opportunity to enter the MLS SuperDraft before graduating. He is also coming off of a fantastic year, and received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as a freshman, and led his team to a Division 1 leading 15 shutouts. Oh, not to mention he notched in 3 game-winning goals in his freshman year as well. Needless to say, this kid can ball, and has true potential to make an immediate impact on the field, and develop himself into a US National Team player in a fairly quick timespan. Maher will make a good fit as long as Inter Miami CF plans to test the international markets for midfielders and forwards to strengthen their attack, which all signs are pointing to.
Pick 2: Nashville SC: Robbie Robinson, Clemson.
Joining Maher as part of the Adidas Generations 2020 class, junior Robbie Robinson finished his season with 18 goals and 9 assists in 19 games to finish the regular season tied as the top-ranked NCAA Division I goalscorer to earn MAC Hermann Trophy finalist consideration and ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors. For a new club like Nashville, finding a goalscorer on a smaller budget would help them tremendously when it comes to filling other roster positions in the international markets.
Pick 3: Inter Miami CF: Dylan Nealis, Georgetown.
Nealis is one of the two pre-signed seniors projected to go in the first round and is also the younger brother of NY Red Bulls defender, Sean Nealis. Nealis was also a 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy finalist and 2019 College Cup winner.
Pick 4: Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Ryan Raposo, Syracuse.
Raposo, also part of the Adidas Generations 2020 class, recorded 15 goals and 7 assists in his 20 starts as a sophomore. Raposo was one of the leading scorers in the nation in 2019 and based on his performance at the 2019 Adidas MLS College Showcase last month, it seems that Vancouver may be a good spot for the Canadian youth national team player.
Pick 5: Orlando City FC: Henry Kessler, Virginia.
Kessler, who stands at 6 foot 4in., helped lead the Cavaliers backline to a record of 21-2-1, with 12 of those wins being shutouts. Kessler is coming off one of his best seasons with UVA, and it could not have come at a more perfect time entering into the MLS SuperDraft. Orlando City FC and new coach Oscar Pareja are in much need of a solid center back, and it seems that Kessler would be a great fit and add more depth to their roster but, there is a chance that Kessler could surpass Maher as the No. 1 overall pick with the size that he has, which is crucial to the center back position.
Rounds 1 and 2 of the MLS SuperDraft will be live-streamed on Twitter January 9 at 12:30 pm, and rounds 3 and 4 will be held on January 13. Tune in to see what player goes when in the draft!
Click Here to see Travis Clark’s complete first-round predictions.