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Minnesota United selects striker Abu Danladi first in MLS SuperDraft

Minnesota United took UCLA forward Abu Danladi with the first overall pick in Friday's MLS SuperDraft in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old Ghanaian, who moved to the United States in 2011, played three seasons with the Bruins after being named national player of the year at nearby Dunn High School in 2013-14.

"There were two or three kids that we thought were very good players, but we just feel that the upside on this kid, the sky is the limit for him," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath, who was Orlando City's manager when the Lions took striker Cyle Larin with the top pick two years ago, said in a press release. "If we think he can do what he can do in the pro game and we think there is a lot of growth still in him as a player and as a person, then we could have a real special talent on our hands."

Many considered Danladi, who scored 18 goals in 42 games for UCLA, the most-talented player in the draft. But there are also questions about his durability after an injury-filled 2016 campaign.

Fellow expansion team Atlanta United selected U.S. U20 captain and Syracuse University center-back Miles Robinson with the second pick. Robinson played two seasons with the Orange and was a semifinalist for the MAC-Hermann award as college soccer's top player in 2016. Robinson could step right into a United back line that includes current and former U.S. national team defenders Greg Garza and Michael Parkhurst. Ex-U.S. center back Carlos Bocanegra is Atlanta's technical director.

New York City FC traded $250,000 in allocation funds to acquire the No. 3 selection from Chicago, and used it on Akron winger Jonathan Lewis. The speedy Lewis spent time in the Fire's academy and has been called up by both the U.S. and Jamaican U20 programs. He played just one season for the Zips, notching two goals and 12 assists in 22 games.

Another early trade landed the Portland Timbers the fourth pick from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $100,000, an international roster spot and the 10th overall pick. The Timbers took France-born, Maryland-raised Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse.

Columbus Crew SC stayed in state to grab the University of Dayton's junior defender Lalas Abubakar at No. 5.

UCLA midfielder Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Connecticut defender Jakob Nerwinski (Vancouver Whitecaps), Providence midfielder Julian Gressel (Atlanta), New Mexico forward Niko Hansen (Columbus) and Hofstra midfielder Joe Holland (Houston) rounded out the first 10 selections.

Round 1

Pick Team Player Pos College
1 (1) Minnesota United Abu Danladi F UCLA
2 (2) Atlanta United Miles Robinson D Syracuse
3 (3) NYCFC (pick acquired from Chicago) Jonathan Lewis M Akron
4 (4) Portland Timbers (pick acquired from Houston) Jeremy Ebobisse F Duke
5 (5) Columbus Crew SC Lalas Abubakar D Dayton
6 (6) San Jose Earthquakes Jackson Yueill M UCLA
7 (7) Vancouver Whitecaps Jakob Nerwinski D UConn
8 (8) Atlanta United Julian Gressel M Providence
9 (9) Columbus Crew SC Niko Hansen F New Mexico
10 (10) Houston Dynamo Joe Holland M Hofstra
11 (11) Chicago Fire Daniel Johnson M Louisville
12 (12) D.C. United Chris Odoi-Atsem D Maryland
13 (13) Real Salt Lake Reagan Dunk D Denver
14 (14) Sporting Kansas City Colton Storm D North Carolina
15 (15) Colorado Rapids Sam Hamilton M Denver
16 (16) NYCFC (pick acquired from Seattle) Kwame Awuah M UConn
17 (17) New York Red Bulls Zeiko Lewis M BC
18 (18) FC Dallas Jacori Hayes M Wake Forest
19 (19) Montreal Impact Nick Depuy F UCSB
20 (20) New England Revolution Brian Wright F Vermont
21 (21) Toronto FC Brandon Aubrey D Notre Dame
22 (22) Seattle Sounders Brian Nana-Sinkam D Stanford

Round 2

Pick Team Player Pos College
1 (23) Minnesota United Alec Ferrell GK Wake Forest
2 (24) Colorado Rapids Liam Callahan D Syracuse
3 (25) Philadelphia Union (pick acquired from MInnesota) Marcus Epps South Florida
4 (26) Chicago Fire (pick acquired from Toronto FC) Stefan Cleveland GK Louisville
5 (27) Chicago Fire (pick acquired from Toronto FC) Guillermo Delgado F Delaware
6 (28) San Jose Earthquakes Lindo Mfeka M South Florida
7 (29) Vancouver Whitecaps Francis de Vries M St. Francis
8 (30) Houston Dynamo Jake McGuire GK Tulsa
9 (31) New England Revolution Napo Matsoso M Kentucky
10 (32) Portland Timbers Michael Amick D UCLA
11 (33) Philadelphia Union Aaron Jones D Clemson
12 (34) D.C. United Eric Klenofsky GK Monmouth
13 (35) Real Salt Lake Justin Schmidt D Washington
14 (36) Houston Dynamo Danilo Radjen D Akron
15 (37) FC Dallas Walker Hume D North Carolina
16 (38) New York City FC Jalen Brown F Xavier
17 (39) New York Red Bulls Ethan Kutler F Colgate
18 (40) FC Dallas Adonijah Reid F Canada Soccer
19 (41) Montreal Impact Shamit Shome M FC Edmonton
20 (42) Minnesota United (pick acquired from Philadelphia) Thomas de Villardi M Delaware
21 (43) D.C. United Jo Vetle Rimstad D Radford
22 (44) Seattle Sounders Dom Oduro M Youth international

Rounds 3 and 4 will take place via conference call Tuesday.


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