It’s typical in so many walks of life.
Once you’ve gone through something, the next time it comes up it’s much easier and you see all the details much clearer. Apparently, that’s the case for Manny Lagos and the rest of the Minnesota United brass when it comes to MLS SuperDrafts because Friday they stunned many when they acquired five players, including three first-round selections.
In a dizzying series of events, the Loons made numerous transactions and left with a draft haul that had seemingly every media outlet crowning them among the “winners” of this draft.
“We’re pleased with the day we had [and] it didn’t cost us too much,” MNUFC’s head coach Adrian Heath told reporters.
There’s no doubt that on the surface it appears the Loons have done good business on the day, and that’s most clear when you analyze how their selections addressed some of the most pressing team needs.
First, let’s look at the haul:
- No. 7 – Mason Toye, Forward, Indiana University
- No. 15 – Wyatt Omsberg, Defender, Dartmouth
- No. 28 – Carter Manley, Defender, Duke
- No. 41 – Xavier Gomez, Midfielder, University of Nebraska Omaha
Acquired via Trade
- From Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson, Goalkeeper
Toye, 19, was the youngest player in the draft but one who comes with tremendous upside. The young striker had a phenomenal freshman season in the Big Ten where he was named to the conference’s first team and was awarded freshman of the year.
It’s an ideal move for Minnesota to go long-term investment here because Christian Ramirez, who scored 14 goals last term, has an absolute stranglehold on the starting forward position. Not to mention Ramirez’s backup Abu Danladi, last year’s No. 1 overall selection and runner-up for MLS Rookie of the Year, had a standout first season and is poised to pick up any slack as needed.
Everyone and their mother knows United’s primary Achilles Heel in its inaugural MLS campaign was an egregiously leaky defense. And primarily so when it came to defending crosses or set pieces.
Smartly, Lagos — United’s sporting director — is throwing numbers at the problem by using his remaining first-round selections on defenders. Omsberg, who is 6-foot-4, is the especially intriguing pick as his size could prove vitally useful. The Maine native was also considered to be among the best centerbacks in the draft.
“You look at Wyatt [Omsberg], he sort of deceives you with his size. He’s 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, but his timing of his runs and his agility test, he was in the top four or five people,” Heath said.
Manley, meanwhile, started every match for Duke in his junior and season seasons. Apparently, his athleticism is through the roof and he’s actually already got to know the MNUFC players and staff as he trained a bit with the team last summer.
Now, it’s time for the cold water.
Though it seems the Loons have done well during the 2018 draft process, the statistics from the 2017 draft point to some potentially worrying trends.
During the 2017 draft, a total of 81 players were chosen but only 11 percent of them would go on to make 10 or more game appearances. This led MLS analyst Benjamin Baer to opine, “You are unlikely to find instant impact in this year’s draft.”
A more numerical breakdown was displayed as follows:
- Made an MLS roster: 42
- Appeared in 1-plus MLS games: 27
- Appeared in 10-plus MLS games: 9
- Appeared in 20-plus MLS games: 3
- Currently on an MLS roster: 27
- Played in USL while on loan from an MLS club: 29
- Signed by a USL club: 24
Fittingly, Minnesota represented both sides of this coin in 2017. On one hand, United had arguably the best instant impact from any rookie by the aforementioned Danladi with eight goals and three assists. On the other, United’s other two selections in that draft, Alec Ferrell and Thomas De Villardi, are no longer even in the league.
Only time will tell per usual. But United certainly increased its odds of getting guys that will stick buy acquiring multiple first-round picks. From that same 2017 data set, 16 of the 22 first round picks were retained, the highest percentage of any round by far.