With the draft coming later this afternoon, let’s take a look at what players and areas Orlando City can look to address with its three draft picks. The draft isn’t a place you’ll find instant contributors, especially with picks as low as Orlando’s, but it’s a fantastic way to find depth and developmental players.
Before looking at who Luiz Muzzi should go after this season, let’s have a quick reminder of who Orlando selected in the 2021 SuperDraft. The Lions drafted a pair of Georgetown Hoyas in the first round, grabbing forward Derek Dodson and center back Rio Hope-Gund. Dodson had some success in USL while Hope-Gund made no professional appearances. Both had their options declined for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the 2021 draft will go down as a wash for Orlando City.
Hopefully, the 2022 haul will find a little more success than the early returns of last season. This year, I’d once again expect Orlando City to look for a striker. The club has had success with college strikers and Oscar Pareja just needs more bodies up front with training camp looming. Travis Clark of MLSSoccer.com mocked Duke striker Thor Ulfarsson to the Lions in the first round. Ulfarsson is from Iceland, is a Generation Adidas player and he’s considered the top true striker in the draft. If he were to fall to 18, I’d bet the house Orlando snags him.
Outside of a number nine, I wouldn’t be surprised if Orlando targeted a goalkeeper, a central midfielder or a fullback. Orlando could use a solid #2 or developmental shot stopper behind Pedro Gallese, although the club did bring back Mason Stadjuhar for 2022. Fullback and center midfielder are spots the team could use more depth at heading into training camp, especially with the losses of Uri Rosell and Emmanuel Mas.
Truth be told, this is a largely unimportant draft for Orlando City. The club is relying more on the academy and foreign imports to fill out the roster, and that’s placed less of an onus on the draft. Without a top pick, I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the players drafted play a minute for Orlando City. At the same time, the Lions could find a hidden gem who becomes a key squad player for years to come. Who do you want to see Orlando go after and what positions should be targeted in the draft?