The draft, which will likely have a lasting impact, took a matter of a minute. (You can read up on the 2014 Priority Draft here.) Atlanta won the coin toss and with their first choice, they chose to take the first pick in the December expansion draft. In this draft, each team will be able to pick up five unprotected players from the existing MLS teams.
After the Priority Draft, sporting director Manny Lagos was excited about the results. Obviously, he hoped to win the coin toss, but Lagos said, “We felt very positive after that moment.”
With Minnesota United’s first pick, Manny Lagos chose the first pick in the SuperDraft that will take place in January. In 2014, Orlando City took the first pick in the SuperDraft and struck gold with young, Canadian forward Cyle Larin.
Asked if he would have taken the SuperDraft first, Lagos demurred, saying “The SuperDraft is something we’re really excited about.” However, it seemed very clear that he likely would have taken the SuperDraft first, adding, “This was the best scenario after losing the coin toss.” Lagos also said that scouting is already underway for the SuperDraft: “We’re certainly doing a lot of work on college and now we know we have a couple of months to amplify that work. I think all the way up to and through the combine. Certainly, in the coming months, we’re going to have to make sure we do assess the depth of the pick.”
Atlanta took the first pick in the Allocation Order, which will allow them to have top priority for an existing US Men’s national team player. NYCFC previously used their top allocation spot to pick up Mix Diskerud.
The first three picks were the most important and so Atlanta’s win of the coin toss allowed them to take two of the most coveted drafts. With the fourth pick, Lagos took the top priority in the USL/NASL discovery. This would likely be more valuable to Minnesota than Atlanta, since Lagos has a predilection for signing stars of the NASL and will likely want to take at least one player (not currently with the Loons) with him.
The final two picks were for the 21st and 22nd spots in the Waiver & Re-entry draft and the Discovery Ranking. Atlanta took the former and Minnesota, the latter. It is highly unlikely that either of these will prove particularly critical to success in 2017.
If there were any worries about how serious the stakes were, Minnesota United came prepared with a magical token. They brought a chia head that bears a remarkable resemblance to Bruce “du Nord” McGuire (one of the Dark Clouds founders) to NYC for luck.
— Bruce McGuire (@dunord) October 16, 2016
The heated competition between Manny Lagos and Atlanta’s Darren Eales kicked off with throwing their sartorial gloves down and comparing footwear. Eales went with flashy Atlanta-branded socks, but made the mistake of pairing these with slip-on shoes, a mistake he may be regretting for years to come. Manny Lagos’s socks may have been muted, but his slick-silvered wingtips stole the day.
— Kevin Brown (@FriendlyFAUX) October 16, 2016