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Mystery and Anticipation Shroud the MLS SuperDraft for Minnesota United

by on 13 January 2017

LOS ANGELES — An increasing air of uncertainty has descended over the Minnesota United camp as they prepare for one of the biggest choices of their nascent MLS existence. The Loons have the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft and have been widely expected to choose Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse.

But on the ground that certainty isn’t so clear. Ebobisse has impressed the Loons’s technical staff, particularly after he trained well with the club in the fall. The 19-year-old forward also had a good end to the combine, scoring a goal on Thursday.

If Minnesota United skips over Ebobisse (or the other potential pick of Abu Danladi), it would be in part because of other moves already in the works. On Thursday, head coach Adrian Heath made a cryptic comment to ExtraTime Radio that they were in the process of signing a player and that “if we can pull it off, they’re gonna be a huge piece for us.” It was an enigmatic comment worthy of a fortune cookie.

Minnesota United appear to be targeting an established striker and may be close to signing the deal. That deal would make signing a young forward surplus. The Loons have already signed Christian Ramirez to a big contract and they have another young forward, Femi Hollinger-Jenzen, on the books.

So what will the Loons do in the SuperDraft? Things are very, very unclear. Minnesota could yet take Ebobisse with the top spot and if their target signing falls through, they still have a hot prospect. They could always trade the player away later if their deal goes through. They could also take Danladi with the expectation that the more versatile, high-upside Ghanaian could find time on the wing.

Or the club could trade away their top pick before the draft even takes place. An increasing amount of phone calls have been coming in to the Loons’s technical staff testing out waters for a trade. The Portland Timbers are one club who have seemed particularly keen on grabbing one of the top picks.

Trading away the top draft position before having a signing to announce would not be optimal for a club looking to impress fans. However, if they can turn around and impress those fans soon after it may be worth it.

The MLS SuperDraft begins at 2 p.m. CST and there will likely be numerous twists and turns until then.

 

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