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The 2021 MLS Draft (SBI Live Commentary)

The 2021 MLS Draft is here, and SBI has you covered with analysis throughout the day.

If you need information on the draft pool, be sure to check out SBI’s Big Board, Positional Rankings and Mock Draft. If you want some more insight into the players, be sure to listen to the latest episode of The SBI Show, which features special guests Clemson head coach Mike Noonan and Wake Forest head coach Bobby Muuss, who coached the top two prospects in the draft, Philip Mayaka and Calvin Harris.

Be sure to follow us here as we provide updates on all the trades and selections (Make sure to refresh the page to receive the latest updates)

Enjoy the action:

2021 SBI MLS Draft Live Commentary

That is all for now. We will provide more analysis and coverage of the MLS Draft tonight and on Friday, so be sure to stay tuned for that. Thank you for following along here, and be sure to read SBI for all your MLS Draft, and MLS news and analysis.

5:03pm – And we have reached the goalkeeper portion of the draft, as the first two goalkeepers are taken:
FC Dallas selects Colin Shutler from Virginia at 48th overall and Orlando City selects Andrew Pannenberg from Wake Forest at 49th overall.

4:58pm – Some more 2nd round highlights:
Inter Miami snags Joe Hafferty, promising left back from Oregon State at 37.
Red Bulls take Louisville’s Lamine Conte at 40th overall. LOVE that pick. Tough and strong CB/DM who can pass well and could thrive in the #RBNY setup.

4:45pm – Second Round is underway
Austin FC takes Virginia forward Daniel Steedman at 28th overall, a reach.
FC Cincinnati selects South Florida left back Avionne Flanagan at 29th, very good value and addresses a need.
Houston Dynamo selects Virginia Tech forward Kristofer Stricker at 30th, tenacious and skilled forward/winger. Reminds me a bit of Chris Wondolowski with how he battles.

4:32pm – I will take questions, so feel free to toss your questions in the comments section below and I will answer some.

4:30pm – Columbus Crew selects Justin Malou from Clemson at 27th overall, final pick of the first round. Malou is dynamic and versatile as a right back/centerback combo.

4:15pm – Inter Miami selects Aime Mabika, 6-foot-6 centerback from Kentucky, 26th overall.
Had Miami targeting him. He has serious potential, but the lateral quickness will be a concern. That said, he’s poised, confident on the ball, and can ping a ball (and he’s good in the air, as you’d expect).

4:14pm- Toronto FC selects Matt Di Rosa, Maryland left back, 25th overall. TFC addresses a need for some left back depth with one of the best prospects at the position.

4:10pm – New England Revolution selects Ed Kizza, that’s an outstanding value at 24th overall.

4:05pm- Vancouver Whitecaps select Javain Brown, RB/CB from South Florida at 23.
Some teams think he’s more smallish CB, but he has enough quickness and dynamism to succeed as a right back or as a right CB in a 3. The Jamaican defender is a real talent who could wind up being a steal.

4pm- Orlando City selects Penn State centerback Brandon Hackenberg at 22nd overall.
A strong and athletically gifted defender who also happens to be left-footed, Hackenberg has the physical tools Pareja will like for his defense, though his passing could use some work.

3:50pm- Austin FC selects Aedan Stanley, Duke left back at 21. Former U.S. youth national team player was one of the more polished pure left backs available, and while he may not have the upside of some other attack-minded left back prospects, he should develop into a steady defender.

3:47pm – Nashville SC selects Irakoze Donasiyano from Virginia at 20.

Donasiyano played central midfield at UVA, but projects more as a right back/right wingback as a pro. He’s fast, tenacious and also counts as a domestic player, which helps his value.

3:45pm – Orlando City selects Rio Hope-Gund from Georgetown at 19th. Tough and smart defender who is capable on the ball. He has the athleticism you need to function in Oscar Pareja’s setup.

3:38pm- Minnesota United trades with Toronto FC to grab the 18th overall pick and they select Nabi Kibunguchy from UC-Davis.

Kibunguchy is a very talented centerback prospect who was one of the most highly-rated players entering the draft, but slid as some surprises were chosen ahead of him.

3:33pm – Minnesota United selects Justin McMaster at 17th overall.

That’s an excellent pickup by the Loons, coming off an injury but he has tons of talent as a forward who could thrive under Adrian Heath.

3:28pm – The LA Galaxy select Josh Drack, the Denver left back/left winger at 16th.

Came into the draft as the best left back prospect, had an impressive showing at the “MLS Combine” at Sporting KC.
Galaxy added Jorge Villafana to start, but Drack is a good talent.
I thought the Galaxy would go with a centerback, but Drack is an excellent value at that spot.

3:22pm – FC Dallas selects Nicky Hernandez from SMU at 15, who was in their system with North Texas, but who they had to let enter the draft.

He’s an impressive central midfielder who FC Dallas know and like and rather than risk having him be snatched up soon after.

3:15pm – LAFC selects Danny Trejo, from CSU Northridge.
Trejo is a local product and good forward who is mobile, a good finisher and isn’t afraid to take on defenders and beat them. He is tough and should fit in well with Bob Bradley’s system.

3:12pm – Red Bulls select Luther Archimede from Syracuse.
A bit of a surprise, but Archimede’s stock went up after his performance at the Sporting Kansas City Combine. He had a pretty lackluster college career, but does have international experience and could be a target forward project for the Red Bulls.
I really thought they would look for a fullback, preferably a left back, but after swinging and missing last year perhaps they decided to focus on the attack.

3:10pm – San Jose Earthquakes select California striker Thomas Williamson 12th overall.
A striker and local product added to San Jose’s depleted striker corp.
Does that feel like a reach? Absolutely.

3:03pm – Austin FC selects Freddy Kleeman, Washington central defender at 11th.
The first real surprise of the 1st round. Kleeman is a 6-foot-4 centerback who moves very well and is tough on the tackle. Still feels like a reach, but Austin liked what they saw.

2:59pm – Inter Miami selects Josh Penn from Indiana University with the 10th overall pick.
Penn impressed as a freshman at IU, quick and skillful wing player, also a younger player in this group, projected to go around this range.

2:56pm – Vancouver Whitecaps select David Egbo, Akron striker 9th overall

Good combination of size, excellent tough and finishing. Could use his physicality a bit more. International status kept him from going a bit higher, but good talent who was on the GA radar a year ago.

2:50pm – Orlando City selects Derek Dodson from Georgetown at 8th overall.
Fast and strong wide forward, who excels on the counter and should fit in well into Orlando City’s system.

2:46pm – Real Salt Lake selects Brett Halsey 7th overall from Virginia.
Versatile and talented right back/central midfielder. Looked good as a right back as a freshman, and excelled in midfield in 2020.

2:43pmThe Houston Dynamo select 6th overall – Ethan Barlow, Generation adidas central defender from Washington. Several teams saw him as the top centerback in the draft.
Not a bad week for the Dynamo, adding Bartlow, Parker and Derrick Jones.

2:39pmD.C. United acquires #5 overall from Atlanta United and selects Michael DeShields from Wake Forest.

There was serious buzz about DeShields this week, which is why he skyrocketed up the final SBI MLS Draft Big Board.

2:36 – D.C. United acquired the 5th overall pick from Atlanta United, and Ed Kizza could be the pick.

2:32 – Atlanta United is up, and they should go centerback. Some good options available in Ethan Bartlow, Josh Bauer and Nabi Kibunguchy.

2:31 – D.C. United selects Kimarni Smith, Clemson forward 4th overall
D.C. was looking for some attacking help and they get a player who can play as a striker or wide forward and is a speedy left-footed player.

2:25pm – The Colorado Rapids select Philip Mayaka third overall.

Great value, and he joins a good young team. Not a direct need for the Rapids but you don’t pass on a talent like Mayaka at that spot.

Mayaka is a tenacious and skilled defensive midfielder who can play as a box-to-box midfielder, but who will likely be most effective as a defensive midfielder, where he can help shut down opposing playmakers.
The top three players were pretty set pre-draft, though this order is a tad surprising.

2:21pm – FC Cincinnati selects Calvin Harris from Wake Forest.

Best pure attacking prospect in the draft, with the most upside. Dynamic English winger/forward.
Mayaka slips to third, where the Rapids select. Could the Rapids now look to select Mayaka for value since he’s not really a need, or for a potential trade? Absolutely.

2:19pm – Pereira showed some real improvement from freshman to sophomore year, and is arguably the best passer in the draft. He is also a younger prospect

FC Cincinnati now has to decide between Mayaka and Harris. I think Mayaka would be a better help for a team that has had its defensive issues.

2:13pmAustin FC selects Daniel Pereira. A surprise, but Pereira is very talented box-to-box midfielder with some good attacking quality.

Will Austin look to deal him? Rapids were interested and moved up to get him. That shakes thinks up big time because teams want Mayaka.

2:07pm– Austin FC is on the clock. Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka is expected to be the pick, though Calvin Harris would be enticing.

The Dynamo also acquired Derrick Jones from Nashville SC for a combined $250K in allocation money spread over two years.

Reunites Jones with Tab Ramos, who coached him with the U-20s. Great pickup.
Dynamo now sitting at 6th and I can see them grabbing a CB like Nabi Kibunguchy

The Houston Dynamo have traded the 3rd overall to Colorado Rapids for the #6 overall pick and $200K in General Allocation Money (with a potential for another $50K).
Rapids now have the #3 pick and I’m told they are eyeing Daniel Pereira at that spot.

We have a trade. Orlando City has acquired the No. 8 overall selection from the Portland Timbers


  1. Who’s had the best draft so far? Have to think DC is a strong contender. especially after nabbing Panchot in the 2nd Round.


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