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Minnesota United selects striker Abu Danladi first in MLS SuperDraft

Minnesota United took UCLA forward Abu Danladi with the first overall pick in Friday's MLS SuperDraft in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old Ghanaian, who moved to the United States in 2011, played three seasons with the Bruins after being named national player of the year at nearby Dunn High School in 2013-14.

"There were two or three kids that we thought were very good players, but we just feel that the upside on this kid, the sky is the limit for him," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath, who was Orlando City's manager when the Lions took striker Cyle Larin with the top pick two years ago, said in a press release. "If we think he can do what he can do in the pro game and we think there is a lot of growth still in him as a player and as a person, then we could have a real special talent on our hands."

Many considered Danladi, who scored 18 goals in 42 games for UCLA, the most-talented player in the draft. But there are also questions about his durability after an injury-filled 2016 campaign.

No caption needed #MNUFC pic.twitter.com/2hDoz9MPqJ

- Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) January 13, 2017

Fellow expansion team Atlanta United selected U.S. U20 captain and Syracuse University center-back Miles Robinson with the second pick. Robinson played two seasons with the Orange and was a semifinalist for the MAC-Hermann award as college soccer's top player in 2016. Robinson could step right into a United back line that includes current and former U.S. national team defenders Greg Garza and Michael Parkhurst. Ex-U.S. center back Carlos Bocanegra is Atlanta's technical director.

New York City FC traded $250,000 in allocation funds to acquire the No. 3 selection from Chicago, and used it on Akron winger Jonathan Lewis. The speedy Lewis spent time in the Fire's academy and has been called up by both the U.S. and Jamaican U20 programs. He played just one season for the Zips, notching two goals and 12 assists in 22 games.

Another early trade landed the Portland Timbers the fourth pick from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $100,000, an international roster spot and the 10th overall pick. The Timbers took France-born, Maryland-raised Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse.

Columbus Crew SC stayed in state to grab the University of Dayton's junior defender Lalas Abubakar at No. 5.

Pick No. 5 has never looked better than with the & treatment!#CrewSC
https://t.co/daAtsSStEm pic.twitter.com/3KB3cq5Y2T

- Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) January 13, 2017

UCLA midfielder Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes), Connecticut defender Jakob Nerwinski (Vancouver Whitecaps), Providence midfielder Julian Gressel (Atlanta), New Mexico forward Niko Hansen (Columbus) and Hofstra midfielder Joe Holland (Houston) rounded out the first 10 selections.

Round 1



Pick
Team
Player
Pos
College

1 (1)
Minnesota United
Abu Danladi
F
UCLA

2 (2)
Atlanta United
Miles Robinson
D
Syracuse

3 (3)
NYCFC (pick acquired from Chicago)
Jonathan Lewis
M
Akron

4 (4)
Portland Timbers (pick acquired from Houston)
Jeremy Ebobisse
F
Duke

5 (5)
Columbus Crew SC
Lalas Abubakar
D
Dayton

6 (6)
San Jose Earthquakes
Jackson Yueill
M
UCLA

7 (7)
Vancouver Whitecaps
Jakob Nerwinski
D
UConn

8 (8)
Atlanta United
Julian Gressel
M
Providence

9 (9)
Columbus Crew SC
Niko Hansen
F
New Mexico

10 (10)
Houston Dynamo
Joe Holland
M
Hofstra

11 (11)
Chicago Fire
Daniel Johnson
M
Louisville

12 (12)
D.C. United
Chris Odoi-Atsem
D
Maryland

13 (13)
Real Salt Lake
Reagan Dunk
D

Denver

14 (14)
Sporting Kansas City
Colton Storm
D
North Carolina

15 (15)
Colorado Rapids
Sam Hamilton
M
Denver

16 (16)
NYCFC (pick acquired from Seattle)
Kwame Awuah
M
UConn

17 (17)
New York Red Bulls
Zeiko Lewis
M
BC

18 (18)
FC Dallas
Jacori Hayes
M
Wake Forest

19 (19)
Montreal Impact
Nick Depuy
F
UCSB

20 (20)
New England Revolution
Brian Wright
F
Vermont

21 (21)
Toronto FC
Brandon Aubrey
D
Notre Dame

22 (22)
Seattle Sounders
Brian Nana-Sinkam
D
Stanford

Round 2



Pick
Team
Player
Pos
College

1 (23)
Minnesota United
Alec Ferrell
GK
Wake Forest

2 (24)
Colorado Rapids
Liam Callahan
D
Syracuse

3 (25)
Philadelphia Union (pick acquired from MInnesota)
Marcus Epps
M
South Florida

4 (26)
Chicago Fire (pick acquired from Toronto FC)
Stefan Cleveland
GK
Louisville

5 (27)
Chicago Fire (pick acquired from Toronto FC)
Guillermo Delgado
F
Delaware

6 (28)
San Jose Earthquakes
Lindo Mfeka
M

South Florida

7 (29)
Vancouver Whitecaps
Francis de Vries
M
St. Francis

8 (30)
Houston Dynamo
Jake McGuire
GK
Tulsa

9 (31)
New England Revolution
Napo Matsoso
M
Kentucky

10 (32)
Portland Timbers
Michael Amick
D
UCLA

11 (33)
Philadelphia Union
Aaron Jones
D
Clemson

12 (34)
D.C. United
Eric Klenofsky
GK
Monmouth

13 (35)
Real Salt Lake
Justin Schmidt
D
Washington

14 (36)
Houston Dynamo
Danilo Radjen
D
Akron

15 (37)
FC Dallas
Walker Hume
D
North Carolina

16 (38)
New York City FC
Jalen Brown
F
Xavier

17 (39)
New York Red Bulls
Ethan Kutler
F
Colgate

18 (40)
FC Dallas
Adonijah Reid
F
Canada Soccer

19 (41)
Montreal Impact
Shamit Shome
M
FC Edmonton

20 (42)
Minnesota United (pick acquired from Philadelphia)
Thomas de Villardi
M
Delaware

21 (43)
D.C. United
Jo Vetle Rimstad
D
Radford

22 (44)
Seattle Sounders
Dom Oduro
M
Youth international

Rounds 3 and 4 will take place via conference call on Tuesday.

Related Video
Heath: Danladi's upside is enormous
Heath: Danladi's upside is enormous
Taylor Twellman catches up with Adrian Heath, who says he drafted the most exciting prospect in the U.S. in Abu Danladi.

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