2020 MLS Mock Draft: Version 1.0

2020 MLS Mock Draft: Version 1.0
by TopDrawerSoccer
January 3, 2020

The 2020 edition of the MLS Draft is set for next week, as the first two rounds will be held via conference call on January 9, and the final two rounds on Monday, January 12.

Below is the TopDrawerSoccer mock draft of the first round.

1 miami logo  Robbie Robinson* Clemson  6-2  170 
While Inter Miami has already started an academy, they obviously don't have a pipeline for young talent. With the first and third picks, they can nab players with roster flexibility via GA signings, and Robinson would be a sharp start.
2 nashville sc logo Jack Maher Indiana   6-2 175 
Like Miami, Nashville enters their first season on the hunt for young, domestic talent. Maher fits the bill, and is arguably the better prospect than Robinson.
3 miami logo  Henry Kessler*  Virginia  6-4  185
Miami can boost their depth in the spine by grabbing Kessler, another Generation adidas signee.
4 whitecaps logo  Dylan Nealis  Georgetown   D 5-11  175 
The Whitecaps are undergoing another offseason renovation, and it'll be interesting to see how agressively they shop their pick. If they don't, Nealis adds depth on the right side, and could even be tried on the wing.
5 Cal Jennings  UCF  5-11  163 
Orlando has depth at striker, but will have an extensive scouting book on Jennings, who played in their backyard. The prolific goal-scorer in college would bolster their depth at the spot while getting run with Orlando City B.
6 Garrett McLaughlin  SMU M/F  6-0  175 
It was a huge final season for McLaughlin, who is likely to fit in as a wide attacker. The Revolution could go in a number of different directions with their pick here, including shopping it, but McLaughlin has MLS potential.
7 crew draft Jack Skahan  North Carolina   W 5-10   165
Depth on the wings makes sense for the Crew, and while Raposo is still on the board, Skahan has versatility and could develop into an outside back as well. The Tennessee native could also be a target for Nashville SC if they see Skahan still on the board later in the first round.
8  Ryan Raposo* Syracuse  5-7  142 
A No. 10 in college, Raposo is an Onatrio native that excelled in his sophomore season. He'll need to show the quickness and athleticism to succeed out wide, but if he's available he offers roster flexibility and another up-and-coming talent for new head coach Tab Ramos to work with.
9 Alistair Johnston   Wake Forest M/D   5-11  170
Another team working in a new head coach, it's difficult to suss out what Thierry Henry might look to do in the draft. Johnston is a native of Ontario that can bring depth in midfield and could be tried out as a right back, where he played this season for Wake Forest.
10 chicago fire Tanner Beason  Stanford 6-1  175 
The leader of Stanford's back line, Beason's already signed a pre-draft contract. He'll need to figure out if he can play as a left back or centrally at an MLS level, but would be a nice depth piece for Raphael Wicky.
11 Aaron Molloy Penn State 5-11  165 
In need of central midfield help, Molloy would bring that immediately. A tough and talented defensive midfielder, he'll need an international slot but has the makeup to jump in and shoulder minutes right away.
12 san jose soccer Manuel Ferriol  James Madison   5-11 150 
Ferriol's going to be fascinating to watch on draft day. A creative central midfielder who played as a No. 6 in his younger days, he could be an intriging fit for Matias Almeyda's system. It would at least bring out the best in him, provided they are willing to use up an international spot on him.
13   Patrick Nielsen Michigan State  6-4   187
It was a down season for Michigan State, but Nielsen shouldn't be overlooked despite that and needing an international spot. He'd bring another body for the Revolution, who could slot him in with their USL League One team.
14 Miguel Berry  San Diego   F  6-3 180 
While the presence of Ricardo Pepi makes the No. 9 project spot a bit of a long shot, Berry could potentially bring minutes from the bench with a bit more of experience. He had a tremendous season at the WCC program and has the look of a first round pick.
15 Noah Billingsley  UC Santa Barbara   6-2  185
Kyle Duncan and Rece Buckmaster are both on the roster at right back, but Billingsley is of the caliber to come in and compete for a spot. Given RBNY's lack of transfer movement from abroad, he'd have an international spot and the New Zealand international could come in to provide depth there.
16 portland draft Jeremy Kelly   North Carolina  M/D  5-10 145 
Like his North Carolina teammate, Kelly is versatile and talented, bringing the ability to play as an outside back or in central midfield. It's rare for players drafted by Portland to make its roster, but Kelly could buck that rtend.
17 Simon Lekressner  California   D  5-8  155
A versatile player that can play as a wide attacker or outside back, Lekressner would face long odds to make the FC Dallas roster. But he certainly had a strong 2019, earning Pac-12 First Team honors and can buzz around and cause problems going forward.
18 minnesota draft Jesus Perez  UIC   5-10  145
To stick in MLS, Perez needs to show that he can impact the game offensively and work on both sides of the ball. The former Chicago Fire Academy product is a talented player but his fit in MLS is going to be something he'll have to prove.
19 Dayonn Harris   Connecticut M/F  5-7  155 
TFC draft picks outside the top 10 face a difficult time making the roster. Harris could be an interesting pickup as an Onatrio native that could play as an attacking winger.
20 real salt lake draft Nkosi Burgess Seattle  D  6-4 185 
Using this pick to reinforce the back line, whether for the Monarchs or RSL, makes sense here. Burgess is a tall center back flying under the radar a bit after earing WAC Defender of the Year in 2019.
21 Brandon Williamson  Duke   M 5-10  135 
Given Ernest Tanner's disdain for the draft, don't be surprised if the Union pass here. Williamson is a box-to-box midfielder that has shown flashes over his four-year college career of high level potential. There's a potential right back here as well, which would suit the Union nicely.
22 nycfc logo Tanner Dieterich  Clemson   6-0 170 
Dieterich played two seasons for the Real Sale Lake Academy, so he could be snapped up as a Homegrown signing any day. If not, he'd be a solid pick here for a NYCFC that doesn't need much, but strengthens their spine with his addition.
23 atlanta united logo Malick Mbaye  Clemson  6-0   178
In need of central defenders with the rumored sale of Leandro González Pirez, Mbaye is a solid candidate to draft here and bring into camp as a potential addition. Atlanta is obviously going to look for additions from abroad, but Mbaye wouldn't be a bad pick.
24 Elliot Panicco  Charlotte  GK   6-5 205 
With just two goalkeepers on the roster as of publication, grabbing Panicco as a third option here makes sense.
25 Nebosja Popovic   Michigan  F  5-11 175 
Jozy Altidore and Patrick Mullins are two out-and-out No. 9s on the Toronto FC roster. Popovic, the 2019 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, would be a natural fit as a third option behind that pair and have time to see if he can succeed at an MLS level.
26 chicago fire Wallis Lapsley  UC Davis   GK  6-5  205

The Fire are likely to be in the market for a goalkeeper, featuring just two on the roster -- one of whom is 16-year-old Gabe Slonina. Lapsley is the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year and has the frame and ability to at least be a potential option in goal.

*Denotes Generation adidas signee.

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