What projected as a sleepy little draft day awoke in a hurry Thursday, as Seattle Sounders FC’s new-look front office engineered a couple of trades to move up twice in the MLS SuperDraft.
Seattle began the day with just a pair of second-round picks. But when it was finished, the Sounders had added University of Washington midfielder Cristian Roldan, Northwestern goalkeeper Tyler Miller and New Mexico midfielder/defender Oniel Fisher. The club gave up homegrown forward Sean Okoli of Federal Way as part of the deal to get Miller.
“We picked up guys, and we’re better off than we were this morning,” new general manger Garth Lagerwey said. “Now it’s up to the players. The players will prove whether they were worth it or not.”
Several mock drafts had rated Roldan as the second best player available. But when he began to slide, the Sounders began making phone calls. They finally struck a deal with Real Salt Lake, Lagerwey’s former team.
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“No doubt it’s easier to make deals with guys you trust,” Lagerwey said.
The Sounders acquired RSL’s No. 16 pick in exchange for the No. 27 pick and future considerations. Then they grabbed Roldan, 19, who had been a first-team all-Pac-12 selection.
“We were surprised that he dropped that low,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “We had him a little higher on our draft board as well. It was just a situation where I don’t think he had the best of combines, but we were maybe a little more familiar with his body of work than some other teams.”
The Sounders’ next deal sent Okoli to New England for the Revolution’s No. 33 pick. Seattle used that to select Miller, who is currently in Germany. The club hopes he will eventually return to help provide young depth in goal.
The Sounders used their own No. 40 selection on Fisher, a native of Jamaica.
Expansion club Orlando City used the first overall pick on Connecticut forward Cyle Larin. Andy Thoma of the University of Washington went No. 24 to Portland.
The SuperDraft concludes Tuesday with two more rounds. The Sounders have the 48th, 75th and 80th overall selections.