PHILADELPHIA — Three of the top collegiate players in the United States are heading to Los Angeles to begin their Major League Soccer careers, but they won’t all suit up in the same colors.
In a move that went against most mock drafts, LAFC selected Akron defender Joao Moutinho over Stanford’s Tomas Hilliard-Arce as the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Friday. The expansion MLS franchise quickly added a second player by sending $100,000 in targeted-allocation money and $100,000 in general allocation money to D.C. United in return for the No. 3 overall pick. With that pick, LAFC continued to add to its backline, picking up Las Vegas native Tristan Blackmon.
Blackmon was ready to jump into the newest MLS rivalry.
“This is amazing. You can try and prepare for these things but it’s hard to remember what you want to say,” Blackmon said. “I want to thank LAFC for giving me this opportunity. I’m very excited to hit the ground running and show you guys what I’m capable of as a player.”
Sandwiched between the two LAFC picks was Hilliard-Arce, who will also head to Los Angeles for cross-town rival L.A. Galaxy.
Joao Moutinho (left) poses with MLS Commissioner Don Barber after being taken No. 1 overall by Los Angeles FC in the 2018 MLS Super Draft. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Galaxy landed with the No. 2 overall pick after finishing with the league’s worst record at just 8-18-8.
Hilliard-Arce, a Stanford alum, will travel from North Cal to SoCal to begin his professional career and he can’t wait to get started.
“This is crazy. They told us to prepare a speech, but you really can’t prepare for this kind of environment and electricity that’s here today,” Hilliard-Arce said. “Thanks to LA for taking a chance on me. I can’t wait to come in here, start competing and winning some games for LA. It’s an incredible feeling and I can’t wait to get started.”
LAFC also took Pol Planellas (Pittsburgh) in the second round, 24th overall, and the L.A. Galaxy picked up another Stanford player in Drew Skundrich with the 40th overall pick.
Here’s a full list of SuperDraft selections. The final two rounds of the draft will take place via conference call on Jan. 21.
1. Los Angeles FC, João Moutinho, D, Akron.
2. LA Galaxy, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, D, Stanford.
3. Los Angeles FC (D.C. United), Tristan Blackmon, D, U. of Pacific.
4. FC Dallas (from Colorado through Montreal), Francis Atuahene, F, Michigan.
5. Chicago (from Minnesota), Jon Bakero, F, Wake Forest.
6. Orlando, Chris Mueller, F, Wisconsin.
7. Minnesota (from Montreal), Mason Toye, F, Indiana.
8. New England (from Philadelphia), Brandon Bye, D, Western Michigan.
9. New England, Mark Segbers, D, Wisconsin.
10. Chicago (from Real Salt Lake), Mo Adams, M, Syracuse.
11. FC Dallas, Ema Twumasi, F, Wake Forest.
12. San Jose, Paul Marie, D, FIU.
13. Kansas City, Eric Dick, G, Butler.
14. Atlanta, Jon Gallagher, F, Notre Dame.
15. Minnesota (from Chicago), Wyatt Omsberg, D, Dartmouth.
16. New York, Brian White, F, Duke.
17. Vancouver, Justin Fiddes, D, Washington.
18. Kansas City (from Portland), Graham Smith, D, Denver.
19. New York City, Jeff Caldwell, G, Virginia.
20. Houston, Michael Nelson, G, SMU.
21. Columbus, Ben Lundgaard, G, Virginia Tech.
22. Seattle, Alex Roldan, M, Seattle.
23. Minnesota (from Toronto), Carter Manley, D, Duke.
24. Los Angeles FC, Pol Calvet Planellas, M, Pittsburgh.
25. Colorado (from LA Galaxy), Alan Winn, F, North Carolina.
26. Vancouver (from DC United), Lucas Stauffer, D, Creighton.
27. Colorado, Frantzdy Pierrot, F, Coastal Carolina.
28. Toronto FC (from Minnesota), Tim Kubel, D, Louisville.
29. FC Dallas (from Orlando), Mauro Cichero, F, SMU.
30. San Jose (from Montreal), Danny Musovski, F, UNLV.
31. New York (from Philadelphia), Niko de Vera, D, Akron.
32. Columbus (from New England), Edward Opoku, F, Virginia.
33. Real Salt Lake, Ricky Lopez-Espin, M, Creighton.
34. FC Dallas, Chris Lema, M, Georgetown.
35. San Jose, Mohamed Thiaw, F, Louisville.
36. Atlanta (from Kansas City), Oliver Shannon, M, Clemson.
37. Atlanta, Gordon Wild, F, Maryland.
38. Chicago, Diego Campos, M, Clemson.
39. New York, Tom Barlow, F, Wisconsin.
40. LA Galaxy (from Vancouver), Drew Skundrich, M, Stanford.
41. Minnesota (from Portland), Xavier Gomez, M, Omaha.
42. New York City, AJ Paterson, D, Wright State.
43. Houston, Mac Steeves, F, Providence.
44. Columbus, Jake Rozhansky, M, Maryland.
45. Seattle, Markus Fjortoft, D, Duke.
46. Toronto, Drew Shepherd, G, Western Michigan.