Coach Adrian Heath, GM Paul McDonough Discuss Today’s MLS Expansion Draft



[Update: Christian Bruey of WFTV Sports is reporting that Mark Sherrod has been traded to San Jose and Eric Gehrig has been traded to the Chicago Fire for “future considerations.”]

Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath and General Manager Paul McDonough addressed media questions after today’s MLS Expansion Draft. The Lions added 10 new players to the roster, with two each coming from the Colorado Rapids and Columbus Crew.

"Looking at what we know we'll be bringing in, coupled with the players we took today, we're very pleased. We like where we are," Heath said.

"We needed experience," said McDonough. "With the trades we made Monday and the picks we made today, we added a lot of experienced guys. We think we've got good balance, good depth, and good versatility within the team."

The Lions' GM, however, indicated the team was not done making moves today.

"The trade window opens at four. We'll do something at four," he said.

A big surprise to many was the first overall selection, 37-year-old Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, a veteran with more than 100 MLS caps.

"Obviously he's hugely experienced," said Heath. "More importantly, he's been absolutely fabulous in this league. Tally (Hall) has an injury and we want to give him every bit of time to get himself fit and ready. We thought (Ricketts) was the best available goalkeeper out there and we think he's going to be a good fit for us, moving forward."

Midfielder Tony Cascio from the Rapids became Orlando City’s second selection, after New York City FC took Ned Grabavoy from Real Salt Lake.

"Tony is somebody we've liked for a long time," said Heath. "The way we play, we feel he'll fit in numerous positions for us. He's still young, but he's got games in the league, and he knows what the league is about. We feel he has plenty more to come."

Third pick, defender Janil Anibaba from Seattle Sounders, is reportedly going to be shipped to Sporting Kansas City to complete Monday’s deal for Aurelien Collin. The Lions grabbed Philadelphia Union midfielder Pedro Ribeiro next with their fourth selection.

"We like Pedro's versatility," said McDonough. "We think he'll play higher up the field for us."

“Obviously (the Brazilian connection with Kaka) will help,” Heath added. “We feel Pedro can play three or four positions with us. We signed Amobi Okugo recently and Amobi couldn’t speak highly enough of him. He’s 6-foot-4, and he’s got great technical ability. We’re looking forward to getting him in here and working with him.”

With the fifth pick, Orlando City brought home former Lion Lewis Neal from D.C. United, giving fans a familiar face on the pitch. Neal has been a bench player with United, but has scored some important goals in his time with DC. He’ll provide depth and experience for Orlando City and is familiar with Heath’s system.

With the sixth pick, the Lions took Crew striker Jairo Arrieta, a small but quick player who can make runs and get to through balls quickly. He’ll come over with teammate, defender Eric Gehrig, Orlando City’s 10th and final pick today.

"We think that with Kaka on our team we're going to have very good attacking players and (Arrieta) fits in with that," Heath said. "He makes good runs and is very intelligent. We always liked the way he played with (Federico) Higuain with the Crew. He gives us a little bit of experience moving forward. I just think he'll be a really good asset for us."

"Eric (Gehrig) is a good, solid defender. We're happy with both of them," McDonough said.

After another surprise pick in former USMNT defender Heath Pearce from Montreal Impact, the Lions chose forward Danny Mwanga from Colorado.

"Danny was a number one pick a few years ago, and we think we can get him going again," said Heath. "We think we can have a really good player. We thought he was good value for us today."

In round nine, before the Lions closed with the Gehrig pick, Orlando City chose forward Mark Sherrod from the Houston Dynamo.

“We saw a lot of him when he was at Memphis,” said Heath of Sherrod. “He’s an interesting player, very physical, a big boy. Obviously Dom (former Houston coach Dominic Kinnear) liked him a lot. It was an interesting pickup for us but we think he’s a little bit different than the players we have.”

With the Waiver Draft and trade window, today's dealings may be far from over. The Mane Land will provide updates of all the important news.


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