LOS ANGELES — The first two rounds of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft were pretty quiet for Orlando City. Through the four hours during which the SuperDraft took place, Orlando City coaches and General Manager Niki Budalic sat patiently through all 44 picks that transpired.
Despite not trading up from their 64th and 74th overall picks, both Budalic and Head Coach Jason Kreis are optimistic for Tuesday’s third and fourth rounds.
“We have several players that we’ve identified that are still available and we’re hoping that they’ll continue to be available in the next round and the fourth round,” Budalic said after the draft. “We definitely had some goals to achieve in the off-season. I feel like we’ve addressed the majority of those and done the majority of our recruitment in advance of today so I think we’re pretty happy with where we’re at right now. There still could be some movement depending on how things play out, but overall we’re definitely happy.”
“We’ve got a list of a few guys that we think are still interesting,” Kreis added, “We hope that they fall to us at 64 and we may potentially look to move up if there’s anybody interested that would flip picks.”
With only two draft picks, Orlando will be looking elsewhere to bring in players to the club, but the Lions are still holding firm to building around young players.
“We’re always looking to bring in youth into the club,” Budalic said. “There’s definitely a priority that we place on developing youth players. It’s the reason why we added the USL team to our system — to give the young players a chance to play professionally. So, definitely looking to bring in and promote youth players.
“I think we’re trying to create a pathway and this is the next step in the pathway between the academy and MLS. It definitely gives us more ability to evaluate and assess players. It gives the players an opportunity to develop and grow, so it’s a win-win situation.”
To close out the draft talks, Kries spoke a bit about the current roster and what the coaches, as a staff, were trying to do going forward into preseason in a few weeks.
“We’ve still got one major hole that we’re trying to address and haven’t quite addressed that yet, but we’re certainly hopeful and resolute that we’ll have that situation sorted out real soon,” he said.