The 2020 MLS season is drawing close and the time has come for the annual MLS SuperDraft in which teams select players from the world of college soccer. In this article, we’ll analyze FCD’s selections from the first day of the SuperDraft.
Round 1, Pick 14: Nkosi Burgess, Defender, Seattle University
A 6’4″ center back out of Seattle University, Burgess was named the WAC Defender of the Year for the 2019 season, after spending his first three seasons playing at UConn.
In many ways, Burgess’ profile is reminiscent of Callum Montgomery, one of FCD’s first-round picks from a season ago. Montgomery came out of college as a promising center back with a towering figure and then spent the entire 2019 season playing for North Texas SC. Burgess seems likely to follow a similar trajectory and is likely to battle with Montgomery for the 4th center back spot behind Matt Hedges, Reto Ziegler, and Bressan. Expect to see Burgess get a significant amount of minutes with NTSC in 2020.
Based on his highlight package, Burgess does seem to be more comfortable on the ball than many defenders coming out of college. In many clips seen above, he demonstrates a quality first touch, a willingness to advance the ball into attacking areas and an ability to pick out a line-breaking pass, all things that are vitally important for center backs under Luchi Gonzalez. If Burgess can continue to refine those abilities and make the adjustment to the physicality and pace of the professional game, he could end up being a quality MLS center back for years to come.
Round 1, Pick 17: Cal Jennings, Forward, Central Florida
One of the most prolific scorers in college soccer during his career, FCD was elated to have Jennings fall all the way to #17 and have an opportunity to draft him. A proper striker (who can also play as a winger), Jennings scored 18 goals in 20 games in 2019, following up a 20 goal season in 2018. A traditional “fox in the box” poacher, Jennings is very good at putting himself into great positions to get on the end of crosses into the box and, most importantly, putting the ball in the back of the net. He also has a good bit of pace about him and has the technical ability to maneuver around defenders and play in tight spaces.
With the transfer window still ongoing, it is still hard to say where Jennings will fit in among the forward pool at FCD. At this time, he seems poised to battle for the backup striker spot with Ricardo Pepi, with both players likely to see plenty of minutes with North Texas SC over the course of the season.
With Jennings’ specific skill set, he also seems suited for a potential late game sub to try to grab a late goal with his poacher instincts. His progress over the course of preseason will be one of the most interesting story lines to watch leading up to the 2020 season.
Round 2, Pick 40: Manuel Ferriol, Midfielder, James Madison
A native of Valencia, Spain and formerly a member of Levante’s academy, Ferriol fits a profile that we see yearly with the SuperDraft: a highly talented player who drops into the later rounds because of the fact that he will occupy an international slot. Ferriol is a midfielder who can play as a 10 or as an 8 and has a skill set that fits very well with what Luchi Gonzalez wants out of his midfielders. Ferriol recorded 16 goals and 6 assists in 21 games for JMU in 2019 in his senior season, following up a 9g/5a season in 2018. Ferriol is a dynamic midfielder who has a spark of creativity that is often lacking in the ranks of college soccer.
That being said, FCD obviously has a packed midfield and Ferriol is likely to spent most, if not all, of the 2020 season playing for North Texas SC. However, with so much attention on FCD homegrowns and the potential for the sale of those homegrown midfielders always there, if Ferriol can prove himself for North Texas SC in 2020, he could find himself battling for time with the first team in seasons to come. His progress will be something to watch during the 2020 season.
What are your thoughts on FCD’s selections in rounds 1 and 2 of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft? Do you feel that Dallas made strong selections that can contribute to the first team in the future? Sound off in the comments below!
Featured Image: UCF Athletics