FC Cincinnati selects U.S. U-20 star Amaya first overall in 2019 MLS SuperDraft
The UCLA midfielder joins the MLS expansion side with its first-ever selection
It took a time out, but UCLA product Frankie Amaya was taken by FC Cincinnati with the first pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
The former USL side, which will debut in MLS in the upcoming season was making its first-ever selection, and the club looked like it might move out of the first slot at the last minute before deciding on the U.S. national team under 20 star.
Amaya was selected over the likes of VCU midfielder Siad Haji, who was also considered to be in the running for the top slot.
The 18-year-old Amaya played his freshman season at UCLA and featured for the USMNT‘s U-20s during the 2018 Concacaf Championship.
Amaya started the final, in which the USA claimed their second title in the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Mexico, and is expected to be in contention for the nation’s Under-20 World Cup squad for the tournament in Poland this May.
The UCLA product became the first American take with the top pick since Andrew Farrell was taken number one overall in 2013.
Cincinnati also own the 13th pick of the first round, after acquiring it from the Philadelphia Union in a trade for allocation money earlier this week.
Haji became the second pick of the draft, with the midfielder taken by the San Jose Earthquakes.
The 19-year-old was a standout both in college and at the MLS combine.
With the third pick of the draft Orlando City went with forward Santiago Patino of Florida International University.
FC Dallas went with Canadian center back Callum Montgomery with the fourth overall pick. Montgomery played his college soccer at Charlotte.
The Colorado Rapids stayed close to home with the fifth overall pick, taking Denver University standout forward Andre Shinyashiki.
A pair of goalkeepers were selected in the top 12 with Dayne St. Clair, widely seen as the top keeper in the draft, going seventh and Luis Barraza going to New York City FC at 12.
From there, the backline ruled the day, with the next four picks all being defenders. In total, the first round saw the selection of six midfielders, eight forwards, eight defenders and two goalkeepers.
A premium was placed on attackers and pace in the early going, with four forward and two midfielders going in the top 10 picks.
The only defenders taken in the top 10 both went to the same side in FC Dallas, while just one goalkeeper went in the top 10.