Orlando City selects Cyle Larin with No. 1 pick in MLS SuperDraft
Orlando City selected Canadian striker Cyle Larin with the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
Larin, 19, spent two years at the University of Connecticut. He left the Huskies earlier this month to sign a Generation Adidas contract, which will allow him to earn a higher salary than many MLS rookies without affecting their team's cap space.
At UConn, Larin started immediately as a freshman in 2013 and scored 14 goals in 23 games. He added another nine goals in 16 games last season as a sophomore.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound striker from Brampton, Ontario made three appearances as a substitute for the Canada national team in 2014. He is currently playing with Canada at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
"We were quite keen on keeping him," Orlando City coach Adrian Heath said. "Goal scorers, if he can translate what he's been doing in college into the pros, they generally go for a lot of money and become very, very valuable. We liked him, we've got him and I'm just looking forward to working with him ... He was certainly at the top of our list from the beginning."
Larin is the second straight UConn product to be selected with the top pick in the MLS draft, after goalkeeper Andre Blake went first to Philadelphia last season.
New York City FC selected 6-foot-3 forward Khiry Shelton from Oregon State with the second overall pick.
The Montreal Impact kept the trend of forwards going by selecting Jamaica native Romario Williams with the third pick.
After San Jose selected Michigan State midfielder Fatai Alashe, Portland went with Nick Besler, the younger brother of U.S. national team defender Matt Besler.
Syracuse goalkeeper Alex Bono, who was selected earlier this week to the United States national team camp, went sixth to Toronto FC. Later in the first round, Toronto added two defenders: Canadian Skylar Thomas, a college teammate of Bono's, as well as France native Clement Simonin.
Washington midfielder Cristian Roldan had been projected to be among the top picks but fell to No. 16, where the Seattle Sounders moved up to select him.
The New York Red Bulls made a risky pick at No. 18 by selecting Hermann Trophy winner Leo Stolz, who is currently in Europe gauging interest from German teams.
"From the beginning... he didn't quite understand our system, and he wanted to be able to control his destiny a little bit more," Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said of Stolz. "And at the same time he had interest in Germany... But yeah, no, he's committed to being here, so we will see him in a New York Red Bulls jersey."
2015 MLS SuperDraft, Round 1
2015 MLS SuperDraft, Round 2