Austin FC selected Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira as number 1 in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
Austin FC’s decision came as a surprise as many draft experts named Clemson midfielder Philip Mayaka as the top pick.
In fact, Pereira said he was surprised to be the first pick of the three-round draft.
“Because of all the bogus drafts, I didn’t really expect to be number 1,” said Pereira. “It’s an honor. I’m really happy. My family is crying. It’s a moment I will never forget.”
Cincinnati FC picked runner-up and picked Wake Forest midfielder Calvin Harris. The aforementioned Mayaka finished third overall at the Colorado Rapids.
Venezuela-born Pereira had six goals and six assists in 26 games in two seasons for Virginia Tech.
Austin FC coach Josh Wolff said Pereira was a good fit with the team’s approach.
“For the way we want to play, we felt that he met many of the requirements that we expect in this part of the field,” said Wolff.
Harris had 10 goals and five assists in 32 games in two seasons at Wake Forest. He is expected to give Cincinnati FC an offensive boost at some point.
“I just want to learn and improve, and my confidence will come with that,” Harris said. “I look forward to coming to Cincinnati.”
The Rapids moved up in the draft to select Mayaka with the third overall selection. Colorado traded their sixth overall win and $ 200,000 in general allotment money to the Houston Dynamo for the vote.
Mayaka had two goals and eight assists in 32 games in two seasons for Clemson but was goalless in 10 games in the 2020 season.
“Philip is an explosive midfielder who has shown great skill on both sides of the ball,” said Padraig Smith, Colorado general manager. “We have shown our commitment to developing young players and we believe Philip has the qualities to do well in this league.”
DC United had fourth and fifth picks. The club picked one more Clemson player in fourth choice forward Kimarni Smith and then another Wake Forest player, defenseman Michael DeShields, in fifth.
Houston picked Washington defender Ethan Bartlow with the sixth choice, and Real Salt Lake picked Virginia defender Bret Halsey in 7th place.
Orlando City picked striker Derek Dodson (Georgetown), Vancouver striker David Egbo (Akron) and Inter Miami CF picked striker Josh Penn (Indiana) to round out the top 10 picks.
– Field level media