New York City FC and Orlando City are starting to come together. The teams, which will join MLS next season, both had a handful of players, but they took their first real steps to assembling their teams on Wednesday in the Expansion Draft.
New York look to have gotten the better of the draft, picking two of Jason Kreis' former Real Salt Lake players in Ned Grabavoy and Chris Wingert. That will give them a couple experienced and dependable players who will be able to understand Kreis from Day 1 and help the rest of the team get on the same page. NYCFC's selections of Patrick Mullins, Thomas McNamara and George John are wise too, assuming they can renegotiate John's contract and get him in at a lower salary.
Orlando had a bit of a perplexing draft, taking Donovan Ricketts with the No. 1 pick. They already have Tally Hall in the fold so it looks like they now have trade bait with one of their goalkeepers. They also picked Jalil Anibaba so they could trade him to Sporting KC in exchange for Aurelien Colin. Lewis Neal is a nice pick by the Lions, while Jairo Arrieta is pretty expensive, but a really nice striker to have up top.
The existing teams in the league were allowed to protect 11 players, while some homegrown and Generation adidas players were automatically protected. The rest of the players were available for NYCFC and Orlando to pick. If a team had one of their players selected, they could protect one more player, then if they had a second selected, no more could be picked from their roster.
1. Orlando City: Donovan Ricketts (Portland)
2. NYCFC: Ned Grabavoy (Salt Lake)
3. Orlando City: Tony Cascio (Colorado)
4. NYCFC: Patrick Mullins (New England)
5. Orlando City: Jalil Anibaba (Seattle)
6. NYCFC: Jason Hernandez (San Jose)
7. Orlando City: Pedro Ribeiro (Philadelphia)
8. NYCFC: Daniel Lovitz (Toronto)
9. Orlando City: Lewis Neal (D.C.)
10. NYCFC: Tony Taylor (New England)
11. Orlando City: Jairo Arrieta (Columbus)
12. NYCFC: Mehdi Ballouchy (Vancouver)
13. Orlando City: Heath Pearce (Montreal)
14. NYCFC: George John (Dallas)
15. Orlando City: Danny Mwanga (Colorado)
16. NYCFC: Thomas McNamara (D.C.)
17. Orlando City: Mark Sherrod (Houston)
18. NYCFC: Sal Zizzo (Kansas City)
19. Orlando City: Eric Gehrig (Columbus)
20. NYCFC: Chris Wingert (Salt Lake)