With two selections in the top 20 of Thursday’s SuperDraft – No. 7 and No. 20 – FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman and his staff will be very busy men in Indianapolis.
But in many ways, they’ve already conducted a draft of their own.
Homegrown signings Bradlee Baladez and London Woodberry have been plucked from the college game this offseason to fill holes at forward and on the backline, while 17-year-old phenom Kellyn Acosta is expected to push for a backup spot at outside back and defensive midfield as well.
For technical director Fernando Clavijo, it’s almost like FCD have locked up three first-round picks well before Thursday’s proceedings.
“It makes things easier for us [on Thursday] and I’ve got probably two first round picks already in London Woodberry and Baladez,” Clavijo said. “If Kellyn Acosta was there, he’d probably be one of the first 10 or 15 draft picks, too.”
With three young players recently added, something Dallas aren't inclined to do is take a chance on a younger Generation adidas prospect in the SuperDraft. Hyndman has taken two Generation adidas players in his four drafts, forwards Andrew Wiedeman and Peri Marosevic, with neither making any major impact on the club. While Dallas would love their salary cap-exempt contracts, there’s really no room on Hyndman’s team for another young player who isn’t ready to contribute from Day 1.
“I don’t know if we need any more young players,” Hyndman said early last week. “You look at a Generation adidas player coming out as a junior, that’s a little bit different from picking up a senior, and if you’re looking at a freshman coming out, that’s a little tough. It’s tough to bring in that player and not really be able to count on him for a couple years.”
Whether or not Dallas get the players they’ve targeted on Thursday, one thing is for certain. They’re delighted with the youngsters they’ve already added to their squad, which begins preseason training next weekend.
“We’re talking in Woodberry and Baladez, players that the coach has experience with,” said Clavijo. “They’ve been training with us and they are coming out of our academy having done extremely well. These players are going to be a part of a process, the coach’s commitment to the players is clear.”