The Vancouver Whitecaps took Hamilton’s Ryan Raposo fourth overall in the Jan. 9, 2020 MLS SuperDraft. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Vancouver Whitecaps take Hamilton’s Ryan Raposo fourth overall in MLS draft

The Vancouver Whitecaps stayed north of the border in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, taking Hamilton’s Ryan Raposo fourth overall.

The 20-year-old is a skilful winger who played No. 10 last season with Syracuse, where he set school records for most points (37) and goals (15) by a sophomore. Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre calls him a dynamic, exciting attacker who can torment defenders.

The five-foot-seven 145-pound Raposo admits to playing with a chip on his shoulder, saying growing up he was told he was too small and too slow. He was released by Toronto FC’s academy less than two years after joining at age 11, something that still rankles years later.

Raposo has spent time in Germany with Hoffenheim, Mainz and Sandhausen. He has also played club soccer in the Toronto area with Vaughan.

A veteran of four Canadian youth camps, he captained Ontario to gold at the 2017 Canada Games where he was named tournament MVP.

The Montreal Impact, in its first draft with Thierry Henry at the helm, took North Carolina defender Jeremy Kelly ninth overall after an announced trade with Minnesota United fell through.

Montreal promptly traded Kelly to Colorado for US$75,000 in general allocation money.

Expansion Nashville SC traded with Colorado to take Canadian Alistair Johnston with the 11th pick. The 21-year-old from Aurora, Ont., was converted to a right back last season at Wake Forest after playing in central midfield.

Johnston, who like Raposo played club soccer for Vaughan, transferred to Wake Forest after two seasons at St. John’s.

“He’s a guy that any coach would love to have in the locker room in terms of what he brings to your team in personality, work rate, professionalism, ambition,” said Wake Forest coach Bobby Muuss.

Toronto had the 19th and 25th picks in the first round.

Expansion Inter Miami CF took Clemson forward Robbie Robinson first overall, looking to add some punch up front with the winner of the 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy as top male collegiate player. Robinson tied for top NCAA goal-scorer last year with 18 goals and nine assists in 19 games.

“We’re excited to have you in our club,” co-owner David Beckham told Robinson via FaceTime.

Nashville used the second pick on Indiana defender Jack Maher, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Maher.

Miami used the third pick, obtained in a prior trade with FC Cincinnati, to select Georgetown defender Dylan Nealis. A finalist for the Hermann Trophy and NCAA champion, he is the younger brother of New York Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis.

Orlando chose Virginia forward Daryl Dike with the fifth pick. Dike is the younger brother of former Toronto FC striker Bright Dike.

Virginia defender Henry Kessler went sixth to the New England Revolution.

The first six picks had all signed contracts with the league prior to the draft with all but Kessler, a senior, members of the Generation Adidas class. That program features talented underclassmen, all the more attractive to teams because their initial contracts do not count against the salary cap.

The first two rounds went Thursday with Rounds 3 and 4 set for Monday via conference call.

Unlike previous years, the draft was not hosted by a city. The first two rounds were shown digitally on an ESPN-produced show that darted around the league.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2020.

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