The road to 2017 inched that much closer today as Major League Soccer’s expansion teams Atlanta United and Minnesota United participated in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft.
Following the release of the league’s unprotected player list, both teams dove into their research for the top available prospects and uncover who could potentially be a fit for their inaugural squads.
The draft transpired over the course of five rounds with Atlanta United possessing the number one overall pick. Below are the full draft results:
Round 1: Donny Toia, Defender (Montreal Impact)
Round 2: Zach Loyd, Defender (FC Dallas)
Round 3: Clint Irwin, Goalkeeper (Toronto FC)
Round 4: Mikey Ambrose, Defender (Orlando City SC)
Round 5: Alec Kann, Goalkeeper (Sporting KC)
Round 1: Chris Duvall, Defender (New York Red Bulls)
Round 2: Collen Warner, Midfielder (Houston Dynamo)
Round 3: Mohammed Saeid, Midfielder (Columbus Crew)
Round 4: Jeff Attinella, Goalkeeper (Real Salt Lake)
Round 5: Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Forward (New England Revolution)
But today’s player movement didn’t halt at the ten draft selections above. Immediately following the Expansion Draft, the full MLS offseason trade window commenced, allowing all 22 teams to participate in player transactions, which included all the freshly picked players in today’s draft.
Atlanta United wasted no time in taking advantage of the trade window, completing transactions just a few hours later which involved their recently drafted first round and third round selections.
At 4:45pm the club announced it had traded goalkeeper Clint Irwin back to Toronto FC in exchange for defender Mark Bloom and additional General Allocation Money. Just minutes later, Atlanta United also confirmed that they had traded their first expansion draft selection Donny Toia to Orlando City in exchange for Orlando’s natural first round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft (which currently resides at #8 overall).
Beginning with the draft and the ensuing trades, it was another eventful offseason day for Atlanta United. Prior to today’s player acquisitions, much of the chatter surrounding the club’s roster had been the surplus of attacking options and the lack of defenders. But the moves today proved to be reassuring, adding three versatile defenders as well as a goalkeeper to the Atlanta roster, reinforcing the team’s back line.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the picks we’ve made and the value we’ve got out of the draft” – Darren Eales, Club President
See below for a little more information on Atlanta United’s latest roster additions.
Zach Loyd (D)
Loyd began his career in MLS when Dallas selected him No. 5 overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. He has been a mainstay on the club’s backline, appearing in 180 games over the course of seven seasons. Known as a durable defender who can be deployed in multiple positions, Loyd brings a wealth of MLS experience, as he is second all-time in minutes played and games started for FC Dallas. Loyd has also appeared for the United States Men’s National Team with three caps. His debut was a start in a friendly against Chile on Jan. 22, 2010. Loyd also played in consecutive friendlies in 2012 against Venezuela (Jan. 22) and Panama (Jan. 26).
Mark Bloom (D)
Bloom, a Marietta, GA native, has 39 career MLS appearances with 37 starts. He originally joined Toronto on loan from former NASL team Atlanta Silverbacks. After starting in six games on loan in 2013 with Toronto, Bloom was signed on a permanent transfer ahead of the 2014 season where he started a career-high 26 matches. After spending most of 2016 on loan with USL team Toronto FC II, Bloom made seven appearances with the senior squad and recorded two assists. He was included on the roster for the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs and played in two matches.
Mikey Ambrose (D)
Mikey Ambrose spent the 2016 season with Orlando City where he appeared in five games. A young defender, Ambrose began his professional career in 2015 with the Austin Aztex of USL. Prior to that, he played for the University of Maryland and is a product of the FC Dallas Development Academy. Ambrose has also represented the US Men’s National Team at the U17, U18 and U20 levels.
Alec Kann (GK)
Alec Kann comes from Sporting Kansas City and has been in MLS since 2013. Kann earned seven starts in 2016 and registered two shutouts for SKC. He made his CONCACAF Champions League debut Oct. 20, 2016 against Central FC in a 3-1 victory. He signed with Chicago Fire in 2013 and made his MLS debut in 2015. The Decatur, Ga. native played collegiately at Furman University and compiled a 37-16-10 record, 18 shutouts and a 1.00 goals against average in 65 starts during his collegiate career.