The most impactful move the Seattle Sounders made in connection to Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft may have been made in November when they sent their first-round pick to the Chicago Fire in exchange for goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland and the 35th overall pick.
With the Sounders potentially playing as many as 50 games this year, chances are that whoever wins the job as Stefan Frei’s backup will get a fair amount of first-team work. While acknowledging that Homegrown Player Trey Muse will also be in the running, Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey sounded optimistic that Cleveland could prove capable.
“What was cool about Stefan was that [goalkeeping coach] Tommy Dutra and I had both independently identified him as the one young goal keeper on the market that we both thought had a chance to really step up,” Lagerwey said. “We are excited about his potential.”
Considering the track record of draft picks toward the bottom of the first round and beyond, acquiring a solid backup goalkeeper with that pick would have to be considered a pretty significant win. It would also allow any other useful pieces the Sounders acquired in this draft to be pure bonus.
In that sense, the two picks they made on Thursday are at least intriguing.
Danny Reynolds, who they selected with the 35th pick they had received from the Fire, is an attack-minded left back who will likely be expected to compete for a spot with the Tacoma Defiance. After growing up in England and playing for several clubs there, he joined the University of Louisville where he had three goals and six assists over three seasons. After being allowed to red shirt his third year at Louisville, Reynolds then played two seasons at UNC Wilmington where he had six goals and eight assists.
Timo Mehlich was picked with the final pick of the second round, and may have fallen that far due to his already having signed a professional contract with an unnamed USL Championship team. Mehlich came to UNLV from Germany where he played for 1.FC Mönchengladbach as a defensive midfielder. He seems to have played more as an attacking midfielder with UNLV, though. He had 11 goals and an assist in his senior year.