Major League Soccer SuperDraft 2022: What did the Red Bulls, NYCFC, Philadelphia Union do?

·5 min read

The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC both made first-round moves in Tuesday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft. The Red Bulls jumped up, while MLS Cup champion NYCFC chose to wait.

At No. 7, the Red Bulls and Chicago called back-to-back time outs to work out a three-way deal. The Red Bulls sent the 15th pick and $100,000 in general allocation money to Montreal in exchange for the 11th pick, which they dealt to Chicago — which had originally sat at No. 7 — for another $100,000 in GAM.

The Red Bulls selected 6-foot-8 center back Matt Nocita from the United States Naval Academy. Nocita put on a red cap and scarf over his dress blues.

Matt Nocita, a 6-foot-8 center back at the U.S. Naval Academy, is a three-time Patriot League Defender of the Year.
Matt Nocita, a 6-foot-8 center back at the U.S. Naval Academy, is a three-time Patriot League Defender of the Year.

At Navy, Nocita was part of a back line that allowed an average of 1.05 goals per game and posted 10 shutouts, best in the Patriot League. The first Midshipman to be invited to the MLS college combine, he was also the first to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year three times.

"This is an absolute dream come true," said Nocita, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs.

"To be able to share it with some of my friends and my coaches, this is amazing. ... Making that jump from college to the pros is no small feat. I'm excited to get in there and show them what I can do, and also learn a ton in the process."

O'Vonte Mullings is second in Florida Gulf Coast history with 28 goals in just 57 matches.
O'Vonte Mullings is second in Florida Gulf Coast history with 28 goals in just 57 matches.

The Red Bulls also worked out another trade for the No. 20 pick, which they used on Florida Gulf Coast striker O'Vante Mullings. RBNY sent the 43rd pick — midway through the second round — and $75,000 in GAM to Seattle.

Mullings, who is Canadian, had seven goals and an assist in 13 games this fall. He is second all time in FGCU history with 28 goals in just 57 matches.

In the third round, the Red Bulls added Georgetown goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis and Penn State midfielder Seth Kuhn. Nikopolidis registered seven shutouts in the Greek national team youth system, and also played for Olympiakos in the U-17 and U-20 Greek Super League. Kuhn, who spent his freshman year at Duke, totaled three goals and 11 assists in 50 career matches.

► The Red Bulls lost a homegrown player to Austin FC. Austin picked up midfielder Michael Knapp, a Bloomfield native, from Red Bulls II at No. 61. Knapp had three goals and seven assists in two seasons at Montclair State, and was named 2019 NJAC Midfielder of the Year.

It's not the first time Austin has plucked the Red Bulls' local talent. They also chose Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud of Chester in the 2020 expansion draft.

NYCFC

Princeton senior Kevin O'Toole of Montclair is a two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.
Princeton senior Kevin O'Toole of Montclair is a two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.

The reigning MLS Cup champs traded their first-round pick, No. 28 overall, to Dallas in exchange for the 34th choice and $50,000 in GAM. Dallas used the pick on Oregon State winger Tsiki Ntsabeleng.

NYCFC picked Princeton senior left wing Kevin O'Toole in the second round. A Montclair graduate, O'Toole was the only Ivy Leaguer named a United Soccer Coaches' All-American. He had seven goals and nine assists as Princeton played its way to an undefeated Ivy League championship.

O'Toole had come up in the Red Bulls' academy, and helped Red Bulls II win the 2016 United Soccer Leagues' title.

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► With the final second-round pick, NYCFC added Kingsford Adjei, a 5-foot-5 Ghanaian striker from the University of Dayton. A three-time first-team Atlantic-10 honoree, he led the Flyers with five goals and three assists.

► NYCFC wrapped up the draft close to home, choosing St. Francis-Brooklyn striker El Mehdi Youssoufi. Born and raised in Morocco, Youssoufi had 13 goals and two assists and was named the Northeast Conference Player of the Year.

Philadelphia Union

North Carolina State striker Ivy Brisma was born in Haiti, but calls East Windsor home.
North Carolina State striker Ivy Brisma was born in Haiti, but calls East Windsor home.

Philadelphia had only one pick in the SuperDraft, No. 82 overall. The Union chose to pass.

►North Carolina State striker Ivy Brisma of West Windsor landed with FC Montreal with the 67th pick. He had a goal and four assists for the Wolfpack, starting seven of his 16 appearances.

Born in Haiti, Brisma played with the Philadelphia Union Academy for five years.

Growing the game

Maryland midfielder Ben Bender, a Generation adidas signee from Baltimore, was the No. 1 pick by Charlotte. Seven-time NASCAR Cup series champ Jimmie Johnson made the pick on video on behalf of the expansion team.

"I just can't wait to get started," said Bender, a 20-year-old sophomore whose family hung all his old soccer jerseys on the wall.

"I know the football down there, it's going to be a good brand. They want to win. I want to be part of that. ... It's a dream come true to play in MLS."

As one of the teams representing MLS in Concacaf Champions League, NYCFC was eligible to open training camp Jan. 10. The rest of the squads can report Jan. 16.

Champions League play begins Feb. 15. MLS kicks off its 27th season on Feb. 26 — the earliest in history to accommodate World Cup qualifying windows and the tournament in Qatar.

Philadelphia hosts Minnesota, while the Red Bulls open on the road in San Jose. NYCFC will start its title defense on the road Feb. 27 against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Jane Havsy is a storyteller for the Daily Record and DailyRecord.com, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis, subscribe today.

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This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: Major League Soccer SuperDraft 2022: What did RBNY, NYCFC, Philly do?

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