The PDL had a historic showing at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, with 66 alums selected, comprising over 81 percent of all selections. That incredible run started at the top, with three notable alums being selected in the top five.
With 18 overall selections in the first round boasting PDL experience, three of the very best alumni in recent history earned the honor of being chosen in the top five selections. Burlingame Dragons defender Tristan Blackmon, the first alum taken with the No. 3 pick by Los Angeles FC, was joined by Michigan Bucks forward Francis Atuahene, selected No. 4 by FC Dallas, and Carolina Dynamo and FC Tucson forward Jon Bakero, taken No. 5 by the Chicago Fire.
All three alums taken in the top five were heavily targeted by their new professional clubs, to the point where each of the three teams traded up to select their respective draft picks.
Here’s a look back at the three PDL selections in the top five, and how each team acquired their target.
The first PDL alum off the board, Blackmon was the third in a run of defenders to open the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, the second selected by LAFC in the top three picks. In order to select the talented Burlingame Dragons and Pacific alum, LAFC sent $100,000 in targeted allocation money and $100,000 in general allocation money to D.C. United, a hefty cost to pay to get their man.
The first non-defender selected in the draft, and second Generation Adidas player, Michigan Bucks alum Francis Atuahene was also heavily targeted by his new MLS club. FC Dallas became the third holder of the No. 4 selection, acquiring the pick from the Montreal Impact for $200,000 in general allocation money, who had previously acquired it from the Colorado Rapids for defender Eric Miller and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
The reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner and NCAA DI points leader found himself available at the No. 5 pick, and the Chicago Fire leapt into action. The Fire sent the No. 15 selection, $75,000 in general allocation money, $100,000 in targeted allocation money and goalkeeper Matt Lampson to Minnesota United FC in order to select Carolina Dynamo and FC Tucson alum Jon Bakero. The hefty investment displayed the faith that the Fire had in Bakero, which he is eager to repay.