The 2023 MLS SuperDraft is tonight, and if you want to know why it’s in 2022, the answer is: shut your face! MLS doesn’t want to hear it! (The real reason is that they already had the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, last January, and they can’t very well have two, so this year’s is the “2023 MLS SuperDraft” even if it’s being held in December 2022.)

If you’re not familiar with how things usually shake out in the MLS draft, here is a brief summary of the types of players that are drafted each year:

Round 1 (picks 1-10): You will probably end up hearing about this guy, even if he’s not on your team.

Round 1 (picks 11-29): This guy will almost certainly sign a contract for your team, and may even play games for it someday.

Round 2: This guy will sign with your team’s lower-league affiliate, probably in MLS NEXT Pro, and you may hear about him once or twice.

Round 3: This guy may or may not exist in corporeal form.

Round 4: (no longer exists)

(Hilariously, there is still one fourth-round pick this year, because Colorado traded it to Portland three years ago, back when fourth-round picks still existed. I hope Portland passes.)

MNUFC has two picks this year, number 19 and number 48. They traded their third-rounder to the LA Galaxy for Cameron Dunbar, earlier this off-season,I think mostly because MNUFC wanted to hop off the draft call early.

It’s not like the Galaxy are going to use pick 77. Los Angeles hasn’t made a pick past the second round in years, given that they exist in the biggest soccer hotbed in America. In 2019 they passed three times in the third round.

Minnesota United’s draft history can be broken down into two buckets. First, there was the 2019 draft, which goes down as one of the single best draft classes any team has ever pulled off in a year.

That year, the Loons drafted goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair with the seventh pick, fullback Chase Gasper with the 15th, and plucked Hassani Dotson out of Oregon State with the 31st pick in the second round. Just the fact that all three became week-in, week-out starters for the Loons is a major win.

Scroll down to the “contributions by drafted players” portion of this American Soccer Analysis post, and you’ll see that in terms of minutes from the last five drafts, the Loons are second in the league - almost entirely thanks to those three players.

As for the rest, well, here’s a ranking of the Loons’ other draft picks.

1 - Mason Toye (#7 overall, 2018). Six goals in 2019, seemingly a breakout year, got him traded to Montreal the following season; he’s got nine goals there so far, in three seasons, and he’s still just 24 years old.

2 - Abu Danladi (#1 overall, 2017). Scored eight goals his rookie season; has scored eight goals in five seasons combined since then. Returned to Minnesota last year after two years in Nashville, but had a disappointing season, and is looking for work. Only drops down to number two because he was the first overall pick, but produced comparatively little.

3 - Wyatt Omsberg (#15 overall, 2018). Omsberg started four games for the Loons in 2018, and one in 2019, at center back. He also came on as a late defensive sub three times in 2018. The Loons let him go after 2019, to the Chicago Fire, where he’s started 23 times over the past three seasons. Given the Loons’ struggles for center back depth, they probably wish they could have him back now, except that they wouldn’t have had anywhere to play him until they finally got a second team last season.

4 - Nabi Kibunguchy (#18 overall, 2021). Made five appearances for the Loons last season, and 16 starts for Minnesota United 2, as both a center back and a defensive midfielder. Loons declined his option after the season.

5 - Justin McMaster (#17 overall, 2021). Seven MLS appearances in 2021, on the wing, totaling 127 minutes; made 17 starts for Minnesota United 2 last season. MNUFC also declined his option after the season.

6 - Carter Manley (#23 overall, 2018). Two starts and five total appearances in 2018 and 2019, as a defender.

7 - Tani Oluwaseyi (#17 overall, 2022). Missed much of the season with injury last year, but did make ten appearances and five starts for Minnesota United 2, scoring twice. Jury is very much still out on him, but probably needs a run of starts to demonstrate what he can do as a forward.

8 - Noah Billingsley (#18 overall, 2020). One appearance, for six minutes, in 2020.

9 (tie) - Nine guys who you have never heard of unless you spend too much time staring at the Loons draft history, like me. None of them ever played for the Loons, including 2017 first-round goalkeeper Alec Ferrell.

Ultimately, Loons have had eleven first-round draft picks in six years. Only four - Danladi, Toye, St. Clair, and Gasper - have made lasting contributions for the Loons; Omsberg has also proved useful, albeit for Chicago. The other six - all pick #17 or lower - have yet to make a dent in MLS.

They’ve also made nine picks in the second round or lower; Dotson is the only one to even play a game for the first or second team, or - if I’m remembering correctly - even sign a contract.

Getting future contributors with picks #19 and #48 can be done, it’s not impossible - but it’s also not that likely. Anything outside the top 10-15 players is like the sixth round in football or hockey or baseball (or, for that matter, the second round in the NBA) - a lot of hope, but not much expectation.