With their first pick in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft, D.C. United selected Afonso Pinheiro, a Brazilian forward out of the University of Albany. Pinheiro is Albany’s all-time leader in goals, points, and points in a single season; at 6’2”, he is also a taller forward as well. He is also close to receiving his green card, according to Duncan Oughton, and so would not take an international roster spot.
With the 71st overall pick, United select forward Afonso Pinheiro from @UAlbanyMSoccer!#DCU pic.twitter.com/kW7jD06pIg— D.C. United (@dcunited) January 21, 2018
With their second pick in the fourth round, United took Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Rafael Andrade Santos, a creative number 10 from Virginia Commonwealth University. According to sites like Top Drawer Soccer, Santos had the talent to be drafted in the second or even late 1st round, but the fact that he would take an international roster spot drove teams away. If D.C. United decided that they want to keep him, I could easily imagine him being sent on a season-long loan back to Richmond, which would remove the need for an international spot.
With the 74th overall pick, United select midfielder Rafael Andrade Santos from @VCUMensSoccer! #DCU pic.twitter.com/issOTHGpKS— D.C. United (@dcunited) January 21, 2018
Especially in the third and fourth round, it is unlikely that any of these players will make the team. D.C. is looking for depth and diamonds in the rough at these stages. Even if United’s Loudoun County USL team were up and running, players in these later rounds are a long-shot to develop into MLS players. However, giving them playing time and looking and seeing is the entire point of owning your own USL team, so it will be a huge benefit once it is up and running.