D.C. United rounded off their participation in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft by adding two attacking players. With the 14th pick of the 3rd round (62nd overall), the Black-and-Red picked Vermont Catamounts left winger/forward Leandro “Geo” Alves. Ten picks later, D.C. opted for Cal Golden Bears midfielder/forward Shinya Kadono. The SuperDraft, as it has for many years, is conducted in two parts, with the final two rounds being conducted via conference call.
Alves, a 24 year old who picked up the nickname “Geo” as a youth growing up in Cape Verde, scored 19 goals and added 9 assists in two seasons with Vermont after two dominant seasons at the USCAA level with Dean College. Alves has played both as a #10 and up front, but projects primarily as a left winger at the next level. As a senior, Alves had 10 goals and 4 assists, making the America East All-Conference First Team while sharing the league’s scoring lead. He also made the 2017 All-Conference First Team.
Alves also spent enough time in the New England Revolution’s youth set-up that he apparently could have qualified for a Homegrown deal. The Revolution brought him in for a look during post-season training sessions, but ultimately never made an offer:
A #NERevs note: @UVMmsoccer striker and @NERevsAcademy alum Geo Alves was recently training with the first team.— Jonathan Sigal (@JonathanSigal) November 21, 2018
Unclear if he'll sign a Homegrown Player deal. Had 19 goals and nine assists in two years at UVM. #MLS
At 5’8” and 145 lbs, Alves is known for being technical and tricky, and can be considered more quick than fast. He also took most of the set pieces for the Catamounts. Alves will count as an international no matter whether he ends up making United’s roster or if he gets a USL offer with Loudoun United.
Kadono, 22, has often been listed as a midfielder for Cal, but his career points to him being more of a goalscorer than a set-up man. A contributor in four seasons at Berkeley (including two years as a starter), Kadono posted 20 goals and 3 assists, including a 12 goal/2 assist senior year. A native of Kobe, Japan, Kadono moved to the U.S. as a youngster, and holds permanent residency (making him a domestic player for MLS/USL roster purposes).
Despite being 5’7”, Kadono is a sturdily-built and brave player who scored a surprising number of headed goals for the Golden Bears based on a combination of timing and leaping ability. Kadono ended up making the All-Pac 12 First Team as a senior, improving on a Second Team nod in 2017.
If his highlight reel from the past two years is any indicator, Kadono may end up being an out-and-out striker who prefers to get in behind the defense:
Most likely, both Alves and Kadono will suit up more often for Loudoun United than with the Black-and-Red first time. However, a side with only one forward under contract and a full USL roster to stock will probably be able to find space for both in the organization. Alves might have additional competition for a deal given his international status, but United likely wouldn’t have taken him if they had major qualms about having him suit up for their brand-new USL Championship side.