“With the 11th pick of the first round, The Chicago Fire select from the University of Louisville, Midfielder, Daniel Johnson” (Don Garber). After taking $250,000 of general allocation money with the 3rd overall pick, 8 picks later Chicago went with the combine standout, Daniel Johnson.

Daniel moved to England as a young teenager and played for West Ham United. After a few seasons in the academy, he failed to get a contract due to work permit issues. After moving back to Georgia he started his college career at Maryland where he played for two seasons making 23 appearances but only getting one start. Junior year he moved to Louisville to revitalize his career. In 2015 he started every game and managed to score five goals along the way. His senior season tallied up only two goals but also had five assists while again starting every game.

Johnson didn’t have eye popping numbers but that is not all that his game is about. DJ is a versatile midfielder who excels at drifting in from the wing position. Watching his senior highlight reel I found a couple of key patterns. Firstly Daniel Johnson is VERY good at transition. He constantly shows his ability to win the ball and run at the opposing defense with speed and purpose. In addition to starting the break, Daniel also consistently manages to beat defenders to the goal line and send a ball across frame.

I expect The Fire to not pressure Johnson into a starting role right away but believe he will break into the eleven not long after opening day. This is a player who excels at the same position as David Accam which means he will start as David’s understudy. His versatility should push him onto the right wing or into the middle of the field when he gets his chance to start.

Notes:

-Canadian green card holder, Drew Beckie will be invited to the preseason camp. Drew was the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 MLS Superdraft. More recently he spent time with the Carolina RailHawks.

-Djordje Mihalovic, Chicago Fire Academy product who is still in high school, apparently is deciding about his future in the coming days. Could choose a University, join The Fire first team, and even has offers in the Belgian second division.

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