Cameron Porter has been the story of the Montreal Impact so far this season and arguably the story of Major League Soccer.
The 21-year-old Ivy League grad arrived on the professional soccer scene by scoring the biggest goal in Montreal Impact history. He then went on to perform really well against Alajuelense in the CONCACAF Champions League, leading to many experts to pit him as the club’s starting striker.
Tragically, Porter seriously injury his knee during Saturday’s game with the New England Revolution and is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2015 season and perhaps the start of the 2016 campaign.
However, with the skill and work ethic he displayed in his first few games, the Impact appear to have gotten great value for their third round draft pick.
Rick Moffat the radio play-by-play man for the club, said on the air that, when you’re drafted 45th overall in MLS, the odds are stacked against you to make the team, let alone see the kind of minutes Porter was going to get.
Is this true?
According to the Montreal Impact’s draft history, Porter’s success is a rare anomaly. Here’s every draft pick since the club has joined MLS and where they are now. The combined statistics – during their time with the Impact – of all the players picked in each round are listed in bold.
1st round: Five selections (four signed), 91 appearances, eight goals.
2012 – Andrew Wenger (1st overall). Last season, the American was given the chance to win a starting job when Marco Di Vaio was suspended for the first three games of the season. However, Wenger failed to make his presence felt and was traded mid season to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Jack McInerney. With Kelyn Rowe, Nick DeLeon and Dom Dwyer being picked up after Wenger, his time in Montreal has to go down as disappointing.
2013 – Blake Smith (8th overall). Smith was out on loan for the majority of last year, but was exciting to watch in the limited playing time he got in 2013. The outside midfielder has been seeing a lot of the bench so far this season, but with Dominic Oduro’s health now in question and Ignacio Piatti back in Argentina for personal reasons, Smith could benefit.
2013 – Fernando Monge (18th overall). Who? Out of all the draft picks in this article, Monge is the one I have had the most trouble finding information on. He was picked 18th overall, cut before the season commenced and drifted into obscurity.Sep 20, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact defender Eric Miller (3) runs with the ball against San Jose Earthquakes during the first half at the Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sport
2014 – Eric Miller (5th overall). The right-back proved to be a strong and responsible defender in his first pro season. A player who can jump up into the attack seemingly at will, Miller hasn’t seen any playing time this season thanks to a revamped Impact defense. With the form left-back Donny Toia has shown in his first couple of games in Montreal, an Impact supporter dreaming of seeing Toia and Miller forming one of the best fullback tandems in MLS wouldn’t be fantasizing.
2015 – Romario Williams (3rd overall). A striker out of the University of Central Flordia, Williams has yet to make his official debut with the Bleu, Blanc, Noir. With Anthony Jackson-Hamel and now Porter out, Williams should be seeing some decent minutes off the bench and will be called upon to provide a spark late in close contests.
2nd round: Four selections (two signed), 24 appearances, one goal.Mar 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Montreal Impact defender Calum Mallace (16) controls the ball against the D.C. United during the first half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
2012 – Calum Mallace (20th overall). The Scotsman is the lone second round selection to make it into a match. The defensive midfielder has waited patiently for three seasons to get his chance at starting, but in 2015, he is caught in another log jam. New signings Nigel Reo-Coker and Marco Donadel as well as captain Patrice Bernier are also vying for the two defensive midfield spots in Frank Klopas’ 4-2-3-1 formation. However, with Donadel not playing up to his billing and Bernier apparently falling out of favour with the manager, perhaps Mallace will indeed get an extended chance to show what he can do.
2013 – Paolo DelPiccolo (27th overall). There were some interesting circumstances surrounding the big midfielder’s MLS career. The Impact selected him, although he was on the reserve squad of Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany. When the German season ended in July, DelPiccolo was then signed by Montreal. Unfortunately, he never panned out, bounced around the U.S. lower leagues, and has signed with Charlotte Independence, a USL team affiliated with the Colorado Rapids.
2013 – Brad Stuver (32nd overall). I’m not quite sure why the Impact drafted Stuver. After all, at that time, the club had a clear-cut starter, backup and third stringer in Troy Perkins, Evan Bush and Maxime Crepeau, respectively. Stuver wasn’t signed, and went on to become a Pool Goalkeeper in 2013. A Pool ‘Keeper can be called in whenever a club needs an emergency backup in the event of an injury. Stuver didn’t play as a Pool Goalkeeper, but was signed by the Columbus Crew, where he is now a third stringer.
2014 – George Malki (37th overall). Malki was a promising midfielder, having spent time with the U-18 and U-20 United States National teams. He never caught on with the Impact and was actually the lowest rated MLS player on the FIFA 15 video game. He spent 2014 with Arizona United in the USL and is expected to return again this year.
Note: The MLS SuperDraft was expanded to include the third and fourth rounds in 2014.
3rd round: Two selections (one signed), three appearances, one (incredible) goal.
2014 – Pete Caringi (48th overall). Caringi was deemed to be a ‘natural goal scorer’ at the draft, having found the back of the net 18 times in 24 games in two seasons with the Baltimore Bohemians. He wasn’t signed, played with the Oklahoma City Energy in 2014 and is also a youth soccer instructor in Maryland.
2015 – Cameron Porter (45th overall). Unlike his fellow striker the year previous, Porter was signed to a contract by the club. I think we’ve said enough about Porter for you to grasp what he has done in his first season.
4th round: Two selections (none signed), no appearances, no goals.
2014 – Jordan Ongaro (67th overall). 4th round picks on MLS benches are about as rare as Dodo birds, so a 4th rounder making an impact is, well, you get the point. All Ongaro’s time in Montreal yielded him was pretty much two pictures in training kits on Google. The Canadian was then cut my this hometown team, FC Edmonton and has fallen off the map.
2015 – Cameron Iwasa (65th overall). The lesser known of the two forwards named Cameron picked by the Bleu, Blanc, Noir in the later rounds, Iwasa’s chances of eclipsing his counterpart’s fame look to be slim. It’s good to hear that Iwasa signed with Sacramento Republic in the USL. The northern California market is rumoured to be on the shortlist for MLS expansion in the coming years, so a Cameron v. Cameron matchup is unlikely, but not out of the question.
So, Moffat was right. Porter is one of only three players not drafted in the first round to be signed and is the only one to appear in an official match who was selected after the second round.
It’s too bad we won’t be seeing him again until next season, when he will once again be attempting to make his manager look like a genius for drafting him.
(All statistics accurate as of March 25, 2015)