Joe Corona is heading to the Lone Star State…
MLS expansion side Austin FC made five selections in the 2020 Expansion Draft, headlined by the 30-year-old Mexican American soccer player and former LA Galaxy midfielder.
The acquisitions bring the total number of players on Austin’s roster to 11 ahead of its debut season in 2021.
Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna selected San Jose Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen with the team’s first selection. In four seasons with San Jose, Hoesen scored 23 goals and added 12 assists in 104 league and playoff appearances, but saw the field just eight times in 2020 after dealing with oblique and adductor issues that eventually required surgery. Combined with the fact that he is out of contract and earned $500,000 in 2019 (the last year that salary data from the MLS Players Association was available), his selection was something of a surprise. But Reyna said that when Hoesen became available he jumped to the top of Austin’s list.
“I’m a big believer in guys, when they get a clean start, come to a new club, work under a new coach, that they get back to their levels,” Reyna said about Hoesen. “A couple years ago he scored many goals and we feel that he’s got that ability to again.”
Austin chose New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud with its second selection. Stroud, 24, made 20 appearances for the Red Bulls in 2020, 11 of them starts and recorded two assists. He had spent two seasons with New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship.
With its third pick, Austin selected Nashville goalkeeper Brady Scott. A U.S. youth international, Scott spent three years with German side FC Koln, spending most of his time playing in the 3. Liga with the club’s reserve team. He was acquired by Nashville last August, and then immediately loaned out to Sacramento Republic in the USL Championship where he made two appearances.
Corona was chosen with the fourth pick, and is expected to provide Austin with a steady presence in the center of midfield. Corona has experience abroad having played in Mexico for Club Tijuana, Club America, Veracruz and Dorados. He spent the last two seasons with the Galaxy making 49 league and cup appearances, scoring two goals. Corona has also made 23 appearances with the U.S. national team, scoring three goals.
“He’s a calm player, an experienced player,” said Austin manager Josh Wolff about Corona. “He’ll be good in the buildup, he’s comfortable on the ball, and I think he’s a facilitator who will be able to circulate the ball side to side.”
Austin chose Orlando City defender Kamal Miller with its fifth selection, but immediately traded him to the Montreal Impact in exchange for $225,000 in General Allocation Money and the 11th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft.