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Toronto FC select Brandon Aubrey with 21st overall pick in MLS Draft

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The Reds picked up the player who fell further than any other in the first round.

MLS: Combine Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC selected University of Notre Dame defender Brandon Aubrey with the 21st overall selection in the MLS SuperDraft before trading two second-round picks for targeted allocation money.

The Reds sent the 26th and 27th overall picks to the Chicago Fire in exchange for $75,000 in TAM, ending their involvement in the opening two rounds of the draft on Friday afternoon.

Their sole pick, Aubrey, saw his stock damaged more than any other projected first-round pick by his performance at the combine, where he struggled in the exhibition matches. TopDrawerSoccer had him ranked seventh overall prior to the combine, as did SBI Soccer.

MLS’ Matthew Doyle ranked him lower at No.18 after accounting for his combine performance, noting that coming into the Los Angeles event he was regarded as the best senior centre-back available. In our own mock draft at SB Nation, the Chicago Fire took Aubrey as early as third overall.

Aubrey, as mentioned, is a centre-back from Texas who scored an impressive nine goals in 21 games for Notre Dame this season. His most memorable match of the year came against Virginia Tech, in which he scored a hat-trick from defence - netting a penalty, a header from a corner and a direct free-kick - in a 4-1 win.

With Toronto looking for depth at centre-back, he will have a chance to crack the first-team roster straight away. The Reds seem likely to sign a senior defender to replace Josh Williams, but Aubrey could be battling with Clement Simonin - who is out of contract but has been invited to preseason - to be the team’s fifth central defender.

In trading their two second-round picks, Toronto passed on Generation Adidas Canada prospects Shamit Shome and Adonijah Reid. Reid was regarded as a wild card going into the draft but Shome, a consensus first-round pick, fell dramatically.

They will add the $75,000 in TAM they received from the Fire to the extra $400,000 supplied to clubs by the league at the end of the 2016 season. TFC are likely to use that cash to target an attacking midfielder, with deals such as Ignacio Piatti’s ($425,000) and Sacha Kljestan’s ($687,500) the gold standard when it comes to finding top creative talent without spending millions.