The Houston Dynamo selected three players in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday afternoon.
With the fourth overall pick in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, the Dynamo selected Icelandic forward Thorleifur Ulfarsson out of Duke University. In the second round, the Dynamo used the first of its two picks to select midfielder Paulo Lima out of Providence College 32nd overall. With its final pick, Houston selected the University of Pittsburg’s Arturo Ordoñez with the 39th pick.
“We got exactly what we wanted out of this draft. We acquired one the most talented attackers in the college game in a position of need in the first round,” Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad said. “In the second round, we acquired two players who will contribute to and benefit from our aligned pathway between the first and second teams. I was happy with our selections and I was very impressed with the collaboration between our first team and second team staffs to make these picks.”
Ulfarsson, who joined the Blue Devils in January 2021, excelled in his season and a half at Duke. The forward scored 19 goals in 25 matches during his collegiate career and was named the 2021 ACC Offensive Player of the Year. In addition to his ACC accolades, he was a member of the United Soccer Coaches All-American First Team, All-ACC First Team, All-South Region First Team and College Soccer News All-American First Team.
“Thor is a player who we’ve been tracking for some time and we believe was one of the best attacking players available today,” Onstad said. “We are impressed by his competitiveness and believe his skills will translate well to MLS. To acquire a player with his profile on the international market is very difficult and it’s a testament to the college game that we could find someone like him in the draft.”
Following his success with the Blue Devils, Ulfarsson signed a Generation Adidas contract at the end of the 2021 season. Prior to coming over to the United States, Ulfarsson played with Icelandic club Breidablik, a club that he first joined when he was six years old. The year before joining the Blue Devils, Ulfarsson was loaned to Vikingur Olafsvik, which plays in the second tier in Iceland. He played 11 games with Vikingur and scored two goals.
“Lima and Ordonez were at the top of our list as players who fit the way we want to play and the type of competitors that we want to bring into the club,” Onstad added. “They will both benefit from the launch of our MLS NEXT Pro team and hopefully will breakthrough into our first team in the future.”
Lima, a native of Portugal, enrolled at Providence University in 2018 and appeared in his first game for the team in 2019. During the 2019 season, Lima recorded a team-leading eight goals and two assists. For his stellar play, he was named to the all-Big East second team and was named the team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. He followed that up with a successful senior season in which he was named to the All-Big East first team.
Growing up, Lima played for Portuguese clubs Real Sport Club for six years and Sporting Clube de Portugal for four years. While with Sporting, Lima won a U-19 National Championship and a U-16 National Championship.
Ordoñez, a native of Salou, Spain, joined the Pittsburgh Panthers ahead of the 2019 NCAA Soccer season. In that first year, he played and started 18 games and was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and All-ACC Tournament Team. In his final season with the team in 2021, Ordoñez started 20 matches and scored three goals and two assists, earning All-ACC third team honors for his performance. Growing up, Ordoñez played for Gimnastic de Tarragona in Spain.