Oakland Roots sign midfielder Irakoze Donasiyano

Oakland Roots announced that they have signed midfielder Irakoze Donasiyano to a contract on Tuesday.

He marks the 20th member of the roster and does not count as an international signing given he holds American citizenship.

In the club’s announcement, Roots director of player personnel Nana Attakora indicated that Donasiyano fits the mold as another versatile player for their lineup. When the blog reached out to the club, we were told there is a feeling he has the technical ability to play in the midfield but also has the pace to move out to the wing.

The current expectation is that Donasiyano will slot into the midfield opposite of Napo Matsoso. Should Noah Delgado go forward with a system similar to last year’s, Irakoze starting would likely push Joseph Nane to the bench and have Ethan Kohler and Wolfgang Prentice as the following options.

The USL’s favorite analyst, John Morrissey, broke down Donasiyano’s film below. He describes him as someone with good movement in possession, adequate defensive skills, and high potential. His highlight reel shows a player who has quality passes, has technical footwork, and someone who can make tackles to start counter attacks.

Donasiyano turns 25-years-old on February 3. He comes to Oakland after spending last season with Phoenix Rising and the previous year getting brief appearances at MLS’ Nashville SC and OKC Energy of the USL Championship before they folded.

In 2022, he made 14 appearances and eight starts for Phoenix Rising. He fell out of favor once Juan Guerra came into the fold with 11 of those appearances before his arrival. He finished with 725 minutes, five chances created, 18 tackles, and 15 interceptions.

Prior to that, Donasiyano made one appearance for Nashville SC in 2021 after being the No. 20 overall pick in the MLS Superdraft. He was then loaned to OKC Energy in the USL Championship, where he also appeared just once.

If Roots do move forward with a midfield duo similar to 2022, that would mean Oakland has seven players competing for two positions. As a result, it seems almost assured that Joseph Nane, Ethan Kohler and Wolfgang Prentice are the primary options behind Napo and “Koze”. All this considered, Daniel Gomez and Ryan Her could vie for time at the bottom of the pack and potentially be loan options to get time.

Below is what Roots’ current lineup of 20 players could look like on the field in something similar to last year’s back-three or if there’s a switch to something more akin to a 4-2-3-1.

Regarding the 5-2-3 system, I have Donasiyano slotting into the role opposite of Napo Matsoso to provide a similar look to last season. He can line up in the midfield and allow Lindo Mfeka to move more freely on the wing or in the central 10-role. In the 4-2-3-1, Donasiyano’s pace could help play on the wing and push Mfeka inside to the 10-role, so we currently are throwing the new addition out on the right wing in the graphic.

Goal Keepers (2): Taylor Bailey, Paul Blanchette.

Defenders (7): Danny Barbir, Memo Diaz, Emrah Klimenta, Tarek Morad, Drew Murray, Edgardo Rito, Kevin Wright.

Midfielders: (9) Irakoze Donasiyano, Daniel Gomez, Ryan Her, Ethan Kohler, Napo Matsoso, Lindo Mfeka, Joseph Nane, Wolfgang Prentice, Trayvone Reid.

Forwards (2): Darek Formella, Johnny Rodriguez.

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