Charlotte went with low risks and high returns by taking the Gaines as their first pick. The 23-year-old striker will join his second expansion squad in several seasons after spending the 2021 campaign with FC Austin.
Gaines played just 205 minutes after joining his hometown club in July, but he showed potential in flashes, scoring his first MLS goal in the 2-0 win over LA Galaxy on September 26 in stunning fashion.
While he has yet to break through as a consistent contributor on a professional level, his physical talents are evident, with Gaines possessing a blazing speed that could put defenders in their wake. Charlotte hopes Gaines can compete for minutes as a deep attacking piece right away, with the upside to becoming an ever-productive attacker in the MLS.