D.C. United holds the first overall pick in the MLS Super Draft, and there’s little mystery that they are going to strengthen their defensive line. The team appears to be set up front with players like Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola, but it’s an entirely different story at the back, where they need some reinforcements. Luckily for them, the draft has top prospects at the defensive end of the pitch so they have a choice to make.
The top defenders in this class are arguably Christian Dean and Steve Birnbaum, and either of them would immediately bolster United’s back line. If D.C. wants to make the right call though, they should pick Dean with their first selection.
Birnbarum is considered by several experts to be the most MLS-ready player in the draft and appears to be a sure bet, but Dean is a better long-term fit based on how United plays. The Washington-based side has three right-footed defenders capable of playing at the center of the defense in Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell and Nana Attakora, but Dean, who played as a CB in the Combine, is left-footed. That would give the team a solid alternative on the opposite side.
Dean can also play as a left-back, but all signs are pointing to him being a center-back at the MLS level. In addition to that, he has the upside and the tools to become a star in the league and a regular fixture for the USMNT if he keeps progressing at this pace. He is tall, fast-paced and has good on-ball skills. There’s really a lot to like about Dean, and D.C. United would be wise to make him the top pick in the Super Draft.
He might not be as ready as Birnbaum, but he has enough upside and talent to be a superstar.