The Philadelphia Union started the MLS SuperDraft with a bold move, but the draft picks made more and more sense as the draft progressed. In their last three picks of the first and second rounds, the hosts selected quality players that filled glaring team needs.
Coming into the SuperDraft, many thought the Union would draft a center-back with their no. 2 pick, but they didn’t. Instead, they traded up to the no. 1 pick to draft goalie Andre Blake. Last season’s starting goalie Zac MacMath had a successful season overall and was the clear starter for 2014. This initial move was definitely a head scratcher.
Then with the no. 6 pick, it seemed certain the Union would draft a midfielder, but instead they traded down twice and ultimately ended up with the No. 15 pick overall. With the pick, Union drafted Coastal Carolina midfielder and Reading United alumnus Pedro Ribeiro. Many Union fans were frustrated that the Union traded down not once, but twice.
However, it paid off as they scored more allocation funds and a creative, technically skilled midfielder in Riberio. Among the Union’s midfield issues in 2013, creatively was lacking.
In the second round, Philadelphia selected two defenders. With the no. 6 and no. 8 picks in the round, they selected Kevin Cope and Robbie Dershang,respectively. Jeff Parke‘s departure a few days ago made the Union thin at center-back, but Cope’s selection adds depth to a skilled center back position. In addition, the 6-foot-1 defender also adds height to a somewhat short back-line.
On the other hand, Dershang brings a rare commodity to the Union: a naturally left-footed player. If you followed the Union in 2013, they played RB Ray Gaddis in the left back position, and the verdict is still out on how he did overall. With Dershang’s natural left-sided play, he can be more effective and also bring an attack-minded play to the left side. This was also something the 2013 Union had trouble achieving.
A quick analysis of the Union’s first and second round 2014 SuperDraft picks yields good news. I understand the Union confused many by drafting Blake No. 1 overall, but he was by far the best talent among the eligible players. Unlike in past years, the 2014 Union draft class should find success on the field during the season.
Likewise, the picks definitely filled needs that were obvious throughout the 2013 season. Union fans should be pleased with the team’s SuperDraft selections.
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