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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SuperDraft Preview: What to look for

We’re just about an hour away from the start of today’s MLS SuperDraft. The consensus about this draft is clear: There is no consensus. Between mock drafts, big boards and the trade scenarios, things could shake out a lot of different ways, and it’ll be a pretty fluid situation.

In talking with some people and gauging some of the interest out there, a few quick predictions on the Union’s choices today with selections No. 2, 6, 25 and 27.

- Everything is down to D.C. Whether they trade the No. 1 pick is open to debate. They can also go a variety of directions with it: The team that authored the worst 34-game season in league history has more than a couple of needs. The can go homegrown (Patrick Mullins), they can take a badly needed defensive option or they could go with a goalkeeper. Or they can package it for assets to sign a more expensive, established player.

- Andre Blake is the name. Maybe not for the Union, but the UConn goalkeeper holds the power in this draft. For all the midfield and defensive depth, Blake may be the only goalkeeper rated as a first-round talent. As such, interest in him is high for a couple of teams in need of a goalie, most notably Vancouver at 3. For the Union, there could be value in expressing interest in him, if for no other reason than to drive up the value of the pick in a possible trade.

- A numbers game. Blake will go in the top five. At least one of the top central defenders – Christian Dean and Steve Birnbaum – will go in that time, as well as likely Mullins. But it’s certainly possible that one of those guys slides down to the Union at six. If not, I think the Union are good with taking Steve Neumann there, but it’

My thoughts for the Union: They snag a center back with the first pick (I think Dean goes one, Birnbaum second. They’ve made enough noise about wanting Blake that maybe they can entice something out of Vancouver to swap up a pick. With six, Reading United’s Neumann is the pick. Look for the second round to involve a best player on the board if there’s a big slipper, or a left-footed player.

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