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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Super second act: Union's options in final two SuperDraft rounds

The consensus from several sources was that the Philadelphia Union did well in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft held last week, plucking two assets in Dzenan Catic and Eric Bird that flew under the radar and that the club was fortunate to see remaining on the board at picks 31 and 41.

But the draft isn’t over yet, with rounds three and four of the SuperDraft – or rounds 1 and 2 of the Supplemental Draft, depending on MLS’ nomenclature preference du jour – coming Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to the topsy-turvy first two rounds that featured plenty of surprises, there are a number of known commodities still out there, including two of the 15 players who already signed with MLS (and the presence of forward Andy Craven and defender Ramon Martin Del Campo could help buy time for the Union to allow a player they want to slip). That means that the Union could expect to net quality selections at Nos. 51 and 71, their natural selections in both rounds, maybe even someone with sticking power beyond the postseason.

A few options to ponder:

Andrew Wolverton. The local tie to the Penn State goalkeeper is there. The physicality (kid is 6-6) is there. Some outlets projected him as high as a first-rounder. The Union clearly need a goalkeeper, and while Wolverton may not be ready to serve as a backup immediately if the club’s intention is to loan out Andre Blake to get games, he’s an intriguing piece to stash on a roster that has flexibility to add minimum players. If Wolverton isn’t there, it’s possible that Washington’s Spencer Richey, is another GK option.

Jose Ribas. TopDrawer projected Ribas, a left back from Creighton, as the Union’s choice at No. 31. Manager Jim Curtin said he was looking for a left back, though whether or not Ribas has the upside to warrant using an international spot is a sizable question.

Anthony Manning. The Union appear to have place some kind of value in Richie Marquez going forward, and with Austin Berry among the depth at center back, it seemed odd that Curtin would list that area as one of need prior to the draft. If the Union opt to bring in a center back, they could do worse than Saint Louis’ Manning, whose 6-4 frame jumps off the page.

Manolo Sanchez. Plenty of outlets thought that Sanchez was the logical choice at 31 or 40 for the Union, and that was the case until the board shifted as it did and teams reaching for need or best fits made players like Catic and Bird unexpectedly available. If Sanchez is on the board at 51, though, don’t expect the Union to pass again. The Clemson grad fills an area of need (winger), he’s a much more physical option at 6-foot and he’s got the local ties. Sanchez is the safe choice.

Duke Lacroix. The odds of a fourth-rounder working out are significantly longer than even a third-rounder, so the herd of names to throw thins considerably. That also makes the Penn attacker an easy pick, given his ability and local ties. The only way the Union shy away from this is if they A) see someone else on their board that they can’t pass up, or B) think no one else will take a flyer on Lacroix and want to bring him in as a trialist. A draft of Sanchez and Lacroix just seems to fit so perfectly into Curtin’s local narrative, doesn’t it?

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