Well before the draft started, Peter Nowak and Co. sent notice they were going to make this event about the Philadelphia Union. The newest MLS franchise acquired the first round selections from DC United and FC Dallas for, well, what exactly? Allocation cash in FC Dallas’ case. The rights to Troy Perkins in DC United’s. Oh yeah, DCU also sent Philly Brazilian winger Fred for its troubles.
The result was three of the first seven overall picks in the draft, a tally that allowed the team to take a relative gamble on the likes of Jack McInerney with its third pick (seventh overall). If you want to call Parade Magazine’s national boys’ soccer Player of the Year a gamble. Its first pick, Danny Mwanga, was the closest thing to a shoe-in number one you’re going to get in an MLS draft. The Cameroon-born 18-year old should be able to contribute right away. Amobi Okugo, picked sixth overall, should at the very least add depth to the Union midfield. All three are Generation Adidas players, which means they won’t count against the salary cap–another bonus. Then Nowak grabbed UConn’s Big East midfielder of the year Toni Stahl in the second round and UCLA midfielder/forward Kyle Nakazawa in the third.
The Union were already set at goalkeeper and defense coming into the draft and had one perfectly serviceable striker in Alejandro Moreno. They have now added a young nucleus in midfield as well as two attacking players who could become the face of the franchise for many years to come. And Nowak still wasn’t done. For the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the ice cream on top of the cake, he added Nakazawa’s UCLA teammate and starting U-20 goalkeeper Brian Perk in the fourth round. Perk gives the Union three starter caliber goalkeepers, which is three more than the New England Revolution will have on opening day.
It has been said that it won’t be easy for Philadelphia to match the Seattle Sounders’ success from last year. That will indeed be a formidable challenge. But if today was any indication, the Union won’t just match it but perhaps even exceed it. Hats off to the Zolo.
- The Philadelphia Union page had a live blog and now has several stories, a poll to grade the team’s draft efforts and full photo gallery with more on the way. Be sure to check back regularly.
- The newest member of our DC United staff has an editorial piece on the team’s re-acquisition of Troy Perkins. The post has attracted a lively debate so check it out.
- The New York Red Bulls page has a review of that team’s picks and opportunity for fans to judge its efforts (so far the consensus grade is “B”).
- The defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake were busy wheeling and dealing (and drafting). Kali Korbis updates readers on those developments. RSL fans can also vote to assign their team’s draft a grade as part of her post.
- A top-to-bottom look at the Chicago Fire roster post-SuperDraft.
- A review of FC Dallas’ draft is now available as well.
- We told you to check the Union site. They’ve added a page of quotes and reactions from head coach Piotr Nowak and the team’s draft picks.
- ASN Philly strikes again, with a full Q&A with #6 draft pick Amobi Okugo.