Phil. Union 2010 draft needs v. 3.0

Update: The Philadelphia Union are reported to be pushing hard for Oregon State Forward Danny Mwanga. As such, he is now the #1 pick in draft needs 3.0

First, let’s take a look at the Union’s current roster (lifted from the official site, with Califf added).

Name/pic Position Age Country Former club Years in MLS CH Depth rank
Brad
Knighton
GK 24 USA NE Revolution 3 3
Chris
Seitz
GK 22 USA Real Salt Lake 3 0
Jordan
Harvey
DF 25 USA Colorado Rapids 4 1
Dave
Myrie
DF 21 Costa Rica Chicago Fire 1 2
Shavar
Thomas
DF 28 Jamaica Chivas USA 7 1
Andrew
Jacobson
MF R 24 USA DC United 1 2
Stefani
Miglioranzi
MF C 32 Brazil LA Galaxy 4 1
Shea
Salinas
MF  R 23 USA San Jose Earthquakes 2 2
Sebastien
Le Toux
FW 25 France Seattle Sounders 1 3
Alejandro
Moreno
FW 30 Venezuela Columbus Crew 8 1
Nick
Zimmerman
FW 22 USA NY Red Bulls 1 1
Danny Califf DF 29 USA Midtjylland 5 0

The last column (depth rankings) are defined as follows:

0: Definite Starter/position unlikely to be challenged
1: Likely Starter/possible challengers
2: Possible starter/position likely to be challenged for
3: Not a starter/likely sub
4: Not a starter/not likely to make sub appearances.

Current Line Up (depth ranking in parenthesis):

——-Moreno (1)—— Zimmerman (3)–Le Toux (3)—-

——–Jacobsen (2)–Miglioranzi (2)—– Salinas (3)

Myrie (3)—-Thomas (1)——Califf (0)——Harvey (2)

————————-Seitz (0)———————————

Position by position analysis:

Strikers: A boon to any team, Alejandro Moreno is a veteran striker with a nose for a goal (and a reputation as a diver). His strike rate for the Crew over the past two seasons has been solid but not spectacular (21 goals in 77 appearances, or .26 goals per game). So, unless another striker is brought in the Union will be depending on largely untested Zimmerman to provide an additional scoring threat. Le Toux is a workhorse upfront and a fan favorite, but never showed in his time with the Sounders that he was anything but a super-sub.

Midfielders: Le Toux, Moreno, and Zimmerman can all be dangerous with the right service, but where will that service come from? The Union are most shallow at the center of the field, with only three midfielders selected in the draft. Shea Salinas is a good player with lots of potential (starting in only 13 games last year, he still managed to rank second in assists for the Earthquakes), but a “good player with potential” is quite different from “solid, dependable starter.” He may need another season or two before he is a regular part of the starting 11. Miglioranzi is a veteran midfielder who started in 20 games for the Galaxy last season. But at 32, he will likely function as a stop-gap until someone younger and more talented comes along. Jacobson, like Salinas,is talented with lots of potential, but started only 8 games last season for DC United.

Defense: The team’s strongest position by far, with solid veterans in Thomas and Califf. Harvey  has started 42 games during his two years with the Colorado Rapids first team, so I wouldn’t too surprised to see him get the start from day one.

Myrie is the biggest question mark on the back line. The former Costa Rican youth international did not make any appearances for the Fire last season. In a recent interview with Goal.com, Nowak gave some indication of how sees Myrie fitting in to the Union’s plans:

Myrie, however, didn’t represent an unknown quantity to the Union. Hackworth had seen Myrie play during his days with the Costa Rica youth national teams – Myrie went to the 2005 U-17 World Championship and the 2007 U-20 World Cup with the Ticos – while he coached the U.S. U-17s and reported favorably on him. Add in Myrie’s lineage – his brother, Roy, is a defensive stalwart in the Costa Rican side who has made two appearances for KAA Gent in Belgium this season  – and the Union believed picking Myrie over more proven quantities was worth the risk.

“That was good because nobody really knows about him,” Nowak said. “John was looking at him and he knows how he plays from his old days with the national team. We have a lot of good reports. His brother’s a high profile guy, so his background is important too. He wants to be better than his brother. His brother is a valuable member of a European team, so now he has all of the motivation to be the same. That’s one positive sign.”

That’s all well and good, but expect another defensive signing soon–don’t expect to see Myrie as a regular starter next season.

Final verdict: The offense is worrisome but not nearly as much as the midfield. Unless someone surfaces between now and the draft, the Union will need to focus on bolstering this position above all else.

Update (v. 2.0): News has come out that the Union are likely to sign at least one Colombian CB prospect. This makes Opara as the first round pick even less likely.

Additionally, Teal Bunbury has officially declared for MLS.

Considering the above, here are C. Horridus’ 2010 Superdraft picks (v. 2.0) for the Philadelphia Union. As more info comes in (i.e., who is Generation Adidas, who will be going to Europe, who performs well at the MLS combine, etc.) I’m likely to change the list and add more rounds.

Round One: Danny Mwanga Tony Tchani of the University of Virginia. After some careful (or maybe not-so careful) consideration, I’ve gone ahead and bumped Corben Bone from the #1 pick, choosing the 6′ 4″ Tchani instead.

Tchani will not only add a big, dominating presence to the midfield, he will also provide a potent scoring threat, which is likely necessary unless the Union sign another forward.

Round Two: I’ve decided to give up any hope that Austin da Luz will be passed over in the first round. As such, I’m going to steal College Soccer Prof’s second round first choice, and choose UCLA’s Michael Stephens, a player many thought would be Generation Adidas last year. His extra year in college has dropped him the draft pecking order, but this only means he could be a real steal for the Union, especially if Nowak and co. can work some motivational magic on him.

Again, I’m sticking with two midfielders as the first two draft picks. It may seem excessive but remember, at present the Union has only three midfielders in total. Even as more signings come in, the position will likely still lack depth.

That’s it for C. Horridus’ Philadelphia Union Draft Needs v. 2.0. Please feel free to criticize my ignorance or compliment my genius or something in between. If I get good suggestions I will incorporate them into draft needs v. 3.0.

  1. OrionPax
    December 23, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Teal Bunbury (F) & Blair Gavin (MF) both of Akron, Dilly Duka (MF) U-20s star, Andre Akpan (F), Zach Loyd (M/D), Toni Stahl (MF) and Jack McInerney (F) are all GenAd so expect them to go quick in the draft. Free money does that.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/soundersfcblog/2010571412_mls_signs_7_players_to_contrac.html

  2. K.M. Morris
    December 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Yeah I did v. 2.0 before the GA signings were confirmed. Who do you see going first?

    And also–do you know much about Zach Loyd? As a possible outside back/winger he could definitely fill a gap in the current team, but before he was announced as a GA signing I hadn’t heard much about him except as a possible late first round/early second round pick.

  3. Orion Pax
    December 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm
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