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There were no superstars taken, no former league MVPs. No players with U.S. national team caps, or players with multiple all-star appearances, or even players with ties to the Philadelphia area. When the final list of players chosen by the Philadelphia Union was announced, we were treated to a group of MLS players who could make up the type of tough and tenacious team that Nowak likes, and Philadelphia fans will want to root for.
The Union still sit several impact players away from being able to compete in MLS, but Nowak now has some tools to start building a team capable of not only competing, but capable of making a first-year impact like the Sounders. That may be a high bar to aim for, but considering Nowak has already won an MLS Cup before (in his first year as a head coach no less) it's tough to write him and the Union off just yet.
So who did the Union wind up with in the Expansion Draft? Here is a closer look at the selections:
Talented young netminder who looked solid playing six matches in place of an injured Matt Reis earlier in the season. His goals-against average might seem awful (and 2.33 certainly is), but it should be remembered that six of those goals came in a 6-0 drubbing by Real Salt Lake. Will battle Chris Seitz for starting job.
A young and athletic defender who can play fullback while providing cover at centerback. Didn't play a minute for the Fire, but could wind up being a good long-term project for Peter Nowak.
A tower of a centerback who lost his starting job late in the year for Chivas USA, but who still boasts great size and a mean streak. He boasts 142 career starts and should be penciled in as a starter from day one.
Nowak needed to get a left back and selected one who enjoyed a strong season as a starter. Harvey was solid for Colorado in 2009 and should also be considered a good bet to start on opening day.
A young winger with potential but who can certainly use some coaching and sharpening of his skills, Salinas provided glimpses of being an exciting prospect during his time with San Jose, which made his exposure in this draft surprising.
A bit of a forgotten man in the LA Galaxy's late season playoff run due to injury, Miglioranzi was actually a key force in the Galaxy's early success, starting 20 games for the Western Conference champions. He's 32, but looks to still have something left in the tank.
After a brief spell in France, Jacobsen returned to MLS and failed to make the impact expected of him despite showing some good early promise. He's got good size-skill combination in central midfield and is still relatively young at 24.
One of the more exciting prospects on this list, Zimmerman is a fast and determined midfielder with an underrated shot and the drive to potentially develop into an impact player. He showed great promise in the middle of a terrible season for New York, but eventually fell out of favor later in the year. He's definitely one to watch.
Could be the steal of the draft after struggling to live up to expectations in 2009. He made just 15 starts for the Sounders as he battled a deep crop of attackers in Seattle, but LeToux's tenacity and skill could make him a fan favorite in Philadelphia the way he was one in Seattle.
Yes, he may dive a little (or a lot) but Moreno is a handful up top and can finish chances as well as set them up. He's just a year removed from scoring a goal and playing well in an MLS Cup Final and could be a double-digit goal-scorer (he tallied nine in 2008).
Some other thoughts:
How did Philadelphia pass on:
Anthony Wallace– A very talented young left back. Philly went with a more experienced option in Jordan Harvey, but Wallace could wind up an all-star. Ultimately, concerns about his ability to stay healthy could have been an issue.
Matt Besler– A left back/centerback with good feet, Besler had his share of struggles at centerback, but could prove to be a much better option than Myrie.
Amado Guevara– He's expensive and he has a reputation as a locker-room problem, but he's still one of the league's most talented midfielders and would certainly have garnered something in a trade.
Eddie Robinson- Concerns about Robinson's surgically-repaired knee have to be the reason why Philly would pass on a player who was one of the better defenders in MLS in 2008.
Bobby Convey– His strained relationship with Peter Nowak is well documented, so maybe it was a reach to believe they would kiss and make up. Convey's still only 26 though, so there's still time for him to join the Philly down the road (like when Nowak leaves).
Frankie Hejduk– You would have figured that Nowak would want Hejduk's leadership on his expansion team, but Nowak had to notice the number of injuries and dips in form Hejduk endured in 2008. That said, Nowak's chance to grab a starter-caliber forward in Moreno probably proved too difficult to pass on.
What do you think of Philly's expansion list? Who do you see being the biggest impact player among the ten chosen? Which player would you replace on the list, and who would you replace them with?
Share your thoughts below.