SBI Video Corner

MLS Draft Team Recap: Philadelphia Union



The Philadelphia Union came into the 2011 MLS Draft with a handful of needs, but goalkeeper wasn't considered one of them.

That is what made the Union's selection of Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath somewhat surprising, but with incoming goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon turning 40 this year, Peter Nowak chose to take one of the best overall prospects in the draft.

The Union followed up by taking UNC attacking midfielder Michael Farfan in the second round. Farfan fell after a supbar MLS Combine, but has shown creativity and poise on the ball in his four years at Chapel Hill. Philly finished the draft by taking Levi Houapeu, the speedy winger/forward from UMBC, a steal in the third round.

SBI had a chance to catch up with Zac MacMath after he was selected. Here is our interview:

Zac MacMath Draft from Soccer By Ives on Vimeo.

  • Yoda

    I dont know why people were down on this draft. They got the top goalkeeping prospect and then got Farfan and Houapeu after they were projected to go. Even if they get Mondragon he is 39. MacMath learns under him for a couple years and hopefully takes over from there. I wouldnt have minded a defender, but I am happy with this draft.


  • Scott

    Agreed. I’d have rather seen a fullback get drafted, but I like the picks they got. Besides, if MacMath fulfills his potential no one will say “that was a reach to go get him” when looking back.


  • Jim

    I like the pick simply because Nowak is blatantly acknowledging that his original goalkeeping plan didn’t work.

    MacMath seems like a stud and the Union have skilled offensive plays in Mac, Le Toux and Mwanga.


  • JohnC

    I doubt even MacMath sits for a couple years, Mondragon is 39 but rumors say maybe slightly older. Now with the reserve league and then his busy summer with U20s this year should be great for development and next year he can be the starter.


  • Chetter

    My initial reaction from the draft is the U did a great job A- grade(though time will certainly ne the true test). They got a couple studs with upside, didn’t draft guys higher than projections had them, and didn’t do anything strange. Farfan and Houapeu could easily prove to be major major steals. As a fan I’m very comfortable with what they did here.


  • Justin O

    Agreed with the first couple of posts. Didn’t SBI have MacMath as the Sounders first pick, given that Keller is 40 years old and on the way out? Seems the Union were the next obvious choice for a GK, given their 39 year-old GK. An obvious choice in my book, and I’m a bit perplexed why anyone would say otherwise.


  • DC Josh

    I really like Peter Nowak and think he is the best coach in the country. We will have to thank him in 4 years when his young Americans become very, very good players.


  • AD22

    “… goalkeeper wasn’t considered one of them.” For real? As of yesterday morning the team only had ONE goalkeeper on the roster. Mondragon’s signing still hasn’t been officially announced, so I still consider him a rumor until proven otherwise. Our starting backline will remain intact (Nowak has supposedly confirmed that Orozco-Fiscal will return for 2011), and we have the incoming Colombian, Carlos Valdez. Farfan, and perhaps even Houapeu, can play out on the right wing, a void the Union needs to fill. And there wasn’t any need for a striker; between Mwanga, Le Toux, McInerney (off the bench), and Mintal about to be signed, there shouldn’t be a shortage on goal-scoring.


  • Maser

    I’m kinda hoping they don’t sign Mondragon so that MacMath can start right away. He’s fresh off a great season and could really help out a defense that has had a year to develop together. Also, why waste a top 5 pick on a benchwarmer?


  • b

    Because they’re not drafting him based on what he can do next year. Mondragon is 39, let him start next year while MacMath learns from him, then have them compete for the job next year. MacMath is going to be a stud for a long time, which is why he was taken 5th overall.


  • b

    Exactly, between the reserve league an the U20 World Cup, MacMath has plenty on his plate for the next year. He will not be wasting his time on the bench.


  • Tielor2d

    Yea, I dont understand how you can be so shocked about them taking MacMath Ives. Hertzog and Sardokie (two of the three players you had them taking) made no sense. They have two young talents at FW in Mwanga and McInerney and 20 yr old Williams at RB. CB, LB, GK, and AM were the only positions that made sense. They hemorrhaged goals last season because of defensive errors and goalkeeping flukes. MacMath has next great American keeper potential while Farfan and Houapeu are both talented midfielders. Had Valentin been around he would have been a good choice too but even then I still dont think you can pass on MacMath. Nowak knows what he’s doing and in 2-3 years we could be supremely talented. I know we won’t be pushing for a title this season but I can wait.


  • wow

    The problem with the MacMath pick isn’t that they chosen him it is that they could have traded down and still gotten him. It’s the same reason that Vancouver’s pick of Salgado was so bad. You don’t use the #1 pick (or the #5) on a player whose talent doesn’t determine they should be picked there. It is Drafting 101 and Nowak – even though he is a terrific coach – got this pick terribly wrong.


  • La Flama Blanca

    I think the Sounders woulda scooped him up right after us since there were rumors they wanted a keeper and got one in the draft.

    On a side note, is this team really gonna send out the same back 4 as last year (shiver), that can’t be good. I hope there is something happening I don’t know about.


  • wow

    The Union could have made far better use of Kofi Sarkodie than MacMath. Especially with the news today about David Bingham. I like the second two Union picks but the MacMath pick was poorly conceived and executed.


  • Neumannator

    Terrific draft…. as long as they’re picking up several serious foreign players in the next few weeks…otherwise it’s gonna be a fun year…


  • wow

    You’ve obviously never seen Sarkodie play. Very possible he will play in the flank midfield as a pro. He was the best player on the board. If they wanted MacMath that bad they should have traded down. He was a real reach at #5. Only worse decision in the first 10 picks was Salgado at #1.


  • D

    #1 rule to building a soccer team: You must have a great Goalkeeper! You cannot move forward w/ out a GK. Obviously Seitz didn’t work out. GK is such an odd position, as psychology seems to be more important than the ability in the end. If Mondragon comes, good. You can’t put too much pressure on GKs too early (i.e. Tim Howard @ ManU). I’m happy with the pick. I love Farfan and Levi as steals. While, the D needs more work, the front office has hinted at bringing in a big signing. If not, they couldn’t pass on MacMath after the Seitz debacle.


  • Speedo

    So if the Mondragon thing is a rumor why are you telling us that we are set in the back with Valdez and Mintal up top. Both of those are rumors by your definition.


  • Dominghosa

    No big deal and, of course, I only know because I’m a Fullerton alum but Farfan played at Cal State Fullerton for his first two years with his twin brother before he transferred to UNC.


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