MLS Draft: Blake selected first overall but defenders, trades steal the headlines

MLS Draft: Blake selected first overall but defenders, trades steal the headlines

MLS Draft 2014

MLS Draft: Blake selected first overall but defenders, trades steal the headlines

Don Garber, Andre Blake

Photo by Brad Smith/ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

With a bevy of defensive players available, the 2014 MLS SuperDraft lived up to expectations as the “Year of the Defender.”

The Philadelphia Union swapped picks with D.C. United and selected University of Connecticut goalkeeper Andre Blake with the No. 1 pick. After that, teams selected defenders with five of the next nine draft picks. In all, the first round saw 10 defenders chosen out of the 19 overall selections. University of California defenders Steve Birnbaum (No. 2 to D.C. United), Generation adidas member Christian Dean (No. 3 to Vancouver Whitecaps) and Ryan Neil (No. 18 to Real Salt Lake) all were taken in the first round.

The draft also had plenty of movement in the first round, with four draft-day trades taking place. In addition to the Union’s move at the start of the draft, another big move on Thursday saw the New England Revolution jump to No. 11 to select potential first overall pick and Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins.

After the selections of Blake, Birnbaum, and Dean, the Revolution took forward Steve Neumann,  and the Montreal Impact selected former U.S. Under-20 fullback Eric Miller. FC Dallas surprised plenty when they selected former Colorado School of Mines forward Tesho Akindele with the sixth pick of the draft, and then Jamaican youth international Andre Lewis became the second Whitecaps selection on the back of a strong performance at the MLS combine.

The Seattle Sounders, having moved into the top 10 in a trade with the Chicago Fire, selected GA defender Damion Lowe with the eighth pick. The San Jose Earthquakes followed suit with local product J.J. Koval. Toronto FC rounded out the top 10 with defender Nick Hagglund.

With the Revolution’s trade to No. 11 and the selection of Mullins, the Colorado Rapids acquired the 12th and 19th selections and took GA midfielder Marlon Hairston before closing the round with Grant Van De Casteele. Fullback Marco Franco went to the Fire at No. 13 before the Columbus Crew selected Ben Sweat.

The Union, which traded up and then later traded down (with TFC), selected midfielder Pedro Ribero at No. 15 before the Houston Dynamo  drafted GA defender A.J. Cochrane at No. 16. In maybe the steal of the draft, Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers landed GA forward Schillo Tshuma at No. 17. RSL then nabbed Neil before the Rapids rounded out the first round by picking Van De Casteele.

Chivas USA, the New York Red Bulls, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Sporting Kansas City each had their first selections of the draft in the second round. Chivas USA led off the second round with midfielder Thomas McNamara, the Red Bulls selected defender Chris Duval (No. 22) and midfielder Eric Stevenson (No. 34), the Galaxy took a potential first round pick, defender Kyle Venter, and Sporting Kansas City finished off the second round with the selection of forward Adnan Gabeljic.

The third and fourth rounds of the draft will take place via conference call on Jan. 21.

Here’s a full recap of the first and second rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft:

(A * signifies a player who signed a Generation adidas contract)

FIRST ROUND

1. Philadelphia Union – *Andre Blake, GK – UConn

2. D.C. United – Steven Birnbaum, DEF – Cal-Berkeley

3. Vancouver Whitecaps – *Christian Dean, DEF – Cal-Berkeley

4. New England Revolution – Steve Neumann FWD – Georgetown

5. Montreal Impact – *Eric Miller, DEF – Creighton

6. FC Dallas – Tesho Akindele, FWD – Colorado School of Mines

7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Andre Lewis, MID – Portmore United (Jamaica)

8. Seattle Sounders – *Damion Lowe, DEF – Hartford

9. San Jose Earthquakes – J.J. Koval, MID – Stanford

10. Toronto FC – Nick Hagglund, DEF – Xavier

11. New England Revolution – Patrick Mullins, FWD – Maryland

12. Colorado Rapids – *Marlon Hairston, MID – Louisville

13. Chicago Fire – Marco Franco, DEF – UC-Irvine

14. Columbus Crew – Ben Sweat, DEF – South Florida

15. Philadelphia Union – Pedro Ribeiro, MID – Coastal Carolina

16. Houston Dynamo – *A.J. Cochran, DEF – Wisconsin

17. Portland Timbers – *Schillo Tshuma, FWD – Maryland

18. Real Salt Lake – Ryan Neil, DEF – Cal-Berkeley

19. Colorado Rapids – Grant Van De Casteele, DEF – Notre Dame

SECOND ROUND

20. Chivas USA – Thomas McNamara, MID – Clemson

21. Seattle Sounders – Jimmy Ockford, DEF – Louisville

22. New York Red Bulls – Chris Duvall, DEF – Wake Forest

23. LA Galaxy – Kyle Venter, DEF – New Mexico

24. Toronto FC – Daniel Lovitz, MID – Elon

25. Philadelphia Union – Kevin Cope, MID – Michigan State

26. Portland Timbers – Taylor Peay, DEF – Washington

27. Philadelphia Union – Robbie Derschang, MID – Akron

28. San Jose Earthquakes – Joe Sofia, DEF – UCLA

29. D.C. United – Victor Muñoz, MID – UCLA

30. Vancouver Whitecaps – Mamadou Diouf, FWD – UConn

31. New England Revolution – Alec Sundly, MID – Cal-Berkeley

32. Houston Dynamo – Mark Sherrod, FWD – Memphis

33. Colorado Rapids – Jared Watts, MID – Wake Forest

34. New York Red Bulls – Eric Stevenson, MID – Akron

35. Colorado Rapids – John Berner, GK – SIU-Edwardsville

36. Portland Timbers – Aaron Long, MID – UC-Riverside

37. Montreal Impact – George Malki, MID – Cal Poly

38. Sporting Kansas City – Adnan Gabeljic – Saint Louis

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What do you think of the draft results? Surprised at the amount of trades? Do you think that the Union should have traded up to take Blake? Which team scored the best draft this year?

Share your thoughts below.

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