LAUDERHILL, Fla. — Having one of the top three picks in the MLS Draft is a good resource to add to your roster. Having two in the top six is a great one.
The Philadelphia Union are heading into Thursday’s draft with the No. 3 and 6 selections, and are planning to use those to bolster a squad that disappointingly finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference in 2015. The Union not only see value with each of those high picks because of the talent that has been on display at the MLS Combine, but also because the pool of players to pick from could get deeper with the potential addition of UCLA forward Abu Danladi.
“It’s a good spot,” Union head coach Jim Curtin told SBI on Sunday after second round of Combine games. “You see (Fabian) Herbers is in, you hear the little rumblings of maybe Dunladi, and the more good players that are in, the better it will make our two picks. Options are good, so I think there’s more and more depth to this draft.
“It looks like a strong class, so I’m happy with the way it is all playing out and the additions that (MLS is) making because at three and six, I think we can add two players that can not just be part of the roster, but contribute right away.”
Curtin’s roster could certainly use a boost. Having missed the playoffs yet again after finishing with a 10-17-7 record last year, the Union have a number of positions that could use an upgrade. That has the club considering all its options ahead of the draft, including trading up or down from either of its two selections.
Still, it sounds like the Union are currently planning to stick with their two picks.
“We’re always talking,” said Curtin. “There’s a million different variables that go into it, there will be a hundred things that happen from now until draft day, so it’s almost impossible to say and to know how it’s going to play out. There’s just too many variables. Somebody could jump in front of us at two and the plan changes.
“You have to be on your toes, you go through all the possible scenarios that you can, and from there I think we’re going to get two good players at two and six. I’m happy with that regardless of who goes one and two.”
As for where the Union’s priorities lie, Curtin would not say. He does not want to reveal his cards ahead of the draft given that other teams could jump in front of the club if they feel strongly about a player or position that the Union could address.
The Union are preparing for that situation and all other ones, however. Curtin and the rest of the club’s staff were combing through information at a conference room at the MLS hotel in South Florida shortly after the games concluded on Sunday afternoon, likely continuing to plan and strategize how they want to approach their two picks on Thursday.
“We have an idea where we’re going to go,” said Curtin. “I’m not saying much. I’m staying quiet on that one because if I start saying we have a need, everyone’s going to know what our needs are, but there is some depth now.
“I thought it was a very good day, a lot more calm on the ball and saw some more soccer. There’s some players there. There’s some players that are going to help teams for 10, 12-year careers. You can tell that, so it’s good.”