Considering who could best fit the Union ahead of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft
There hasn't been much local chatter regarding the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, mainly for the fact that the Union do not have a first round pick.
Philadelphia traded that selection to Vancouver in the deal that brought Bakary Soumare PPL Park. The Union currently hold picks No. 26 and 29, which are both in the second round.
But when you look at Philadelphia's drafting history, some very solid players have been selected beyond the first round. Starting central midfielder Michael Farfan was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. Fullback Ray Gaddis was selected 35th overall in the 2012 draft. Super-sub Antoine Hoppenot wasn't even picked up until the third round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft.
There is always a chance that John Hackworth and the technical staff will trade up to make a selection on Thursday. Hackworth is very familiar with young American players and knows the field as well as any coach out there.
For our purposes, we'll identify some possible selections based on positional need and local ties.
The Union had a chance to go after a left back in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, but passed on the opportunity.
That opens the door for a number of young prospects at Philadelphia's most bothersome position.
Writer Jason Saghini compiled this list of left back prospects on the league's official website. Top guys Jimmy Nealis, Taylor Kemp, and Kory Kindle are all expected to go in the first round, with D.C. United as the most likely suitor.
That means Dylan Remick is a second round possibility for the Union. He's not a guy who will bomb up and down the flanks, but he's a steady defensive presence not too dissimilar from a guy like Jordan Harvey or Tyson Wahl. The Brown product stands six feet tall, weighing in at 165 pounds.
Greg Cochrane played both left back and left midfield at Big East power Louisville. He also played for PDL affiliate Reading United and he's from Holland, PA, which is just outside of Levittown in Bucks County. Several mock draft experts have identified him as a good fit for the Union. He's listed at five foot eight and 140 pounds.
Penn State product John Gallagher is an interesting player as well. He's naturally left-footed, but like most left backs, it's not a position that he's always played. Scouts compare him to Kansas City fullback Seth Sinovic both in physical stature and playing style.
Depth in the Center
The Union look good offensively, with the recent signings of Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux. You also have young forwards like Jack McInerney, Antoine Hoppenot, and Chandler Hoffman already in the fold.
Right back also looks solid with Gaddis backing up Sheanon Williams.
But a good central midfielder and central defender could go a long way towards building depth on this 2013 squad.
Paolo DelPiccolo is an unique prospect in the midfield. He was a first-team All Big East selection and he's the top assist provider in Cardinals history. He's currently trialing with Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga but could give MLS a shot if he can't secure a roster spot overseas.
Tommy Muller might be the fifth or sixth best center back prospect in this draft, which means he could go late first round or early second round. At 5-11, he's a little small for a center half, but he's described as a sleeper pick with good ball skills and aerial timing.
Trevor Newquist stands 6-3, and he's one of the bigger guys out there. The Saint Mary's product is described as physical and imposing, but somewhat lacking in his ball control. That's generally the case with larger guys, who sacrifice foot skills for their physical positives.
Of course, this category is entirely dependent on the question we've been asking all Winter long – Will Amobi Okugo play midfield or defense in 2013?
Connected to Reading United is playmaker Jose Gomez. He's sort of been all over the place, trialing with Club Tijuana in Mexico after finishing up his career at Creighton. He's a guy who likes to have the ball at his feet, and he seems to be on the radar of the Colorado Rapids. Right now he's projected as a second-rounder.
This year, John Gallagher was the only player from a Pennsylvania college to receive an invite to the MLS Combine. There were no invitees from New Jersey or Delaware colleges.
There are a number of Virginia and Maryland products on the board this year, but the top 40-50 players on most mock lists went to school outside of the Delaware Valley.
If you watch the NFL Draft, you always see prospects from the same schools in the top 20 – Alabama, LSU, Southern Cal, etc.
Good soccer products always seem to come from the ACC, which is where Zac MacMath (Maryland) and Michael Farfan (UNC) spent time in college.
UCLA has also been good to the Union. Okugo and Hoffman both played for the Bruins in college.
Gaddis was a West Virginia product who showed well in 2012. There are two WVU players in this year's combine – big center half Eric Schoenle and midfielder Uwem Etuk. Schoenle is a top-5 CB product and also played with Reading United. Etuk is showing up in the second round on mock drafts.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org.