PBPP: A Look Ahead to SuperDraft 2011

Union play-by-play man looks ahead to Thursday's draft

All we know for sure is that
for Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, the first selection belongs to newcomer 
Vancouver. What we don’t know at the moment is who
they will select, or for that matter if they will keep the pick or try to make
a trade instead. 
The Whitecaps truly have a
lot of options here. 

Do they keep the pick and
take the player most ready for MLS play in 2011? 
If they do, I would think
that pick would be Akron attacker Darlington Nagbe, who recently added the
Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy to his many career achievements.

Do they instead make a bold
move and take the best player maybe two to three years down the road? 
If they do, then that pick
could very well be another Akron player, 18-year-old Perry Kitchen. While Kitchen played as a holding
midfielder on the 2010 NCAA championship team, he plays as a central defender
on the US U-20 team. His
upside is incredible, even though no one is sure what position he'll actually play in MLS.

Do they trade the pick? If so, one would think they would try
to make a deal with a team in the top five, so they would still have a top five pick,
plus maybe a player or two from that team. Vancouver also has the eighth pick (from a trade with
Toronto), so no matter what they should get two good players in the draft.

As I write this, the top five
picks of the SuperDraft will go in this order:

1. Vancouver Whitecaps

2. Portland Timbers

3. DC United

4. Chivas USA

5. Philadelphia Union 

There is no doubt that
Philadelphia will have a very good player available at that number five spot. If Nagbe and Kitchen go as the top two
picks, you would still have Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin, Omar Salgado, Will
Bruin, Corey Hertzog, 
and others to choose
from. Perhaps the most interesting
potential pick in the first round will be Joao Plata, a U-20 Ecuadorian international
who plays for LDU Quito. He has drawn a lot of conversation at the MLS Combine in
Fort Lauderdale.

If you are the Union, what
are you looking for? Assuming you
keep the pick, do you draft for a position of need or take the best player
available? I don’t think that’s
necessarily an easy question to answer, although coach John Hackworth recently mentioned that the club is focused on positional needs. Determining what those needs are is more complicated than simply looking at the current roster, as the technical staff knows more than we do when it comes to potential offseason acquisitions. We'll just have to wait and see who the Union add to their existing crop of young talent.

Other players to look for at
the SuperDraft:

Zac MacMath (University of
Maryland) - 
Which team gets the best goalkeeper out there?

Michael Nanchoff (Akron) - Nanchoff played well at the College
Cup. Good left-footed midfielder
who sees the field well. He could
go earlier than you think.

John Rooney - This 20-year-old
midfielder/forward is Wayne Rooney’s brother. That fact alone makes him an interesting player to watch. He has already trained with both
Seattle and Portland.

I am looking forward to covering
the MLS SuperDraft for philadelphiaunion.com.

Besides an interest in who
Philly takes, I’m very curious to see how many University of Akron players go in the top five. At this
point, I think it will be three ... Nagbe, Kitchen, and Sarkodie.

I'll be hosting a draft panel on Thursday night from Tir Na Nog in Baltimore. We’ll have a number of panelists and will also be talking to the Union's draft choices. Stay tuned
for more details on the show and hopefully I'll see many of you in Baltimore.

Full and partial season ticket plans are on sale now for the 2011 season! CLICK HERE for more information on becoming a Union season ticket holder.

Related:

Join Philadelphia Union for the 2011 MLS SuperDraft

Union Technical Staff Preparing for SuperDraft

Top 30 MLS SuperDraft Prospects

MLS SuperDraft Trimmed to Three Rounds

Evaluating Philadelphia's 2010 Draft Class