From promising striker Jack McInerney to versatile defender/midfielder Amobi Okugo to starting goalkeeper Zac MacMath, the Philadelphia Union have been successful in making their first-round draft picks count over the past three years.
But just because they don’t have a first-round selection this year doesn’t mean they won’t make Thursday’s SuperDraft count, too (noon ET on MLSsoccer.com, ESPN3.com and YouTube).
“A first-round pick has value and from that regard, we don’t want to necessarily not have one,” Union manager John Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. “But I think we have enough flexibility right now to either move up or down. There will be a lot of negotiating going on, back and forth.”
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The Union traded away both their first-round and second-round selections (with their first-rounder netting defender Bakary Soumaré) but got two other second-round picks back in trades – the 26th and 29th overall slots.
Hackworth said he likes the idea of having two picks so close together and would certainly consider trading at least one of them.
“It’s a ton of options to have two picks in the second round,” Hackworth said. “It gives us the potential to trade up. Or, if that’s not necessary for us and we think there are two players available that we really want, we can select those.”
Having that kind of flexibility will be nice for Hackworth, who noted how the Union already took care most of their pressing needs with other offseason acquisitions. In other words, they don’t necessarily need to target certain positions and can always take the best available player and then shop him in a trade.
Or they can hope to find – and hold on to – another key player in the second round like they did in previous drafts with midfielder Michael Farfan (2011) and fullback Ray Gaddis (2012).
“Hopefully we can pull that off again,” Hackworth said. “I think there are some players out there that may not be on the top of everyone’s list and may be a player that could help us. But we’ll have to see how that goes with the other teams. Certainly it’s a little bit unique in that we’ll have to wait around and see how some of these things play themselves out.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.