After dealing all of their 2019 MLS SuperDraft picks to FC Cincinnati, Philadelphia Union sat and watched as the rest of MLS haggled and hustled their way through a busy draft day.
The draft began with FC Cincinnati taking... a time out. The expansion club used their extra time to settle on UCLA midfielder Frankie Amaya. After one year in college, Amaya arrives as a potentially dynamic middie with a high ceiling, however it has traditionally been difficult for young Americans to become difference-makers in attacking roles.
The remainder of the first round unfolded largely in line with previous drafts: There were picks, deals, and Generation adidas players; there was cheering, tension, and timeouts.
And then there was the Union -- watching, waiting, and planning what to do with the allocation money they recently acquired.
2019 MLS Draft Grades:— Rob Usry (@RobUsry) January 11, 2019
Philadelphia Union: A+
Before the draft, Sporting Director Ernst Tanner discussed in detail why he felt comfortable forgoing any draft picks. "If you look at the last games we played with Steel [last season], we really played with a young team," he began, "And it doesn't make sense to block these players with 22, 23, and 24-year-old players. We would harm our own development if we did this."
Tanner expanded on his logic by explaining that for the system he wants to play, collecting young players with high workrates and room to develop is essential. "We announced that we will change the system," Tanner continued. "What I want to see is more active soccer, more transition, more progression, more action, in a way, on the field. But that has to be developed. And we also take some time.
"I'm not a possession guy at all. I'm not against it, we need possession. But the possession must lead us to a goal."
Finally, the Sporting Director described what he hopes to see from new striker Sergio Santos. "For me he's a fantastic striker. He really brings everything with him we are expecting for our new system and new playing style."
Now Tanner and the Union will seek to build out their roster using the money they acquired through recent deals.