As It Happened: 2014 MLS SuperDraft
The 2014 MLS SuperDraft took place at the Philadelphia Convention Center Thursday, with the opening two rounds unfolding before the final two rounds move to conference call next Tuesday (For semantics’ sake, the league removed the Supplemental Draft and put everything under the SuperDraft umbrella, but it is still a two-day affair).
This year’s class was not widely considered to be all that deep, especially when it comes to attacking talent, but like every year before it has proven, there are roster-worthy players who can help teams immediately lingering in the draft pool. Cal defenders Steve Birnbaum and Christian Dean, UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake and two-time reigning MAC Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins of Maryland were some of the top names on the board in Philly (A list of the full draft class can be seen here).
Here is how it all went down (including a few minutes on camera with Blake, the No. 1 overall pick):
2014 MLS SUPERDRAFT
1. Philadelphia Union (traded with D.C. United for No. 2 pick and allocation money) – *GK Andre Blake, UConn
Quick Reaction: Zac MacMath, you’ve been put on notice.
2. D.C. United (traded down with Philadelphia) – D Steve Birnbaum, Cal
Quick Reaction: Good business – Trade down, get a desired target and added value.
3. Vancouver Whitecaps – *D Christian Dean, Cal
Quick Reaction: Jay DeMerit, Andy O’Brien aren’t getting any younger; Solid left-footed center back prospect.
4. New England Revolution – F Steve Neumann, Georgetown
Quick Reaction: Offers help up front for loss of Juan Agudelo, likely loss of Jerry Bengtson; Had back-to-back 10-goal seasons.
5. Montreal Impact (traded with FC Dallas for N0. 10 pick, allocation money, international roster spot) – *D Eric Miller, Creighton
Quick Reaction: U.S. U-20 fullback offers promise, depth at a need position, though Hassoun Camara is an entrenched starter.
6. FC Dallas (traded down with Montreal then up with Philadelphia) – F Tesho Akindele, Colorado School of Mines
Quick Reaction: Reportedly impressed at the Combine; offers speed, size, scored 19 goals in 19 games in 2013 at D2 level.
Bonus Reaction from SI.com homepage editor Ryan Hunt: Colorado School of Mines is right down the street from the Coors Brewery.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps – M Andre Lewis, Jamaica
Quick Reaction: Just 19, international invite to the combine has loads of upside, speed in central midfield. Perhaps makes Darren Mattocks happier with a countryman in the fold?
8. Seattle Sounders – *D Damion Lowe, Hartford
Quick Reaction: Having just traded Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, Seattle recovers CB depth.
9. San Jose Earthquakes – M J.J. Koval, Stanford
Quick Reaction: Local product, solid defensive central midfielder. Helps makes up for loss of Rafael Baca (though Jean Baptiste Pierazzi is expected to slot in at starter).
10. Toronto FC (through FC Dallas and Philadelphia Union) – D Nick Hagglund, Xavier
Quick Reaction: TFC has improved immensely, but Ryan Nelsen needs to boost his defense. Hagglund, 2013 Big East Defender of the Year, offers CB help.
11. New England Revolution (traded up with Colorado for Nos. 12 and 19 picks) – F Patrick Mullins, Maryland
Quick Reaction: Reigning two-time Hermann Trophy winner was an absolute stud in college, heck of a finisher. Revs going with a numbers game approach, snagging Neumann and Mullins in hopes of finding more goals.
12. Colorado Rapids (traded down with New England) – *M Marlon Hairston, Louisville
Quick Reaction: Cost-effective move as a GA signing, offers depth at an area where Colorado is fairly set with Nate Sturgis and Dillon Powers.
13. Chicago Fire – D Marco Franco, UC Irvine
Quick Reaction: With Jalil Anibaba shipped to Seattle, Franco offers new starting option at an area of need.
14. Columbus Crew – D Ben Sweat, South Florida
Quick Reaction: Not many left backs up for grabs in this class, and Gregg Berhalter turns to defense with his first pick as coach.
15. Philadelphia Union (traded down with Toronto FC) – M Pedro Ribeiro, Coastal Carolina
Quick Reaction: Philadelphia is starved for midfield creativity. Ribeiro, a Brazilian who counts as an international player, can offer that (25 goals, 25 assists in last three seasons).
16. Houston Dynamo – *D A.J. Cochran, Wisconsin
Quick Reaction: Dom Kinnear lost Bobby Boswell in the offseason, goes to the draft well for a cost-effective, young option.
17. Portland Timbers – *F Schillo Tshuma, Maryland
Quick Reaction: Skilled and dynamic, helps the Timbers’ salary cap by being a GA and is the type of player who could thrive under Caleb Porter’s direction. And as owner Merritt Paulson says:
We will get one of the 4 guys we hoped would be there at #17—
Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) January 16, 2014
That's a steal of a pick. Sure he would be gone. (yes – everyone says that I know…but its true)—
Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) January 16, 2014
18. Real Salt Lake – D Ryan Neil, Cal
Quick Reaction: THIRD Cal defender taken in the first round. Right back the first pick of the post-Jason Kreis era. With Lovel Palmer gone, RSL was in need of more fullback help.
19. Colorado Rapids (acquired from New England) – D Grant Van de Casteele, Notre Dame
Quick Reaction: Former college teammate of reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers and hails from the same hometown of Plano, Texas. Depth at center back.
* Denotes member of Generation adidas class
20. Chivas USA – F Thomas McNamara, Clemson
21. Seattle Sounders – D Jimmy Ockford, Louisville
22. New York Red Bulls – D Chris Duvall, Wake Forest
23. LA Galaxy – D Kyle Venter, New Mexico
24. Toronto FC – M Daniel Lovitz, Elon
25. Philadelphia Union – D Kevin Cope, Michigan State
26. Portland Timbers – D Taylor Peay, Washington
27. Philadelphia Union – D/M Robbie Derschang, Akron
28. San Jose Earthquakes – D Joe Sofia, UCLA
29. D.C. United (traded international roster spot to Montreal Impact) – M Victor Munoz, UCLA
30. Vancouver Whitecaps – F Mamadou Diouf, UConn
31. New England Revolution – M Alec Sundly, Cal
32. Houston Dynamo – F Mark Sherrod, Memphis
33. Colorado Rapids – M Jared Watts, Wake Forest
34. New York Red Bulls – M Eric Stevenson, Akron
35. Colorado Rapids – GK John Berner, SIU-Edwardsville
36. Portland Timbers – M Aaron Long, UC-Riverside
37. Montreal Impact – M George Malki, Cal Poly
38. Sporting Kansas City – F Adnan Gabeljic, St. Louis