Philadelphia Union 2011 MLS Draft Recap

| by World Soccer Reader

1st Round (5th Overall) – Zac MacMath, Goalkeeper – University of Maryland

Piotr Nowak and the Philadelphia Union staff made a surprising move early in the draft selecting a young goalkeeper over a forward or central defender, which many said was their two most glaring needs coming into the draft. With the rumors of deal with Columbian international Faryd Mondragón almost set in stone, taking a chance on another young promising goalkeeper shocked many. Chris Seitz, who Philadelphia traded for prior to last season, had a less than stellar performance this year before being benched for backup Brad Knighton midway through the season. Philadelphia declined their option on Seitz and he ended up being acquired by Dallas after the Re-Entry Draft.

In 3 years with the University of Maryland, MacMath only allowed 43 goals in 65 games, finishing his collegiate career with an average 0.65 goals against per game. MacMath missed the MLS Combine, representing the United States at U-20 level. A First Team All-ACC and ACC Tournament MVP, the Union hope that MacMath is the future that can help lead them to an MLS Cup title.

2nd Round (23rd Overall) – Michael Farfan, Midfielder – University of North Carolina

In the second round, Philadelphia bolsters it’s midfield with a very nice attacking outside midfielder who provides a nice pace and excellent passing ability. Farfan looks to fit well in Piotr Nowak’s and the Union’s style of play of controlling possession and creating opportunities with crisp and quick passing game. Some had predicted that Farfan would be a late first round pick, by falling to the early second round, the Union get a former U.S. youth international with the U-17 national team. Farfan was coached by current Union assistant John Hackworth with the U-17 team.

3rd Round (41st Overall) – Levi Houapeu, Forward/Midfielder – University of Maryland Baltimore County

Philadelphia selects Levi Houapeu, a speedy and versatile player who can play both in the midfield and up top as well. His speed can give Philadelphia the ability to stretch opposing defenses wide, opening things up for Danny Mwanga and Sebastian Le Toux in the box. With the loss of Shea Salinas in the expansion draft, the need for an attacking player with speed was desperately needed. A true talent who may have been off the radar of some clubs coming from a smaller school UMBC, Nowak could be the perfect coach for a player like Houapeu to develop under.

With the Philadelphia Union’s 2011 Superdraft now complete, the Union will still be looking to fill holes along the back line, specifically at central defense. A defense that let up 49 goals last season, tied for second to worst in the league, there is certainly a desperate need for improvement. CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz has hinted that there will be a number of player signings announced once the MLS Transfer Window opens up on January 15th.