So what did we get?
Round 1 - Brandon Owens (defender, UCLA, various and sundry USA youth squads)
Consulting the Book of Buzz . . .
A player of immense athleticism and potential that never realized that potential as a four year Bruin starter. Owens is a center back who has the raw tools to play wide in MLS. In 2006 tore his ACL and medical red shirted to get another season of eligibility. Returned to earn 2007 Pac Ten Honorable Mention and became UCLA’s first four-time All-Pac-10 honoree since 2003 (05 2nd, 04 2nd, 03 1st). Is he fully recovered, does he have the soccer smarts for MLS?
Good pickup for defensive depth, and potentially a big win for United if he pans out. I have to say that I've probably seen Owens play half-a-dozen games or so, and he's never really stood out for me. But then, that's probably not a bad thing for a defender.
Round 2 - Dan Stratford (midfielder, West Virginia, Fulham academy)
Back to the Good Book . . .
Another British midfielder from WVU, this one perhaps more offensive minded than his partner. Stratford earned Big East Second Team nod in 2007. 27 career assists set school record. Led the Mountaineers with six goals and eight assists while playing in all 22 matches. In 2006 he led the Big East in assists with 10, a school record.
Good to see Fulham sending something back across the pond. Of course, the last time we had one of their youth guys (remember Casal?), he barely made it to the summer. Buzz had him rated pretty high--13th among the available midfielders. Are we going to a flat four in midfield? Can he adapt to a wide or defensive midfield role? If not, he'll struggle for playing time--assuming he makes the roster--as he'll be behind the likes of Gomez/Gallardo, Fred, Dyachenko, and maybe Niell/Moreno. Of course, I seem to remember Namoff being a playmaking midfielder in college, so maybe the staff has other plans for Mr. Stratford.
Good God, I hope he doesn't meet a nice girl named Yvonne--imagine the Developmental Players House Party out-takes . . . "So then I'm stumbling into the room drunk, and there's Stratford-upon-Yvonne." The horror.
Round 3 - Marc Burch (starting left back, DC United)
Yeah, I'd say we've already guaranteed success with that pick. Of course, it'll be interesting to see what Burch can do with his first full season in his new role. Does the "sophomore slump" apply to a player going into his third MLS season?
Round 4 - James Thorpe (goalkeeper, Franklin Pierce, starred for Division II champions)
He's certainly got a hell of a namesake to live up to when it comes to athletics. This time, we'll go to the Book of Joe . . .
3 time D2 All-American and 4 time All-Northeast10 GK. In the championship game, he was shaky and he’s pretty short. I’d invite him to camp to see how he can play. He’s worth a flyer.
Not exactly a stirring endorsement, but (1) Joe thinks he may have a chance at making an impact, (2) apparently he impressed at a United invitation-only tryout, and (3) he'll probably be the third-string keeper at best, if he even makes the final roster.
While we're wrapping up draft coverage here, why don't you head on over and check out Joe's closer look at our last pick-up in the SuperDraft, Mr. Tony Schmitz. Sounds like he's the versatile sort--the ability to plug a lot of holes is going to go a long way for a player looking to stick with the team.
All in all, not a terrible pair of drafts for United. Of all the teams in MLS bar Houston (before most of their forwards jumped ship for Europe), United probably had the fewest holes to fill. Of course, that's probably a good thing going by the front office's recent draft record, but I do think that a few of these guys will stick. Here's hoping that one or two can have an impact for the club down the road.