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Union Select Two in 2013 SuperDraft
- Updated: January 18, 2013
The Philadelphia Union Thursday bolstered an already impressive youth core with two selections in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft. Forward Don Anding of Northeastern University and central midfielder Steven Okai of the University of Mobile were taken with the 26th and 31st overall picks respectively.
The Union traded down to the latter pick, exchanging the 29th overall selection with Real Salt Lake for the 31st, and two picks in next week’s supplemental draft. Philadelphia had no picks in the first round, having sent their 5th overall pick to the Vancouver Whitecaps for the rights to Malian international Bakary Soumare. The Whitecaps took forward Erik Hurtado out of UC Santa Clara.
Anding was the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year in 2012, notching 14 goals and 7 assists in 20 games for the Huskies. Although the selection of a forward might seem odd with Jack McInerney, Chandler Hoffman, Sebastian Le Toux and Conor Casey already on the roster, Anding has experience playing left wing and left back, and may be a project at either of those positions.
Okai, a native of Ghana who played as a a box-to-box midfielder in Mobile, will perhaps be more familiar to Union fans from his time with Reading United, where he caught the eye of Assistant coach Brendan Burke, who also serves as Reading’s head coach. Okai projects as a holding mid or undersized centerback in MLS, with similar size and skill set to Amobi Okugo, though less polished. Okai will most likely be used as a backup to Brian Carroll, and he gives the Union cover if they should wish to keep Okugo at center back.
In related news, the Union have reportedly signed Damani Richards, a former youth international with the Trinidad & Tobago national team, with experience at left back. If true, the signing would explain the odd fact that the Union passed on three highly touted left footed wing backs with local ties. Two will still be available when the supplemental draft opens next week.
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Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer