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Taking a look at possible draft targets for the Union

With the MLS Superdraft scheduled for tomorrow, there seems to be three main names popping up in mock drafts around the internet. Here’s a closer look at Michael Tetteh, Zarek Valentin, and Corey Hertzog.

Michael Tetteh, defender, UC Santa Barbara

A defender who will turn 22 next week, Tetteh played in 15 games for UC Santa Barbara as a junior last year while working through a number of injuries. Though all reports have him as being 100% healthy now. The left-footed Tetteh has been mostly deployed as a left back/wing back but has the ability to play further up the pitch as well. He played almost every position in high school, including striker.  In three years with UCSB, he scored six goals and chipped in eight assists in 50 matches. Tetteh was born in Ghana but grew up in California, playing high school for the Dunn School in Santa Ynez. After speculation that he might stay for his senior year at UCSB, he decided to go pro and was the final player given a Generation Adidas contract just last week.

Does it make sense for the Union?

Why not? Most of us here at PSP recognize left back as one of the weaker positions on the Union. Jordan Harvey, while serviceable defensively offers little in the way of service or runs up the wing. Sheanon Williams showed that he can be the right back of the future for Philadelphia but the left side was much more problematic last year.

Zarek Valentin, defender, Akron

A name that is popping up all over in mock drafts is Zarek Valentin. Valentin can be considered a local prospect, being born in Lancaster and attending Manheim High School in Lancaster County.  He started all 50 games of his Akron career, losing the 2009 National Championship on penalties and winning this past year’s championship. He has the ability to play outside back, but has played center back primarily during his time at Akron. He’s been capped for the US Under-20s, U-18s, U-17s, and U-15s.  At only 19 years old and with an impressive resume of awards on all levels including two national championship games in college, Valentin is one of top defensive players in the draft. He’s also signed on as Generation Adidas.

Does it make sense for the Union?

Absolutely. A guy with Pennsylvania ties that many think can jump right into the MLS. Danny Califf and Michael Orozco Fiscal seemed to be the best central defense combination for the Union, but neither was a consistent presence over the entire course of last season. And who knows what the status of Orozco Fiscal’s loan deal is going into next season. The one major problem in considering Valentin is if he’ll still be available by the time the Union pick.

Corey Hertzog, forward, Penn State

Another guy with local ties, Hertzog grew up in Reading, PA and played his college ball at Penn State. Last season saw him spend some of the offseason with Reading United in the Premier Development League. The Union tried to sign him under the homegrown player rule just last month but the request was rejected by the MLS. He led the NCAA with 20 goals in 2010 and is ranked by most as the second best forward in the draft behind Akron’s Darlington Nagbe (who almost everyone has going with the first pick). He was impressive at the MLS draft combine and is known as speedy forward with a nose for goal. He also has been signed by Generation Adidas.

Does it make sense for the Union?

I’m not sure. Hertzog’s collegiate scoring record is definitely impressive. And he netted four goals in eight appearances with Reading United last year. But with Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney  already on board as two of the youngest strikers in the league, does adding a third youngster really make sense?

The PSP “expert” opinion

Valentin probably makes the most sense right now. He’s a PA guy. He plays center back. And he’s considered MLS ready right now. Tetteh is also a possibility. But reports coming out of the MLS combine have his defense still being somewhat suspect. With the Union struggling to keep clean sheets last season, does it make sense to add a defensive liability to an already shaky back line? Hertzog seems like a longshot right now with so many young strikers already in Philadelphia. But I guess we’ll have to see what comes of tomorrow.

4 Comments

  1. Ed Farnsworth says:

    Valentin told MLSSoccer the other day that he’s more suited to playing right back than in the center. “Going forward, I’ll be a right back, judging by the qualities that Thomas [Rongen, US U-20 head coach] and other coaches see in me. I can show attacking qualities, but I’m not a physical player like Perry [Kitchen], getting in there and getting stuck in. That’s not necessarily my role.”

  2. Hackworth was quoted as saying the team would be drafting based upon needs. Whether that’s actually the case tomorrow is obviously yet to be seen. However, what are the Union’s most glaring needs? Goalkeeper, since we only have 1 on the roster at the moment. Defense, perhaps, and that really does depend on MOF’s status, the incoming Valdez, and/or Gonzo’s status. Personally, I’m in agreement and think we need depth at LB more than anything on the field. We’re chock-full of midfielders, that’s stating the obvious. With Mwanga/McInerney/Le Toux(?) up top, and perhaps Mintal who’s in town being courted by the team, I don’t see any needs in this part of the field … well, except for non-Frenchmen doing some of the, you know, goal scoring.

  3. Joao Plata sounds interesting. Ecuadorian player. If he’s available, I bet the Union grab him.

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