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Union trade up to No. 1, select UConn goalie Blake

Photo: Eli Pearlman-Storch

With the first pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, the Philadelphia Union selected University of Connecticut goalie Andre Blake. Blake is leaving UConn a year early after posting a 10-3-8 record with 10 shutouts and a 0.75 GAA. He is a Generation Adidas player.

Blake was the consensus best player in the draft, with both SBI and TopDrawerSoccer listing him as the top talent on the board.

The Union traded away the #2 pick and allocation money to move up and select Blake.

After trading the top pick, DC United manager Ben Olsen said of Andre Blake, “We think he’s the real thing, but we don’t need one.”


  1. Hey, I called this. Fully support it 100%. You can never be upset about getting the consensus best player in a draft.

  2. What did we trade?

  3. I’m confused. The headline says they traded up but the text says it was with the second pick. Was it a trade? If so, what did they give up?

  4. According to MLS website, DC took Birnbaum with the number 2 pick. No details as to what was involved in the trade.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    ESPN reported Union have DC #2 pick & allocation money for the #1 overall.
    I’m not mad, but it doesn’t address a need. Zac was good, not great. But goalie is not an absolute need. I woulda stayed at 2 and got Birnbaum. But as stated, never a bad thing when you get the consensus #1

  6. did we lose allocation money? or the top spot in the allocation process? and if we did are we out of the running for Edu?

  7. Dean went with the number 3 pick so it looks like the Union are not going to get either of the Cal defenders. (Pretty impressive how the team with the number 2 pick can’t get either of the players they most need.)

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      This draft is all about best available regardless of position. But I do agree that they needed a guy like Birnbaum rather than a GK

    • Union will almost definitely take Lowe since apparently they are the sole reason he got a GA contract. So he’ll be our CB. Is he better than Dean or Birnbaum? I don’t know I just hope he doesn’t turn into another Okai pick

  8. Macmath MUST be traded now. No way around it. There is no more worthless position in soccer, or maybe any sport for that matter, than backup goalie. They basically almost never play.

    • Btw, I had not seen the highlight video before, from the Draft Site, Wow this guy makes some amazing saves. Just watch the reaction of some of the opposion players/coaches/fans.

    • who’s to say Blake’s going to be ready to play MLS level from day one?

      I HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE this pick.

      • I saw a national journalist tweet Blake coulda started in the MLS last year.

      • yeah he was offered a GA contract last year and he turned it down. He’s a solid, solid GK.

      • And he would have been there at number two – or we could have used that argument to trade down for a team with a greater need at Keeper and fill other holes, especially the one we unnecessarily created by trading Jeff Parke for the right for the league office to nix the Maurice Edu deal.

        We won’t really know until he plays, but I don’t know how any keeper is going to be any good with what’s in front of him defensively. At least MacMath is a good shot stopper and aggressive off his line, which suits the Union’s “style.”

        Put it this way, thanks to the Union, the D.C. United have Parke and Birnbaum in front of Hamid, plus more allocation money, and we have a midfielder, a no-name DC reject, and a rookie.

      • Not disagreeing with you. I’m just saying that we spent money and a 1st overall on this guy, HE’S not being traded. So Macmath has to.

      • And MacMath is not a good shot stopper…unless your counting the ones directly at him, which is just assumed a GK should do.
        And he isn’t truly agressive. He got better at the end of the year, but some here seem to forget he had a lot of blunders.
        Also of note: his positioning is terrible.
        (I sound harsh here — he’s not that bad) But as a coach, we’ve always believed you have to start with a GREAT GK…I actually did this when recruiting a certain Union Academy GK who had a big NCAA tourney for a certain Prep School to help turn the program around.

    • For the first 3 seasons the Union have existed, their backup has had to play a few league games. Year 1 Seitz got pulled and Knighton played. Year 2 Mondragon got hurt and Zac played. Year 3 Zac got concussed and both Harrison and Konopka played. If any team needs a quality backup its the U.

  9. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Realize that it was just highlights, but he looked really, really confident on crosses!

  10. What a freaking waste. Trading up to draft a player we don’t need and then continually trading down so as not to spend any money.
    Thanks for giving up on next season already, Hackworth!

    • Hack’s comments before the draft (and those of quite a few others) seemed to indicate he wasn’t enamored with the talent in the draft. If that’s the case, trading down is a great option, taking advantage of the perceived parity while generating money. My guess is they’ll spend more on the players they’re targeting with the increasing allocation money than the ones they’re not drafting. In short, I think it’s too early to judge the moves.

    • Dude, I’m pumped about their first day! Their first and second picks are legit. Add Chaco and (hopefully) Edu and Nogueira and this is one GREAT off-season in my opinion.

  11. I WAS actually looking forward to this draft. Now not so much. I will be looking forward to tomorrows drevil regarding how great the Union did in the draft.

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m not mad about the Blake pick. But we had chances to grab guys we needed and passed. That is what is confusing me.
    Plus, Garber never says what is traded when we (or anyone else) makes trades. I assume we are getting the almighty Allocation Money but it would be nice to know. That would at least give us an idea that they are going after something.
    So who plays next to Okugo next year? White? And again with no depth…

  13. Love Twellman, but the on air assertion that they are trading down to pick allocation $ to help facilitate the Edu deal makes no sense. They would have had to part with more allocation to move up to #1 then they got with the other two deal combined. I think Hackworth wanted Blake and Lowe . . . thought he could keep dropping to get Lowe and then had him snatched from under his nose. So with no top CBs left he dropped once again. Basically his strategy back fired and left us with no top class CB. Now Sweat is gone and it wouldn’t surprise me if he drops again

  14. I could not possibly be more disappointed in the Union and Hackworth. I’m not wasting my time or money supporting this team until they figure out when they want to actually compete on the field here and now.

  15. I think a good portion of our season rides on the Edu deal getting done

  16. Talk about some over reactions lol. This wasn’t a bad draft. We traded up for Blake essentially free (because we got two trades for allocation money for our 6 and 10 pick). Plus no matter who we took with our second pick, the odds are that Superdraft players don’t pan out.
    Look at it as we got a 5-6 year starting GK plus whoever we trade MacMath for. That’s good stuff!

    • + 1. these have been great picks so far. still a handful of solid CBs left. plus any and all trade options. So much overreaction and melodrama. It’s not like we drafted two RBs.

      • Only if we trade Macmath.

      • I wouldn’t trade Macmath until maybe the following season. Have them compete against each other… unless an offer comes through. Blake costs the Union nothing.

      • Are we going to throw another rookie goalkeeper under the bus with no support?

        I honestly think the union are really over thinking this draft

    • I do not know if we trade MacMath this year considering Blake is on a GA contract. Unless we can get an exceptional trade for MacMath I think the competition is the best cast scenario for this year.

      • This is the perfect reason to trade MacMath. We get rid of his salary, start a better keeper, and can bring in some more players.

      • Keep in mind next year is an expansion year so there will be an expansion draft in the fall. so even if MacMath stays this year one way or another he’s gone next year.

      • I’m not so sure, Shane. Blake should be protected during the expansion draft, if past drafts are a good precedent (GA status). So the Union certainly could choose to protect MacMath and come out in the end with both keepers still.
        That doesn’t mean they *should*. Just that they *could* without too much effort at all.

  17. The negativity here is both astounding and unwarranted. For everybody upset they didn’t take a CB, remember that no CB taken in the draft this year is likely going to be as good this year as White, who already has MLS experience. Also, Ribeiro was generally ranked higher than every CB other than the two Cal guys AND fills a bigger need (CAM).

    The Union aren’t “giving away this year” or “being cheap” or whatever other nonsense is being spouted here. They made shrewd trades and ended up with the consensus #1 player in the draft and a guy who some people projected to be gone in the top 5.

    You can never be upset about getting the best player in a draft. I don’t care that we already had MacMath, and that this creates a weird situation in which we have two starting keepers. If Blake beats out MacMath from the get-go, it’s a good pick because it improves the team. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t count against the cap for awhile and there’s time to develop him.

    • Ribeiro can’t play the CAM in the MLS. No way, no how. At best he’s a holding midfielder, of which we already have a great young one who is played out of position, Okugo.

      • What makes you say that? He played #10 in college. He’s not really a defensive player, although he apparently can defend a bit.

      • @ Rick. I have never seen or heard anywhere that Ribiero could not cut it as a CAM. In fact I’ve seen the opposite.

      • Because he’s too tall, amirite? There’s a little-known FIFA rule that CAMs from Central and South America can’t be more than 5’6″ tall.

      • Hey, I hope I’m wrong and I’m willing to eat my shirt if he can play CAM in the mls. I just don’t see it. Too slow for one.

      • I’ll give you that he isn’t very quick nor is he a box to box player. But his vision distribution strength and skill shouldn’t be doubted. Not sure being quick or agile is a necessity for a CAM.

      • Wasn’t that a big part of the problem with Torres, he wasn’t a box to box player? Yes, granted we all know he was 4’11” and couldn’t defend, but doesn’t Hackworth’s system pretty much require a box to box CAM and halfbacks that will be all over the field?

      • I think most of Torres’ problem was his size.

      • Have you seen him play?

    • It will be even more shrewd when the U trade Macmath. Edu will happen because the spotlight is well and truly on the league. On the way up.

    • Agree. The BPA approach is smart. Besides, the draft is usually a complete crap shoot in terms of who ends up staying in the league (let alone the team that drafted them). This is the move that makes the most sense. Picking up Pedro was a steal at #15.

  18. Don’t forget it looks like we get Valdez back after the World Cup.

  19. Philly has invested a lot in 3 young goalkeeper prospects in 5 years. That’s almost absurd.
    I miss Mondragon.

  20. he speaks well.

  21. Trading MacMath is a no brainer. Back at the end of the season, Dan Walsh gave us odds of each player coming back this season. He put Jeff Parke and Zac MacMath at 100% and Chris Albright at 0%. Albright is now with the front office and we all know about Parke. Clearly the Union will trade Zac so Dan starts to learn that no matter what he says, Dad is always wrong 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Uh, yeah, Albright’s 0% was as a player. Obviously. Everyone knew he was coming back off the field. As for Parke, the thing about a personal matter is legit. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone in a trade. That much I know. As for MacMath … fine, you got me. I and everyone else outside the Union coaching staff was surprised by the Blake pick. Your point has been made — repeatedly, apparently, in multiple comments on multiple posts. 🙂

  22. Wait, crazy thought, could this have to do with Macmaths comments on twitter when Bradley was coming to MLS?

    • i doubt it. blake was widely considered the best player and sometimes in a draft you go for the the best player regardless of position

  23. The Chopper says:

    So far so good. Blake is better than MacMath today and will get even better tomorrow. Zak has proven he can deliver results in the league and is still young so is now a commodity that can be part of a trade package to get you something else you need.

    Blake may be the one guy in this draft who is really ready to start, play and contribute 90 minutes a night on day one.

  24. I think not so crazy. He’s not good enough to get away with publicly dissing the FO.

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