Coronavirus / Union

PSP’s Seven-a-side Draft: Talent from elsewhere

Photo: Paul Rudderow

We, here at PSP, had to save the best seven-a-side squad for last (disregard if Peter’s post comes out after.)

Editor’s note: Peter’s post is coming on Friday, but he concedes the possibility that Nick’s team may be better.

As likely the only general manager in the draft to never have played organized soccer of any kind, I didn’t complicate the task. Primarily, I focused on a key ruling in the league’s organization: we were selecting the best versions of each player, even if that wasn’t with the Philadelphia Union.

Secondarily, my strategy consisted of two things: draft the most talented players and strengthen the defense as others focused on attack.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the future inaugural champions of the Seven-a-side Sak Cup.

1st round: Jamiro Monteiro

With the third overall selection and Ilsinho off the board, I went with the most talented box-to-box in Union history (no disrespect to Alejandro Bedoya who is the best such player in Union history.)

After covering Monteiro for the last year, I still don’t know if he is better used going forward or defending. He does both so well at the same time.  That’s exactly what is needed in this style of play.

2nd round: Oguchi Onyewu

Fun fact: Onyewu is the player I was most nervous to interview. He was my favorite American player as I fell in love with the game.

That said, he wasn’t selected out of bias. The Ploppyjazzers’ captain was chosen because he’s maybe the best defender in USMNT history. Think of the 2009 version of the player, who just signed a three year deal with Italian powerhouse A.C. Milan and helped the U.S. hand Spain their first defeat in 35 matches.

Oh, and he might be the only player Zlatan fears.

3rd round: Faryd Mondragón

There are only two goalkeepers worth discussing in Union history. So when Andre Blake went off the board two picks prior, it made the decision to select Faryd Mondragón easy. Head-to-head, Mondragón’s resume is far more impressive. He’s a member of Colombia’s golden generation, was part of five separate World Cup qualification cycles, and who Franz Beckenbauer called the best goalkeeper of the 1998 World Cup’s first round.

Hey, I managed to praise the keeper without mentioned that…damn, almost made it.

4th round: Keegan Rosenberry

All due respect to Kai Wagner, but Keegan Rosenberry is still the club’s best attacking full back. Give me the 2016 MLS All Star iteration of the player, and my team is set down the right.

5th round: Marco Fabián

Was he a disappointment with the Union? Yes. Is that the version of the player I’m taking? No. The Mexican international was exceptional and at his best scoring 48 goals for Liga MX’s Guadalajara. His skill set as a false 9 is perfect for the small-sided game where beating players 1v1 is crucial.

6th round: Roland Alberg

I figured I’d double up on maligned attacking midfielders. In this game, Alberg doesn’t have to run. He just needs to score, and that is what Roland Alberg does best.

7th round: Carlos Valdés

I’m just as shocked as you that the best center back in Union history lasted this long. Paired with Onyewu, and Mondragón in net, the Ploppyjazzers will be a defensive juggernaut.

8th round: Brian Carroll

Nabbing a Philadelphia Union Mt. Rushmore player with as my first sub is a steal. As soon as Fabián or Alberg stop playing, in comes the wily veteran to contest the middle.

9th round: Andrew Wooten

Out-and-out strikers aren’t the best in small-sided games, but give me a guy off the bench who could bang in some goals in a pinch. Wooten’s big years in Germany earned him the final spot on my team.

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