That's what D.C. United fans could be saying should the Black-and-Red take Georgetown senior Steve Neumann with their first overall selection at next month's MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. Neumann led the Hoyas on their surprising run to last season's College Cup final and at 15-win season as they fell out in the third round of the NCAA tournament this year. He's one of the nation's top senior prospects and has been named a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy (college soccer's analog to the Heisman) for the second straight year. But how would he fit in with D.C. United, and is he worth that #1 pick?
He's not the imposing physical specimen many of us think Ben Olsen is looking for at the #9 position, coming in at 6'0" and a slim buck-fifty. But at the college level, Neumann's brought the deliverables: 10 goals and 6 assists in 21 games (all starts) this season, with career marks of 41 and 34 in 86 (67 starts). That's production, folks, and production is something United haven't had at that position in recent years. That production has him at #2 on TopDrawerSoccer's big board, though Ives rates him a more skeptical #13, which is also where MLSSoccer.com has him going in their early mock draft.
But you can judge with your own eyes, as he's got a YouTube highlight reel. Roll tape:
You might notice that those aren't Georgetown blue & gray Neumann is wearing in the video. Instead it's the charcoal, gold and blue of Reading United, the PDL club where he's spent the last few summers. Which brings me to one potential concern: Neumann apparently wants to go back to his native Philadelphia area. And - what do you know? - the Philadelphia Union hold Chivas USA's #2 pick (not a bad return for Gabriel Farfan - silly Goats). I'm sure Neumann would be a professional if drafted by United, but there's a chance he'll always has his eye cast just a little bit northward.
The real issue, though, is whether he projects as a game-changing scorer at the MLS level. As indicated above, he's not built like a guy who will mix it up with opposing center backs, and Ives reports concern over what his best position at the next level might be. As with our previous two entries in this series, Neumann is also a senior and so might have less room to develop - while taking up part of the salary cap - when compared to this year's Generation adidas signings (which will hopefully start trickling out sooner than later, and which I'll be turning to shortly in any event).
So, what do we think about Neumann? Is he a Taylor Twellman-esque natural-born scorer who can overcome a lack of size with elite smarts and impeccable off-ball movement? Or is he a guy who might contribute in MLS but won't be a game-changer? Have your say in the comments.
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