Normally, the MLS SuperDraft is a big day for D.C. United, who have established themselves as one of the league’s best teams when it comes to draft day. They currently start three players they picked up in past drafts, and they’d start four if Perry Kitchen had been re-signed. That doesn’t even count strong players like Julian Buescher, either.
But the times, they are a-changin’. United could well end up signing the best college player of all, but if Ian Harkes joins the Black-and-Red it won’t be via the draft. United added a key player who, like many players to be selected today, turned 22 during his first MLS season. However, Luciano Acosta was not drafted either; he was signed on loan from a world-famous club, and United paid seven figures to keep him here on a permanent transfer. Yes, even draft-dependent, supposedly old-fashioned D.C. United is doing things differently these days.
However, that’s not to say that Ben Olsen, Dave Kasper, and the club’s decision-makers aren’t going to the draft floor just to hang out. United has the 12th, 34th, and 43rd overall picks, and they’ll be looking to stock their roster. Signing players that require a huge transfer fee and (hopefully) big-name homegrown players shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the draft; they’re things you do in conjunction with the draft to make your team better.
If United can continue their admirable recent draft history today, they’ll make a potentially dangerous team even better. It’s not likely that they’ll land a rookie starter - not without trading up, anyway, which can’t be ruled out - but it’s fair to expect their first round pick to contribute. It’s also fair to expect their second round picks to push very hard for the final roster in preseason.
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Time: 3:00pm Eastern
This is the spot for all of your draft day scheming, praise, dissent, speculation, and confusion.