Union select UConn’s Blake first overall
When you serve as the host team in a professional sports draft, you’re always looking to make the most noise for your home crowd in attendance. This was the case for the Philadelphia Union who traded with D.C. United for the No. 1 pick in the first-round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, held at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
The Union swapped their No. 2 pick with United in order to select goalkeeper Andre Blake out of Connecticut at No. 1. Blake registered 10 shutouts with a 0.75 GAA last season for the Huskies and was named the Goalkeeper of the Year in the AAC.
Blake isn’t afraid of the expectations that come with being a No. 1 pick.
“It’s a great feeling that comes with a great amount of pressure,” said Blake. “You have to go out there and show that it was a good choice. But I’m a goalkeeper, I’ve been under pressure most of my life.”
Highly touted defenders Steve Birnbaum and Christian Dean out of California followed Blake with the No. 2 and No. 3 selections for United and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Birnbaum was named a NSCAA First Team All-American last season while Dean was voted to the First Team All Pac-12 squad. They anchored a defense which allowed just 21 goals in as many games.
The New England Revolution and Montreal Impact rounded out the top five, selecting forward Steve Newmann (Georgetown) and defender Eric Miller (Creighton).
Newmann was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and a NSCAA second-team All-American, scoring 10 goals with six assists for the Hoyas.
Miller was named to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team last year and served as a defensive force in his three years for the Bluejays.