The Top Pick: Philadelphia Union GM Nick Sakiewwicz told Soccer by Ives that he expects striker Danny Mwanga to make an impact right away. “He’s fast, he’s big, he’s strong, he’s got soft feet.” Union manager Peter Nowak added, “Aside from his physical tools, he reads the game very well and plays like he’s thinking about the game faster than everybody else.” Mwanga, who moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was 14, scored 18 goals in 29 games at Oregon State.
Draft Winner: With three picks among the top seven, plus a pre-draft trade that brought veteran midfielder Fred to the team, Philadelphia is the clear choice here. In addition to Mwanga, the Union nabbed 18-year-old UCLA midfielder Amobi Okugo and U.S. U-17 striker Jack McInerny. Those two will likely need to develop before they are impact-ready in MLS, but the Fred pickup, and Mwanga, could pay immediate dividends. If Fred can regain his form from 2007, when he produced seven goals and eight assists in 23 starts, he’ll be a major asset in the Philly midfield.
Name Game: There was a lot of talk about the intriguing talents in this draft class, but what about the names in this group? From Dilly Duka to Corben Bone to Othaniel Yanez, the 2010 SuperDraft has some Name Hall of Fame candidates. Our personal favorite? Bright Dike. Clearly, the young man has Dutch parents who named him for that time of day when the sun hits the levee at just the right angle. (Or they wanted him to be valedictorian at Smith College. Hey-o! We’re kidding, we’re kidding! Really, we are. And our Mom went to Smith, too. True story.)
Deals: Philadelphia sent allocation money to FC Dallas in exchange for the sixth pick, which it used on Bruin midfielder Okugo; the Union also traded keeper Troy Perkins to D.C. United for midfielder Fred and the seventh pick in the draft, which it used to nab U-17 star McInerny; Red Bull New York traded two picks to New England for defender Chris Albright; and the Los Angeles Galaxy reacquired Clint Mathis from Real Salt Lake as part of a swap of the last two draft picks in the first round.
“Mr. Irrelevant”: This title, coined in the NFL, goes to the final player selected in the draft, and one might suspect that in MLS—where the draft, generally speaking, has not been the main pipeline of talent—it applies even more forcefully. But that has not always been the case. Red Bull fans still have a soft spot for defender Jeff Parke, Mr. Irrelevant of the 2004 SuperDraft, who went on to become a fixture on the MetroBull backline. This year the title goes to University of Denver defender Kris Banghart, who went 64th and last to Real Salt Lake. Banghart was a first-team all-conference selection at DU last year, and helped lead the team to its first ever NCAA tourney berth in 2008.