D.C. United this afternoon selected University of California defender Steve Birnbaum with the #2 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. United swapped their #1 pick with the Philadelphia Union literally seconds before the Draft began. United received allocation money for the swap with the Union knowing full well that United would not be selecting what turned out to be the top pick in UConn goalkeeper Andre Blake.
In light of the unpopular trade of Ethan White and the top allocation spot to the Union just 48 hours earlier, this seemed a no-brainer deal to make for United as they got their top man plus valuable (unknown what amount it is at the moment) allocation funds. Word has it that both Vancouver (#3 pick overall) and Philadelphia were in heated negotiations with United to move up to select Blake.
In Birnbaum United gets an MLS-ready central defender who will add both depth and competition for Bobby Boswell and newly-acquired Jeff Parke. Many pundits had United also mulling over Birnbaum’s college teammate Christian Dean (selected #3 by Vancouver) and University of Maryland forward Patrick Mullins (selected #11 overall by New England ) . United opted for the safe pick in Birnbaum and will now have to wait until Tuesday’s third and fourth rounds for their next picks. There have been rumors floating around the Philadelphia Convention Center today that United are in talks with perhaps making a deal for a second-round pick (United currently does not have one) but that seems highly unlikely.
[Updated] United however did manage to pull off a deal that garnered them the #29 pick overall (9th in second round) from Montreal in exchange for an International roster spot in 2014. With that pick United selected UCLA midfielder Victor Munoz. “Munoz is a very technical left-footed player who can play either wide or centrally with a great soccer IQ,”said coach Ben Olsen through the teams website.
United Technical Director Dave Kasper, under heavy fire and criticism from fans in light of the Ethan White swap (and various other perceived shortcomings), also mentioned today that the signing of Fabian Espindola is very close and the team is still looking very hard for a first-team left back.
United begins preseason training on January 25th..