The Philadelphia Union traded both of their first round draft picks, one to move up and one to move down (twice). They stayed put in Round 2, selecting Michigan State central defender Kevin Cope at No. 25 and Akron left back Robbie Derschang at No. 27. The pair look to be the left side of the Union defense of the future.
Cope is an aerial stud who comes in with strong leadership and character references. While there are questions about his feet and distribution, the same could be said about more than half the center backs in MLS. Cope missed 2011 injured but bounced back to have two solid seasons that showed he has the ability to hold together a back line if he can keep things simple. Paired with Okugo, Cope would make up the harder half of the silk-and-stomp duos many teams favor these days. And that’s saying something, because Okugo brings a fair bit of stomp to the table.
Derschang was converted into a left back during his last year of college and excelled as a skillful attacker up the flank. His positioning and defense are a work in progress, but the same could be said of all non-Andrew Farrell wingbacks coming of out college. Ideally, Derschang will develop into a Sheanon Williams-type player who can plant himself in the final third and help the Union hold possession more frequently. If the team’s roster stays as it is right now, Derschang will only have to outplay the defensively-challenged Fabinho to start earning minutes. He is an immediate upgrade at a position of need.