Union

Union select defenders Kevin Cope and Robbie Derschang in Round 2 of SuperDraft

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.

19 Comments

  1. Great, great, great draft.

    • Agreed. Within the first two rounds walked away with the following:
      .
      -Andre Blake. Top player in the draft. Can challenge MacMath. Jamaican International, Gen. Adidas [so no salary hit], creates trade options with teams like Vancouver or Seattle for MacMath.
      -Pedro Ribiero. Solid CAM, Reading United Alum., not very quick, but incredibly big. supposedly can play LB.
      -Kevin Cope. CB depth, 6’1″ and hardnosed. Probably won’t challenge for a spot immediately, especially with Valdes returning in 6 months.
      – Robbie Derschang. Converted LB. Can get into the attack. Needs time to improve on defensive positioning and 1v1 defending. Can challenge Gaddis for a starting spot.
      -Allocation money. Even though the Union spent some MLS Monopoly money to get the #1 pick, they traded down twice in return for Allocation money. Chances are the Union netted more allocation then was spent.

      • Agreed. At the very least, Cope and Derschang provide important depth this season and long term prospects at their positions. I do worry a little about the defense being so young, but I’m encouraged that we are entering this season in better shape than we have in the past in terms of bodies. Right now, I imagine our depth chart looks like this defensively:

        LB: Gaddis/Fabinho/Derschang
        CB: Cope/White
        CB: Okugo/Williams
        RB: Williams/Gaddis/Kassel

        Throw in guys like Daniel (if he stays) and Ribiero as emergency options and that’s decent depth defensively.

    • All Union Fans says:

      Echo. Who kidnapped the regular front office staff?

  2. Worth noting that Derschang was converted to LB by Caleb Porter.

    • I saw that somewhere else, but it says above that he was converted during his last year of college. Wouldn’t Porter have been in Portland then?

  3. OK Adam I will trust you on this. I hope you are right.

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  5. What is the difference between Don Andling, who the Union drafted last year and then cut, and Robbie Dershang?

  6. Now I’m going to admit I don’t watch all that much college soccer, but I was surprised to see you say that Kevin Cope is strong in the air for a centerback. While everything I’ve heard about him has suggested he’s a good player, one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen against him is his size (he’s 6’1″). Kind of surprised to see a player on the smaller end be described as strong in the air.

    I hope you’re right though. Ethan White is quite weak in the air and doesn’t offer much complementarity with Amobi Okugo. If Cope can hit the ground running, he could be a better CB partner. Ideally, we get a veteran CB somewhere, but it looks like Cope might be a good backup plan if we fail.

    • Valdes will be back after the World Cup, unless they sell him before that. So Cope and/or White really only have to fill the position until then, and if Valdes comes back and is great then we have lots of depth and potential trade bait WITH experience. Should be a win-win.

    • Last I heard, MLS/Union approval needed for 6 month loan. Valdes’ contract is through the 2015 season. I imagine he’ll be back for the second half of 2014 and then the Union might re-negotiate his contract or look to sell him outright.
      .
      Hopefully he’ll come back in form and injury-free.

      • Hopefully you’re right Valdes comes back, but I find myself wondering if that will be the case. I get the argument that he won’t have to worry as much about making the squad for Brazil, but if he has attention from clubs that are higher profile, I could see the situation becoming dicey.

  7. Southside Johnny says:

    I think we did pretty darn well for what the draft offered. On the other hand, these kids bring faint hope for me for our glaring immediate needs. I will feel much better if we get Mo and Carlos returns. I am very happy to have somebody pushing MacMath. Overall, I am feeling just a little better about Hack and the suits and now have some more hope for the season. If talent flourishes and is utilized well, it should at least be a more interesting year, but so far I’m not betting on the playoffs.

  8. On paper it looks like today at the draft was handled quite well. The front office had a game plan and executed it.

    Super Drafts are always a crap shoot, but it looks like the Union got the players they wanted and nailed the consensus number one in the process.

    Not a bad day at the office.

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