Steve Neumann is the local boy done good.
A native of New Hope, PA, Neumann was captain of Reading United AC this past USL season under current Union assistant head coach Brendan Burke. Neumann lead Reading to its best ever finish in the U.S. Open Cup last year, getting to the third round after upsetting fellow Union minor league affiliate Harrisburg.
At Georgetown, he notched 41 goals and 34 assists in 86 starts, an impressive resume for a 4 year career. His tremendous work-rate and terrific ability to put himself in good spots to take shots on goals made him one of the most dangerous players in the country throughout his college career. His dazzling performance against Maryland in last year's College Cup placed him firmly as one of the best college players in the country, and a reason he was seen as a top 5 prospect for many MLS scouts entering his senior season.
This past season Neumann registered 10 goals and 6 assists in 21 games, but his stock fell in the minds of most college soccer observers. Why? Everything about Neumann in highlight reels screams Roger Torres 2.0, and I don't mean that in a good way. Scouts wonder what position he'll play in MLS. He's built like an attacking midfielder at six feet and a buck sixty-five, but has the nose for goal and finishing talent of a forward.
Furthermore, a lot of the moves he uses to fend off defenders and find himself space might not work well in a physical league like Major League Soccer. He will have to prove to scouts at the MLS Combine that he has the strength and speed to persevere in the league as a second striker or attacking midfielder.
What the Union will be looking for in the draft: The Union need creative players who can breathe life into the attack. This is indubitably the club's biggest need of the offseason.
Who do the experts think the Union will select at this slot: A popular name in recent mock drafts (such as the ones from Ives Galarcep and MLSsoccer.com) has been Generation Adidas defender Christian Dean from Cal. This makes a lot of sense; Dean is an athletic left-footed defender who has the tools to be a dominant centerback in a few years. Until then, he also possesses the passing ability to play at left back in the meantime.
Why I'm invariably wrong: Prospects seen as having no true position always scare MLS clubs and scouts, which is why Neumann may drop out of the top 10 of the first round. Even if the Union want to draft him, they could just take him at the 6 spot and draft Dean or Schillo Tshuma with the 2nd pick.
Why those experts might be wrong: No club knows Neumann better than the Union. The club may If the Union do plan on utilizing three up top like they did at the end of last season, Neumann's terrific off-ball movement and incredible long-range shot make him a possible contributor as a winger.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz|