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MLS Mock Draft: Union take Steve Neumann with No. 2 pick

Union need some attacking prowess and the Pennsylvania native should provide just that, according to Brotherly Game.

Steve Neumann battling for the ball in a 3rd round Open Cup match with the Red Bulls
Steve Neumann battling for the ball in a 3rd round Open Cup match with the Red Bulls

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 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)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
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

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
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

Romena Bowie