This selection is a pick that surprised even myself. The UNC junior was around at 13 and the top defensive options at both center back (Andrew Jean-Baptise and Matt Hedges) and left back (Tyler Polak and Chris Estridge) had been taken previous to the Philadelphia Union's turn to select in the first round of the mock SuperDraft. Considering the Union will either draft directly for defensive depth or select the best player available, I went for the creative midfielder.
Martinez brings versatility to the Union that head coach Piotr Nowak covets. As seen with brothers Gabriel and Michael Farfan, being able to play multiple positions in Philadelphia is key to winning a place within the Union's starting lineup. The 21-year-old is able to play as a central attacking midfielder, or as a central midfielder in general, as well as playing as a left midfielder or winger. The Union are currently thin on the left side of the field and could potentially lose one, or both, of their current central attacking midfielders (Roger Torres and Freddy Adu).
His Generation Adidas status makes Martinez even more viable of an option for the Union, as Amobi Okugo, Jack McInerney and Zac MacMath will all most likely graduate from the program after this season. Money is going to start to get tight for the Union, and having another salary not counting against the cap will help the team continue to get closer to its goal of a MLS championship.
A medium risk, very high reward pick at this point. Perhaps even a low risk, incredibly high reward selection.
Maund is a former USMNT under-20 player and was one of the better center backs in college, but not the most dependable of them. The biggest knock on Maund is that he is horrible on the ball. Images that come to mind when visualizing his on-the-ball skills hearken to Tim Ream's pass straight to Danny Mwanga in the Union's 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in the 2011 MLS regular season. On-the-ball skills are vital in professional soccer, even for center defenders that do everything else right defensively. Still, on-the-ball skills can be taught prior to a starting role on the Union for Maund considering his talent levels.
The Union need to gain some defensive depth centrally and not use an international slot while doing so. Young Englishman Joe Tait is currently the only natural center back behind Carlos Valdes and Danny Califf and never saw action during his time with the team in 2011. With the departures of Juan Diego Gonzalez and Stefani Miglioranzi, the addition of Maund would be welcomed by Philadelphia.
The best name in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft (sorry Luckymore) fell to the Union in the second round, with the 35th overall selection.
Despite signing Porforio Lopez, who was on loan in Costa Rica from a Chinese team, to compete with Gabriel Farfan for the starting left back role in 2012, the Union would be best served by drafting one of the better fullbacks in this year's SuperDraft. If Jumper, or any other left back, is drafted then it would allow Nowak to move Garfan - as he is affectionately called by Union fans - up into the midfield, his natural position. The Union could potentially start Farfan and his brother, Michael, across from each other as wingers or wide midfielders. As noted previously in my explanation on taking Martinez, the Union are thin at left midfield, making the prospect of adding Martinez and moving Garfan there appealing.
Jumper is projected to be drafted in the first two rounds of the SuperDraft, but his exact positioning does not have a consensus at all. At 35, Jumper would appear to be a pick of high value, if not simply because of the roster possibilities that his addition would bring to Philadelphia.
These picks were made by Scott Kessler, managing editor for Union blog Brotherly Game.