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Union not expected to be big players in Major League Soccer draft

A year ago the Union reshaped their team during the Major League Soccer draft, with three selections among the top six picks.

A year ago the Union reshaped their team during the Major League Soccer draft, with three selections among the top six picks.

Keegan Rosenberry, who was selected No. 3 overall from Georgetown, played every regular-season minute and was an MLS all-star at outside back. No. 6 overall selection Fabian Herbers of Creighton had three goals and a team-high seven assists as a midfielder/forward. He appeared in 32 games, making 13 starts.

No. 2 selection Joshua Yaro battled injuries but started 15 games and appeared in 17 total at center back.

As the Union approach their eighth MLS season, this year's draft - the first two rounds are Friday in Los Angeles, and the final two rounds will take place via conference call Tuesday - isn't expected to play nearly as critical a role in shaping the roster.

"It's not going be as exciting for us as it was last year," said Earnie Stewart, the Union's second-year sporting director.

The Union won't have a first-round pick, having traded it as part of the deal to Chicago for the allocation spot they used to sign Alejandro Bedoya.

In this draft, the Union have five selections, two each in the second and third rounds and one in the fourth. Their picks are Nos. 33, 42, 55, 77, and 82 overall.

If the Union like a player in the first round, Stewart said, he won't hesitate to trade up. But the team solved two of its key offseason needs last week when it signed English striker Jay Simpson and Dutch left back Giliano Wijnaldum, who can also play in the center but will likely stay outside. The Union used their final two international slots on those players.

Among the remaining priorities, according to Stewart, are a center back and a controlling midfielder.

Without a first-round pick, the Union could likely draft an impact center back only if they trade into the first round. That won't be easy, especially since next year's first-round choice has already been dealt to New England in the deal to acquire forward Charlie Davies.

Most draft experts list Syracuse's Miles Robinson and Notre Dame's Brandon Aubrey as the top center backs in the draft. Both could be gone among the first five selections.

The Union won't reach for a center back or any other position and likely would go with the best player available when they select at No. 33.

One player they are very familiar with is Temple's Jorge Gomez Sánchez, who had 27 goals and eight assists the last two seasons with the Owls. The one knock on him is size - he's 5-foot-8 and 147 pounds - but Sánchez would add depth and be able to play as either an attacking midfielder or, in certain instances, up top. projects that the Union will select Gomez Sánchez with their first pick at No. 33 in its latest mock draft. It projects the Union to select North Carolina 6-foot-5 forward Tucker Hume with its other second-round pick, at No. 42. had South Florida forward Nazeem Bartman (5-7, 160) going to the Union at No. 33. He had 35 goals in two seasons for the Bulls after two years in junior college. had the Union selecting Pfeiffer forward Nate Regis (6-2, 200) at No. 42. Regis had 85 goals in four seasons at the Division II school.