PHILADELPHIA — For the first time in the history of Major League Soccer, a goalkeeper was the first amateur player to hear his name called at the draft when the Philadlephia Union selected Jamaican shot stopper Andre Blake from the University of Connecticut.
What's more, the Union traded up to get him, outbidding several other teams for D.C. United's opening selection.
But that doesn't mean the 23-year-old Generation Adidas player will see the field anytime soon. Union manager John Hackworth stated that Zac MacMath, the 22-year-old who was third in the league in shutouts in 2013, remains the first choice.
"It just means that there's some real comptition for him," Hackworth said. "Zac's still our starter, but he was the only goalkeeper on our roster. Now we have some excellent competition for him and a guy that was on almost every team's draft board as the No. 1 guy in the draft.
"We knew for a fact that he wouldn't be (available to the Union at the second overall pick), there were a couple deals on the table — just had to make that decision at the last minute. It worked out that we got him. It was very fast, there was a little bit of posturing by some other teams."
The Union could have a surplus of young keeping talent in the near future. In addition to MacMath and Blake, 19-year-old academy product Zack Steffen was the University of Maryland's starting goalkeeper as a freshman — named the NCAA Championship Most Valuable Defensive Player — and a member of the United States Under-20 national team.