D.C. United headed into Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft with just one selection in the first two rounds. Through some aggressive wheeling and dealing, the Black-and-Red were able to turn that one pick into two players. Both of which fill an immediate need for a team that appears to have a hole in central midfield, while it’s not a lock that both of the selections will be the immediate answers, their are now at least viable options in that area of the roster. Only time will tell how soon these youngsters can take the field as members of the starting 11 come opening day.
The first trade was made with Sporting Kansas City for the 11th overall selection in the draft, United decided to move up two slots while retaining the 13th selection. The compensation was allocation monies. With that selection, D.C. decided to take Julian Buescher from Syracuse. The midfielder/defender is German born and was a member of both the U-16 and U-18 German National teams. During his two years at Syracuse, Julian showed his ability as a playmaker. In his Senior campaign, he started all 25 games. Tallying 11 assists and scoring eight goals, those 11 helpers placed him 8th in the country. His level of play earned him a place on College Soccer News’ All-America First Team amongst several other honors.
With Buesher in hand, United still had the 13th overall pick as mentioned above. The decision makers for the Black-and-Red declined to make a selection, rather making the decision to initiate a trade with Orlando City SC. Orlando would acquire the 13th pick in return for the 32nd overall pick, which was the 12th pick in the second round.
Again, D.C. decided to address a need and selected another midfielder. This time, it would be Paul Clowes from Clemson University. The English born player, earned playing time quite early in his four year stint at Clemson. As a freshman starting 19 of 20 games, he would continue to hold down his spot in midfield for the duration of his collegiate career. In his last two years as a Tiger, Clowes tallied four goals and six assists. He was named to the All-ACC First team amongst other honors. He spent time playing for Manchester City Club Academy from ages 6-18.
One interesting note about the two draftees is that they faced each other on the field multiple times during their college career. So while they weren’t teammates, they are very familiar with what the other brings to the table. Clowes joked that he could tell you what “Buescher” had for breakfast when asked about a scouting report on his new teammate and former foe.
Ideally, these two complement each other very well. There’s a reason they got to know the other well as opponents. Buescher is more attack minded of the two, while Clowes is a bit more defensive minded. What both made clear is that they are technically sound and very comfortable on the ball, with preseason around the corner we’ll get our first look at the youngsters. Their prior experiences leading up to college makes them a bit different than most draftees, as Buescher has had some professional experience and Clowes time in the academy can only have helped a young player. With the current state of United’s central midfield and the hole left by Perry Kitchen(should he go overseas), they’ll have more than ample opportunity to earn valuable playing time as rookies.
We’ll take a look at how these two may fit with the first team a bit later, but United certainly focused on an area of need in the first two rounds. Rounds three and four take place on January 19th via conference call. As of this moment, the Black-and-Red don’t have a selection in the third round and three in the fourth round. So while they’ve addressed central midfield in the first two rounds, it’ll be interesting to see what part of the roster they address.