The forward position was one of strength and youth for the Union heading into Thursdays 2012 MLS SuperDraft from Kansas City.
But, with noted finisher Chandler Hoffman still on the board when the Union selected 13th overall, both head coach Peter Nowak and assistant coach John Hackworth just couldnt help themselves.
"We're surprised he was still available," Hackworth told philadelphiaunion.com. "A player of his quality, especially with him being a Generation Adidas player, he was too good to pass up. We watched him, scouted him, have known him for quite some time. He's a great person as well and willing to work really hard."
Being a Generation Adidas player means that Hoffman, 21, doesnt count against the teams senior roster or salary cap. The 6-foot, 160-pound Alabama-native is an adept striker with an uncanny scoring sense, evidenced by his 18 goals in the 2011 season, ranking him fourth in the nation.
I think that Ill be able to create opportunities for other players and be very goal dangerous, Hoffman told MLSSoccer.com. Im going to work hard and do the best I can do help the team in any way.
Coming off an impressive combine prior to the draft, Hoffman, who is left-footed, was considered a top-10 talent and ranked as high as third overall. But even with his ability, the striker fell to the Union, who couldnt have been happier.
I was very surprised, Nowak told MLSsoccer.com about his teams ability to land Hoffman at 13. Chandler was the best option available. We didnt hesitate. And we have another young forward to develop. Especially with being Generation Adidas, we have the time to make it work.
Making it work might be more difficult than Nowak thinks. With a log-jam at the striker position, which features Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga, Jack McInerney and newly acquired Josue Martinez, Hoffman is now one of six players vying for playing time up front. The crowd could cause the Union look to sell off some of their young offensive assets.
32nd Overall -- Greg Jordan, MF, Creighton University
With their second selection and the 32nd overall pick in the second round, the Union attacked a strength again in picking up Creighton central midfielder Greg Jordan.
Jordan, 21, is known for his good passing vision, work ethic and consistent motor. You cant go wrong with the hard-hat type, but with Amobi Okugo, Brian Carroll and off-season pick-up Gabriel Gomez, the Union are loaded at defensive mid.
35th Overall -- Raymon Gaddis, D, University of West Virginia
With their final selection in the 2012 draft and 35th overall pick coming by way of Sporting Kansas City, the Union finally went after a position of need in drafting Raymon Gaddis out of the University of West Virginia.
Undersized at 5-foot-9, Gaddis is still considered one of the top right back prospects in the draft. Known for his speed and attacking ability, Gaddis can double as a center back. Thought to be a project, Gaddis has the ability to be a steal at 35.
E-mail Ryan Bright at email@example.com.