Thursday, January 16, 2014
Revs focus on offense in first round
By Brian O'Connell
It was no secret the New England Revolution were looking for offense at Thursday’s SuperDraft, and it’s safe to say they found it in the first round by selecting Georgetown midfielder/forward Steve Neumann fourth and Maryland forward Patrick Mullins 11th.
Neumann, 22, scored 10 goals with 6 assists for the Hoyas in his senior year, good enough to win Big East Offensive Player of the Year. Mullins racked up 19 goals and 8 assist for the Terps in 2013, and won the Hermann Trophy as the top college player for the second straight year.
“I had a great meeting with the (coaching staff) ahead of the Combine,” Neumann said via phone Thursday. “I think the coaching staff really values me as a player, and what I bring to the table.”
New England originally held the 12th and 19th picks during the first round, but traded up to the fourth spot on Monday after sending the rights of Michael Parkhurst to Columbus. The wheeling and dealing continued on Thursday when they sent the 12th and 19th picks to Colorado for the 11th spot.
Not only did the trades give the Revolution two picks inside the top-11, but it netted them two of the most heralded attacking players of this year’s draft class.
In four seasons at Georgetown, the Neumann scored 41 goals and added 35 assists in 91 career games. During his senior season, more than half (56.9%) of his shots were on target. He signed with MLS prior to the College Player Combine, assuring him of a roster spot before Thursday’s proceedings.
Neumann primarily featured as an attacking midfielder at Georgetown, but also found time up top, as well. He is regarded as a technically sound player who does well to distribute, and can be relied upon finish inside the 18.
“The Revs have had a lot of young guys producing on the field during the past year, and that’s definitely something I’m aspiring to - to come in and make an impact right away,” Neumann said. “It’s going to be fun to play alongside Diego (Fagundez) and (Kelyn) Rowe and all those guys.”
During his time at College Park, Mullins collected 47 goals and 25 assists during his four years at Maryland, and was the first back-to-back Hermann Trophy winner since Virginia’s Mike Fisher won the award in 1995 and 1996.
Although he has the build of a classic target man (6-1, 172 lbs.), the 21-year-old striker also displayed a remarkable knack for finding teammates as well. His eight assists led the team, and the 25 he accumulated during his collegiate career point to a player who has the ability to make an offense flow.
Many pundits predicted Mullins, who put together an impressive performance at the Combine, would go inside the top 5. But even though he had to wait until the 11th spot to hear his name, Mullins won’t be playing with a chip on his shoulder when joins the Revolution for the preseason next week.
“I think my motivation when I arrive at camp is just to be the best player than I can (be) for the Revolution,” Mullins said via telephone on Thursday. “Things happen on draft day that you can’t control. I just wanted to land in the best place possible, and I think I did that by coming to New England. I’m excited to get to work.”
Both prospects will be called upon to bolster an attacking corps depleted by the departure of Juan Agudelo, who scored seven goals in 14 games last year. Additionally, with midfielder/forward Saer Sene (ankle) likely to miss the first few games of the season, there’s little doubt that coach Jay Heaps will be relying upon Neumann and Mullins -- who roomed together during the Combine -- to keep the goals flowing in Foxborough.
The Revs took midfielder Alec Sundly of California in the second round (No. 31 overall).