Red Bulls Draft Defense-ively

Posted on 18 January 2008 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls selected two Ohio-born defenders with their first two picks in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. Dublin, Ohio native Eric Brunner was taken with the second pick in the second round (16th overall) and Huber Heights, Ohio-native Luke Sassano was drafted out of the University of California with the fourth pick of the third round (32nd overall).

Brunner is a central defender who is listed at 6’4. He played four years in college, the first at the University of Maryland. The soon-to-be 22-year old was OSU’s captain this year and even scored six goals in 26 starts. He’s apparently pretty dangerous on set pieces; Mike Lewis just informed me he scored four times off corners last season. This implies he is good in the air, which is an area where this team has been particularly deficient, especially defensively (as for offensively, think about this kid and Jozy together on corners). Jeff Agoos said he had Brunner “rated right up there” with the best defenders in the draft and that he could start this year. Apparently the team was surprised Brunner was still around and had considered trading up to take him. As a side note: Brunner has never been to New York City (or even New Jersey).

As for Sassano, he is a pretty big kid in his own right (6’1, 170) and like Brunner was captain of his college team. He played in midfield his freshman and sophomore year. Not sure what Red Bulls’ plans are for him. He’s not here in Baltimore.

Neither is David Roth, the team’s third and final pick from Northwestern University. Roth (no, his middle name is not Lee) is a midfielder who was a prolific goalscorer in four years as a starter for the Wildcats: 81 goals in 83 games. The St. Louis native was a second team all America this season.

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