Season review: The pleasant surprises

The 2017 MLS SuperDraft may have set the all-time bar for “Best Player Names: MLS Draft Edition.” Reagan Dunk and Colton Storm were both first rounders, while Brandt Bronico and Dakota “What in Tarnation?” Barnathan followed in rounds two and three. Peguy Ngatcha came soon thereafter, as did three instances where teams voluntarily skipped their chance to draft a player altogether, before the Union stepped up and selected Jack Elliott.

“Jack” was more highly ranked in’s baby boy name rankings (No. 3) than he was on the Union depth chart when the seasons started (at least No. behind Josh Yaro, Richie Marquez,  and Oguchi Onyewu).

By the end of 2017, not only had Elliott become the best former West Virginia Mountaineer on the roster (no small feat considering his able competition, Ray Gaddis), but he had also become among the top candidates for MLS Rookie of the Year. In 29 starts and 30 appearances after being forced into action April 1 because of an injury to Marquez, Elliott cemented his place in the Union defense and never looked back.

Though subsequent regression seems to be one of the hallmarks of Union draftees (see: Marquez, Josh Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry), Elliott has the tools to be the exception to this rule.

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