With the 8th pick…
Portland has a solid 2012 MLS SuperDraft taking DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste in the first round with the 8th pick and MF Brendan King in the 2nd round with the 27th pick. Jean-Baptiste played for UCONN for 2 seasons and was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and the first defensive player taken in the draft.
Jean-Baptiste is a part of Generation Adidas, was Soccer America 2nd team MVP honors, earned a spot on the NSCAA All-Northeast Region 1st team, and was a member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team player pool in 2010.
Portland GM Gavin Wilkinson stated about taking Jean-Baptiste, “With our No. 8 pick, we definitely wanted to add a quality piece, and I think we got that with Andrew. He was a player that we identified and a player that we wanted. It was good that he fell to the No. 8 spot and we were able to acquire him.”
Here are 5 reasons why Jean-Baptiste will make the Timbers a better team.
1. Portland needs defense
Last season the Timbers allowed the 2nd most goals in the Western Conference and Jean-Baptiste can help with that right away. He is a raw, but very physical, DF that is 6’2″ and can really use his 205-pound body to muscle away opponents from the ball.
2. His height will help
Being 6’2″ is will be very hard for teams to score on crosses when he is on the backline. He will be of great help on crosses and corners.
3. He brings some offense as well
Jean-Baptiste is not a one-dimensional player, as in 45 matches he played in he not only anchored a defense that only allowed 10 goals last season and set a school record for shutouts (16) he also scored 3 goals and recorded 2 assists. He will be able to push forward on offense when the Timbers need that.
4. No stranger to big matches
Jean-Baptiste will not be in awe when playing in big matches, as he led UCONN to the finals of the Big East conferment title game as well as the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
5. He is more than happy to be in Portland
When Jean-Baptiste was asked how he felt knowing he would be heading to the Timbers he stated.
I have a lot of adrenaline rushing through my body. I just feel like I want to get to the team and get started bonding with my teammates, so we can start a good season.”
King was the Timbers’ 2nd round pick and played in 81 matches in his college career at Notre Dame. He was a member of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in 2007 and also played in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
His is a solid MF and at Notre Dame in his career recorded 6 goals and 16 assists.