There was a ripple of excitement across the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Thursday lunchtime when MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the first trade of the SuperDraft.
Colorado Rapids were set to enter they fray at No 19. But a last-minute deal meant they swapped “future considerations” for Columbus Crew’s 14th slot.
Within seconds the tall but slender frame of their selection, Axel Sjöberg, strode onto the stage. He said his thank yous to his former club/coaches, looked forward to working with his new ones and walked off to begin his career as a Rapids player.
It started with media work.
Now the modern world often tells its story via Twitter. The Rapids were briefly trending in Milwaukee, home of Marquette University where Sjöberg majored in finance. Later on, club president Tim Hinchey tweeted #GotOurGuy.
Clearly the Swedish-born center back had been a primary target for Paul Bravo and Pablo Mastreoni on Thursday. At six feet seven inches, Sjöberg (pronounced Ho-berg) can even look down upon the towering Zat Knight. Craning their necks upward, the press concentrated on that issue.
But the 23-year-old has more than just size in his locker. He was schoolled back in Scandinavia at Djurgården by Swedish international and former Rapids star Anders Limpar. More recently he has been starring for Thunder Bay Chill in the USL Premier Development League.
His demeanor on a massive day in his life was composed, mature and concentrated. Qualities that every center back requires.
Joe Greenspan is a similar size to Sjöberg. He was Rapids next pick at No. 26. The six feet six inch centre back from the US Naval Academy was not present at Superdraft but he later tweet “Unreal day. So excited to be part of such a great organization”.
In interviews, Mastroeni would suggest that Greenspan may not play for the Rapids for a couple of seasons due to Naval service.
But then, the Superdraft is about the future.
News of the trade for Marcelo Sarvas followed closely after Rapids concluded their SuperDraft business. The two-time MLS Cup winner is a big character. Sjöberg and Greenspan are big in both talent and size.
So that three letter word is the most apt description of the day’s transactions for the Colorado Rapids.