Despite his typically Caledonian calm Presbyterian exterior, there was no hiding Martin Rennie’s elation at the results of today’s draft.
The Whitecaps coach picked up two forwards having traded his way to selections four and five in the first round.
Firstly, he took Generation adidas striker/winger Kekuta Manneh from Austin Aztex from the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (USL PDL).
Manneh is a Gambian Under 20 international who scored 12 goals and added nine assists in 13 appearances with Austin Aztex.
Additionally, in the in the last two USSDA seasons he scored 58 goals.
As a bonus, he can play on either side of the pitch according to his new boss.
“Kekuta brings great pace out wide and is a natural goalscorer,” Rennie oozed in a Whitecaps press release.
“He is a versatile player with a natural ability to play on the left or on the right, which isn’t easy to find. I’m very pleased that we were able to move-up in the draft to select Kekuta.”
At 5′ 9″ and a slight 140 pounds, he clearly has some growing into his frame to do before he is ready for MLS defenders. At the same height but 40 pounds heavier is Erik Hurtado, the Caps’ other selection.
Perhaps closer to being thrown into the fray indeed is the man who spent 2012 playing for the Portland Timbers U-23 in the PDL, scoring six goals and recording one assist in 10 matches.
Before that, the 22-year-old had four outstanding seasons with Santa Clara University. As a senior, he scored 15 goals and added seven assists in 19 matches with the Broncos. As a result of his efforts, he was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Region First Team and was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year.
“Erik is powerful and quick, and holds the ball well under pressure,” observed Martin Rennie.
“He brings a solid goalscoring record during his time at Santa Clara and was a standout at the Combine. We are very excited that we were able to select Erik today.”
In the morning, Whitecaps had acquired the fourth overall pick from opening day opponents Toronto FC in exchange for tenth overall pick and allocation money.