With a USL Pro side to build and draft picks to burn, the Portland Timbers picked up defender Anthony Manning and midfielder Seth Casiple.
Manning, an imposing 6'4" centerback taken with the No. 52 pick, played four years with Saint Louis University. Playing 73 games for the Billikins, Manning was named the 2013 and 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year for his work in the heart of Saint Louis's defense.
Manning's 2014 was particularly impressive as he stood at the center of a team that posted 12 shutouts in 20 games and made their way to the second round of the NCAA Men's College Cup.
Multiple articles on Manning mention his ability with the ball, something that the Timbers prize as they look to play the ball out of the back. "Soft feet" and "size to compete in MLS" sounds like exactly what the Timbers are looking for in a young player.
Should the Timbers sign the rumored "young defender" to their roster, Manning could wind up with Timbers 2, but his resume would not make him a bad depth signing for the first team.
Casiple, meanwhile, is a highly thought-of defensive midfielder out of Cal that the Timbers grabbed with their forgotten 5th-round pick.
The Timbers and Colorado Rapids each acquired post-4th round picks in trades before the elimination of the 5th and 6th rounds of the Superdraft and were therefore allowed to use those pick at the end of the 4th round this year. With the Timbers picking after Colorado, Casiple has become this year's Mr. Irrelevant as pick No. 84 our of 84 picks.
A co-captain of the Golden Bears in 2013 and 2014, Casiple has contributed from positions all over the midfield and defense for Cal, but seemed to do his best work in the center of the pitch. However, no matter where Casiple lined up he was a regular contributor, getting six assists in 2011 then seven each year from 2012 to 2014.
While it is hard to project where the Timbers see Casiple lining up with the team, with the Timbers' (and even T2's) glut of holding midfielders, the team may look to convert him to another position, possibly moving him back out into a wide position.