UM's Mediate taken by Columbus in MLS draft

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Domenic Mediate, a flashy midfielder from the University of Maryland, gave the Major League Soccer Superdraft held at the Baltimore Convention Center yesterday a bit of local flair.

But Mediate, 22, wasn't present when the Columbus Crew surprised him by making him its second pick and the 23rd selection overall.

"I really didn't know what to do about the draft," said Mediate, whose Maryland teams went to three NCAA final fours. "I thought most of the players who were expecting to go in the first round would go to Baltimore. But after the combine camp in Los Angeles, I just decided to come home to Dallas. I hadn't been contacted by anyone."

He said he hadn't thought once about Columbus.

"I'm just looking at the television screen and all at once there I am," he said. "I'm very excited. ... I've heard good things about Columbus."

Expansion team Real Salt Lake made Nikolas Besagno, 16 and a midfielder for the U.S. under-17 team, the first overall pick. CD Chivas USA, another expansion team, followed with a surprise move, choosing South Carolina goalkeeper Brad Guzan second overall. No keeper had ever been drafted so high.

The defense-first trend continued through the first round, during which eight of the 12 picks were used on defenders or keepers.

Defending league champion D.C. United didn't have a pick until the second round, when it chose Wisconsin midfielder Nick Van Sicklen 19th overall.

Columbus, coached by Greg Andrulis, went away from the defensive trend, taking midfielders.

"Our philosophy is to get the best players available," Andrulis said. "We've liked Domenic for quite a long time. He's been in one of the best programs in the country, coached by one of the best coaches in soccer."

Mediate, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound player who completed his degree in kinesiology in 3 1/2 years, has been described as "exceptionally fast and versatile" by Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski.

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