- The Washington Times - Friday, January 16, 2009

D.C. United used its first selection at Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft to bolster its back line with a star from Maryland’s 2008 championship team.

With the sixth pick at the St. Louis event, United took defender Rodney Wallace, a speedy player who helped the Terps win the NCAA title. Wallace, a Costa Rica native who holds a green card, scored 10 goals in 46 games at College Park.

“Being a hometown guy, I’ve followed D.C. United since I was a young boy,” Wallace said.

The 20-year-old Rockville resident was a four-year starter at Bullis School.

“I think I bring versatility, competitiveness, creativity and strong-mindedness to my game,” said Wallace, who is also comfortable as a midfielder.

The sophomore is listed as a Generation Adidas player - already signed by the league as a future prospect - and does not count against United’s salary cap.

“We’ve scouted Rodney over the years, and we believe his upside is great,” coach Tom Soehn said. “He has pace [and] quality on the ball, but most of all he is consistent.”

With its second pick (seventh overall), United claimed 21-year-old UC Santa Barbara forward Chris Pontius. The 6-foot senior scored 29 goals in 86 games with the Gauchos.

“With Pontius, we thought he was the best forward at the draft and can contribute to our team straight away,” Soehn said.

United picked 6-4 Loyola goalie Milos Kocic with the 21st pick. The 23-year-old Serbia native played 46 games for the Greyhounds. Five picks later, United took 6-1 Wake Forest defender Lyle Adams. The 22-year-old senior played 95 games and scored 11 goals for the Demon Deacons.

With its final selection, United chose 22-year-old Saint Louis midfielder Brandon Barklage at No. 36 overall.

The expansion Seattle Sounders drafted Akron striker Steve Zakuani, a former youth player at English giants Arsenal, with the first pick. Maryland star defender Omar Gonzalez (third pick) went to the Los Angeles Galaxy. The other Terps chosen early: Jeremy Hall, a midfielder, went to the New York Red Bulls at No. 11; defender A.J. Delagarza was taken by the Galaxy at No. 19; and midfielder Graham Zusi went to the Kansas City Wizards at No. 23.