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MLS SuperDraft Day 2: Mertz goes to Rapids; Perez to LAFC

From University of Pittsburgh, University of Michigan and Major League Soccer reports

Two players on our radar here in Pittsburgh both were selected by Major League Soccer teams on Monday.

Upper St. Clair’s Robbie Mertz, who excelled at the University of Michigan was selected by Colorado Rapids and Pitt’s Javi Perez went to LAFC.

Mertz went 76th overall in the 4th round. Ironically, his college teammate Marcello Borges was also drafted by Colorado in the 2nd round.

Mertz was a United Soccer Coaches All-North Region (second team) and All-Big Ten (first team) selection in 2018. He played in 76 matches (55 starts) over his four-year career, scoring nine goals and tallying 12 assists. A two-year team captain, Mertz started all 21 matches in 2018, accumulating two goals and four assists. He was voted one of the 10 finalists for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the top student-athlete with high marks in character, community, classroom and competition.

Perez is the second student-athlete to be drafted to the MLS from the University of Pittsburgh under third-year head coach Jay Vidovich and is the 37th professional player Vidovich has developed during his college coaching career. Last year, Pol Planellas was also drafted by LAFC.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity being presented to Javi,” Vidovich said. “He knows, especially after the experience with Pol last year, that this an opportunity to try out for a fantastic organization. I believe that his abilities and talents mesh well with the way that LAFC plays futbol. I just want to wish him all the best as he continues his path in the game and thank him for everything that he’s given us at Pitt.”

Perez was the Panthers’ captain in his final season and earned Second Team All-ACC honors for the second consecutive year, while also receiving United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Third Team honors. The Valencia, Spain, native played a major role as the team leader and was an integral component to the Panther midfield. Perez ranked second on the team in points (11), goals (four) and assists (three) in 2018.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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