Philly Voice: Union’s Jack Elliott quietly playing himself into Rookie of the Year conversation

When Montreal and Real Salt Lake passed in the third round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, the Union kept looking for that late-round gem.

They found it with the 77th overall pick, a 6’5″ center back and defensive midfielder from West Virginia University that no one had really heard of.

Jack Elliott was the last of the five Union draft picks to sign a professional contract, but he inked his deal with the senior team and not Bethlehem Steel, where we all thought the 21-year-old London native might start his professional career.

That wasn’t the case, and Elliott quickly found himself higher up the depth chart than anyone had imagined, jumping Ken Tribbett as fourth in line with Oguchi Onyewu already stepping in for the injured Josh Yaro.

If a starter went down, Elliott was the next man up, and that’s exactly what happened on April 1st when Richie Marquez came out at halftime in the 2-1 loss at D.C. United.

Elliott went back to the bench for one game only, then got a chance to start on April 14th and hasn’t relinquished his position since, playing 13 straight games since claiming the RCB job.

The Union now have six wins, four losses, and three draws in Elliott’s 13 starts, conceding 12 goals and scoring 20 for a +8 goal differential. He’s contributed to six clean sheets and hasn’t been carded in nine straight games, forming an unlikely but incredibly successful partnership with a 35-year-old veteran.

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