Tomorrow the Saint Louis Athletica players become free agents. The players won’t be drafted away, rather they’ll be sold to the highest bidder. I’m not saying this order of events will unfold, merely that this would be how each WPS team’s lingering needs would be met.
In a perfect world the Atlanta Beat would be granted VIP access to the SLA fire sale and FC Gold Pride would be at the very end of the queue.
But after all, this is a world that has seen the Saint Louis Athletica die at the hands of two sketchy brothers who couldn’t even operate a Subway and Papa John’s franchise over in the UK without being embezzled. That is not a joke. This is also a world where in which someone at the AC St. Louis front office thought it would be a grand idea to offer heartbroken SLA fans discounted AC Saint Louis tickets for the rest of the season. Yeah, because funding the very organization that helped take down your club makes everything better. Right.
Anyways, on to the dispersing:
Eniola Aluko – Chicago Red Stars – Many people have suggested that the league’s top goal scorer ought to head to either Atlanta or Boston. But in your author’s likely erroneous mind, Chicago could do the most with Eni’s assets. Atlanta’s problem is distribution. The Beat needs that player in the midfield who can dictate the run of play (any guesses who that could be, hint hint), not a striker. Boston has Lauren Cheney, Kelly Smith and two other forwards who should score. It would just be unfair for them to have another striker for DiCicco to ruin. Chicago, on the other hand, has a very young strike force and a midfield that loves to create and get forward. Their problem is finishing which Aluko can do probably better than anyone. Imagine her getting the final pass from the likes of Cristiane, Rapinoe or Carney. And the stylish, trick-laden Nogueira would find her strike foil in the clinical Aluko.
Shannon Boxx – Atlanta Beat – You cannot build a team around the likes of Angie Kerr, McCall Zerboni, Johanna Rasmussen, Mami Yamaguchi, Sophia Mundy and the unproven Tobin Heath and expect it to do well against the of other WPS teams. Atlanta’s midfield has been invisible this season. Thus, it’s critical for the Beat to pick up perhaps the best midfielder in like, the free world duh. Someone who has the leadership and experience to help solidify the midfield and feed passes into Bachmann’s wonderfully talented feet.
Hope Solo – Atlanta Beat Honestly, the goalkeeping in this league has been pretty outstanding all year long. But Atlanta has the additional problem of having two #2’s and having zero #1’s. Allison Whitworth and Brett Maron are just fine as back-ups but as starters? Despite Solo’s rocky year (she actually leads the league in most goals conceded!), that kind of world-class pedigree will only augment a pretty strong back four that includes Hope’s old pal McNeill and Robinson.
Lori Chalupny – Boston Breakers Boston’s midfield has also been fairly unproductive this season. Since the full back positions are pretty much solidified with Scott and Cox, look to Lori to perhaps man Lilly’s opposite flank and join in the attack with Smith, Cheney, etc. Boston should take advantage of Chalupny’s toughness, versatility and creativity.