Unless we get some major tips on what clubs may be doing in the early rounds, this will probably be the only mock draft we run before Friday.
Because of the bizarre decision to hold the draft at 9 AM EST, we’re probably not going to be covering the draft in real-time this year. I’ll be doing a retro live diary, akin to the ones I had for the College Cup, to be posted later in the day though. Other analysis to surely follow through the days and weeks leading up to training camps.
1. Chicago – Kristen Mewis – M/F – Boston College
The Red Stars hit the veritable draft jackpot with the first pick. They need an attacking midfielder to help balance out the sudden plethora of defensive midfielders on the club with the reported signing of Leslie Osborne. Mewis is this draft’s top player and should be a nice building block for the club going forward and can play as a forward in a pinch.
2. Washington – Christine Nairn – M – Penn State
Like Chicago, the Spirit needs offense both up front and in midfield. It’ll probably be a tough decision, as forwards Caroline Miller and Tiffany McCarty both have local ties, but so does Nairn, and she grades out as a slightly better prospect. She’s a playmaker with excellent scoring ability from range and should help the offense out right away.
3. FC Kansas City – Adrianna “AD” Franch – GK – Oklahoma State
I’m not sure how much sense this makes theoretically, as FCKC already has Nicole Barnhart on the roster and arguably needs to draft a keeper least out of the eight squads coming into this draft. But Franch has regional ties, and we hear they’re enamored with her, so they could end up with the league’s best goalkeeping situation by a mile, even if there are much greater needs on paper.
4. Sky Blue FC – Caroline Miller – F – Virginia
They’d probably prefer taking a playmaker with their first pick, but Erika Tymrak would be a slight reach here, so I’ve got them going after another big need and picking up Miller for the frontline. A potential frontline with Miller, Kelley O’Hara and Monica Ocampo could be a whole lot of fun to watch.
5. Boston – Lindsi Lisonbee Cutshall – D – BYU
If that’s how things shake down above them, Boston faces an excruciating decision between grabbing a playmaker in Tymrak and fortifying the middle of their defense. I think they’ll opt for the latter, figuring that at this stage, throwing another young piece into the offensive mix might be one too many youthful ingredients. Lisonbee Cutshall’s a complete defender and the best center-back available in the draft class by some distance now with Alina Garciamendez having been allocated.
6. Western New York – Mariah Nogueira – M – Stanford
This is a pretty terrible spot to fall into for Western New York. Tymrak would be the best on the board at this point, but a pure playmaker doesn’t seem likely to mesh well with Carli Lloyd in the midfield. The club really doesn’t need a striker early, lessening the chances of taking Tiffany McCarty, while Rachel Quon is a natural right-back, which is already filled by Bry McCarthy. That points to potentially reaching a bit for Mariah Nogueira, who’d be a great counterweight for Lloyd in midfield. If trades are feasible in this draft, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flash traded up to go after a more desirable target or down to try and accrue more picks.
7. Seattle – Tiffany McCarty – F – Florida State
The Reign need forwards, and McCarty’s the best one left on the board by a country mile. She’s not the big target forward Laura Harvey probably desires, but McCarty’s still shown she can lead a line and could be dynamite in concert with an on-form Amy Rodriguez.
8. Portland – Rachel Quon – D – Stanford
The Thorns have plenty of punch already in the attack, so they’d go with the best defender on the board in Rachel Quon. In addition to being a solid defender out wide, Quon can help stretch the attack laterally with her forward forays, which might be necessary with two forwards most comfortably working through the middle in Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan
9. Chicago – Tiffany Cameron – F – Ohio State
I initially had Chicago taking Zakiya Bywaters with this pick, but the likely signing of Leslie Osborne has me switching it up. The possibility of Osborne, Boxx, and Winters in the same lineup has me thinking Rory Dames might opt for four in the midfield, meaning a couple of center-forwards leading the line. In that sense, Tiffany Cameron’s a much better fit for the system, potentially combining up front with Maribel Dominguez.
10. Washington – Zakiya Bywaters – M/F – UCLA
I think the Spirit would probably prefer a true center forward like Cameron above, but Bywaters isn’t exactly a bad consolation prize. The club would have to be a bit more creative in the use of her thanks to her lack of size, but her ability to stretch play wide would be a prized asset at this point. Nairn feeding Bywaters’ passes on the outside could prove a deadly combination if the Spirit can get a big forward in the middle to work with the duo.
11. FC Kansas City – Erika Tymrak – M – Florida
I’m a little wary of Tymrak slipping this far, because teams 3-5 in the order all have a need for a playmaker, though all also have other pressing needs as well. Needless to say, getting Tymrak at this spot would be grand larceny on the part of FCKC, though they’d also be lacking players for her to get the ball to in some part.
12. Sky Blue FC – Colleen Williams – M/F – Dayton
SBFC needs offense and would have filled one need with the addition of Miller with the first pick, but they’re also in need of a playmaker. Tymrak was the last great playmaker on the board though, so the Jersey club might hedge a bit and take Williams, a creative forward off the board. Perhaps playing slightly off of Miller up front, Williams could turn into a fine attacking midfielder/second striker type player. It’s really a case of best player available at this point, as the next few players aren’t really in areas of great need for the club.
13. Boston – Holly King – M – Florida
With no elite playmakers on the board, the Breakers would instead look to further strengthen the spine of the team. King’s one of the top options at defensive midfielder who could also probably play center-back in a pinch and has great upside.
14. Western New York – Kathryn Williamson – D – Florida
There’s not a goalkeeper on the board who’d be worth it at this point, so the Flash could opt to continue building the backline by picking Williamson to fill a hole at center-back. The Flash would almost certainly have to pair her up with a big veteran, but Williamson’s got a little bit of Christie Rampone in her and could turn into a fan favorite with her fearless defending.
15. Seattle – Amy Barczuk – D/M – Colorado
Having missed out on Lisonbee Cutshall, the Reign would try and fill a need at center-back with Colorado’s Amy Barczuk. A powerful figure who’s also comfortable on the ball, Barczuk could also be used as a deep midfielder if necessary for the Reign.
16. Portland – Ally Miller – M/D – Marquette
Having filled a hole at full-back with their first pick, the Thorns would try to balance out the midfield a bit by countering Tobin Heath’s flair with Ally Miller’s graft and grit as a defensive midfielder. Miller could also fill in as a center-back if necessary for the club.
17. Chicago – Carson Michalowski – D – Oklahoma State
Having already filled some holes on the attacking front, the Red Stars could turn towards building depth defensively. It’d probably be a close call, but I’d give the nod to steady OSU center-back Carson Michalowski over Jackie Logue or Casey Short at left-back.
18. Washington – Alexa Gaul – GK – Boston College
The Spirit probably aren’t spending their first three picks on offense, so it might be time to try and fill that gap in between the pipes for when Ashlyn Harris is away. Gaul could probably hold the fort down until Harris returns while also giving the club a strong backup once Harris is back.
19. FC Kansas City – Kaitlin Bast – F – Denver
FCKC would probably be starving for a forward at this point having taken Franch and Tymrak, and Bast would be the best option still available for the midwestern club.
20. Sky Blue FC – Casey Short – D/M – Florida State
Yeah, I know it’s a third left-back for the club, but it’d free Kelley O’Hara to play further up the pitch. I don’t have a lot of faith in Melanie Booth at left-back, and I think Short would have a great chance of winning the starting job right away.
21. Boston – Kylie Louw – M – Stephen F. Austin
Playmakers are in short order later in the draft, but with a very solid core, I think Boston can afford to be a little risky in their pursuit of a #10. Who knows if the Breakers would use an international spot for Louw, but she’s a talented attacking midfielder with international experience. If she can handle this level physically, she could be a real sleeper. Bri Rodriguez would also be a possibility here.
22. Western New York – Jackie Logue – D/M – Wake Forest
Yeah, this would potentially give the club three rookies on the backline, but Logue would be great value at this point. They aren’t going to find an immediate full-time starter in goal this late in the order, and none of the attacking options grade out as well as Logue, who’d be a strong option on the left for the Flash.
23. Seattle – Mallory Schaffer – M/F – William & Mary
Schaffer’s a bit of a tweener in midfield and attack, but versatility’s going to be big in this league. She’s the best player available at this stretch and could probably play a little defense if needed too.
24. Portland – Cynthia Jacobo – GK – Cal State Northridge
The Thorns need young blood to challenge Karina LeBlanc, and Jacobo is a rising star after some impressive seasons to close out her collegiate career.
25. Chicago – Haley Kopmeyer – GK – Michigan
Likewise, Chicago needs someone to put pressure on the inconsistent Erin McLeod in goal, and Kopmeyer had a phenomenal season in 2012 for Michigan in goal.
26. Washington – Betsy Hassett – M – Cal
With the best options at full-back gone, the club might look towards adding some more steel in the midfield with Hassett. She’d eat up an international slot, but the New Zealand international provides a potentially important destroyer in the middle of the park to combine with the more nuanced games of Lori Lindsey, Diana Matheson, and potentially Christine Nairn.
27. FC Kansas City – Bri Rodriguez – M – West Virginia
They need a full-back at this stretch, but there aren’t really any great ones worth taking with this pick, so they’d try and fortify the midfield a little more. They’d have already drafted Tymrak, but Rodriguez can provide a little more grit in the center of the park and could be a great energy option off the bench.
28. Sky Blue FC – Natalie Norris – D – Utah State
Hey! It’s a defender who isn’t a left-back! The club’s in need of some more central defenders, and Norris would have a great mentor in Christie Rampone. A goalkeeper like Tara Campbell or Erin McNulty could also be a possibility here.
29. Boston – Erica Hollenberg – M/F – Virginia
At this point, the Breakers would likely be running out of holes that could be filled easily with draftees. I’d bet on them just taking the best player available at this point, and Hollenberg’s another creative attacker who could help spring some of the young attacking pieces Boston’s accrued.
30. Western New York – Nadia Link – F – Long Beach State
One of the West Coast’s deadliest strikers the past few years is comfortable working on the flanks and could be another source of service for Abby Wambach in the middle of the Flash attack.
31. Seattle – Alex Balcer – D – Long Beach State
Continuing the theme of forwards and defenders for the Reign, they’d stay on the West Coast to grab the rocket-legged Balcer. They’d have already taken Amy Barczuk, but she might be moved into a defensive midfield role, meaning there’d be room for another center-back.
32. Portland – Morgan Johnson – D – Texas Tech
Johnson’s a big, athletic center-back who’d give the club more defensive mettle after their offense heavy allocation from the league.
Top Ten Still On The Board:
-Tara Campbell – GK – Duke
-Domenica Hodak – M – Maryland
-Tishia Jewell – F – UCF
-Erin McNulty – GK – Penn State
-Roxanne Barker – GK – Pepperdine
-Megan Jurado – F – San Diego State
-Bailey Brandon – D – Central Michigan
-Tina Romagnuolo – M – Miami (FL)
-Shannon Woeller – D – Rutgers
-Jen Hoy – F – Princeton