10 – Sky Blue FC – Kristin Grubka – D (CB), MF (DMC) – Florida State
This is hardly a shock, as Grubka was known to be pretty high on the club’s draft board, to the point that they probably would’ve taken her had they had another first round pick. It’s hard to argue against this pick from a value standpoint, as Grubka had a mid-first round grade on my board, but was another big center-back really needed by SBFC? They already have CoCo Goodson and Lindsi Cutshall on the books, though Grubka may have more upside than both. There’s no question that Grubka was an elite defender in college who really shone during FSU’s national title run this season both on defense and as a weapon in the air on set pieces. There’s also the possibility she moves to defensive midfielder, where she played early in her FSU career, but you wonder if she’s mobile enough to fill that role.
11 – Chicago (from Boston) – Sofia Huerta – F (CF/WG) – Santa Clara
Considering many had Chicago picking Huerta up with the fifth pick, getting her down at #11 while gaining an extra pick has to be seen as a coup for the Red Stars. Chicago needed some attacking depth, seeing as how they were going to end up missing a lot of their frontline players for the WWC in all probability. This is probably still a bit of a stretch for Huerta, but in a year where the forward options aren’t that great, need perhaps trumps value. Huerta was prolific for Santa Clara this past year but fired blanks against top sides while thrashing weaker teams, so she has to show she can be productive against top level defenses at this level. But at the very least, she’ll be able to stretch opposing defenses with her athleticism and should, at worst, be a super sub early into her rookie season.
12 – FC Kansas City – Shea Groom – MF (AMC), F (RF) – Texas A&M
In terms of need, this is pretty much the last thing FCKC needed, as the defending league champs have more attacking midfield/forward type players than they know what to do with. But honestly, if Groom was here, there wasn’t a chance in hell that FCKC was going to pass her up given her club and regional ties. Groom really grew into the leading and driving force for Texas A&M this past season and was very efficient as an attacker despite playing as an attacking midfielder. The big question though is one of fit. Groom is going to face stiff competition for minutes in KC, even when the USWNT players are away. You sense she’s got too much talent to keep off the pitch for too long though.
13 – Washington (from Portland from Houston) – Megan Oyster – D (CB) – UCLA
The first truly “bad” pick of the day goes to the Spirit, who trade away their leading scorer from last season (albeit, one who may not have been playing for them this season), for a center-back I had a free agent grade on. From a value standpoint, there were much better options available at this slot at center-back like Meghan Streight or Whitney Church, while you could argue the club needed a left-back like Caprice Dydasco with Crystal Dunn likely to be gone for the WWC. It’s hard to get the image of Oyster being torched at midfield for a long run and goal by Arizona State’s Cali Farquharson this past season from being seared into my mind. The Spirit have earned a rep for some poor drafting in the past, and this probably isn’t going to help that out.
14 – Boston – Jamia Fields – MF/F (AMR) – Florida State
Huh? There are definitely questions in terms of value here, as I thought Fields wasn’t the most consistent performer outside of her heroics in the postseason (that’s not necessarily a bad thing). But more to the point, why exactly is Boston stacking the deck with more attackers when there are defenders like Caprice Dydasco still on the board? Fields is an athletic, relentless competitor on the wing, but far too often in college, she couldn’t deliver the finishing blow. She also has a ridiculous amount of competition for minutes now in Boston, so one wonders if she will struggle to not get lost in the mix.
15 – Seattle – Havana Solaun – MF (AMC, AMR, AML) – Florida
To be honest, Seattle doesn’t need a whole lot with a good many of their players not going to the WWC. I probably would’ve sprung for a wide forward with this pick, but Solaun’s a mid-round value who I thought might fall a bit given the wide assortment of playmakers in this draft. Seattle did need a little bit of central midfield depth, and Solaun should be a nice understudy for Kim Little this season. Undaunted by an ACL tear late in her junior season, Solaun rebounded well as a senior to lead Florida to the brink of the College Cup. She’s not in fellow former Florida #10 Erika Tymrak’s class, but Solaun is still a multi-faceted danger with the ball at her feet. She played wide for Florida at times, but I think being a #10 is her pro destiny.
16 – FC Kansas City – Meghan Streight – MF (DMC), D (CB) – Texas A&M
The defending champions take their second Aggie, bringing in Meghan Streight to add depth to the defense. Streight excelled at both defensive midfielder early in her career and at center-back later with the SEC powerhouse. Streight is surprisingly effective in the air despite standing at just 5’5″, playing a lot bigger than her height. I think she may have more of a future in the midfield, though that role is probably taken up by Jen Buczkowski and Jenna Richmond for now. There’s probably more of an immediate need at center-back though, and Streight might get an audition there when Becky Sauerbrun departs for the WWC.
17 – FC Kansas City – Katelyn Rowland – GK – UCLA
I’m not nearly as high on Rowland as a lot of other pundits, but I do think Rowland will be able to stick as a backup at the very least. A lot of questions were raised by a disappointing display in the U20 WWC, though that didn’t exactly separate her from many of her peers at that tournament for the U.S. Rowland has a lot of size and a big presence in goal but isn’t as athletic as some of her goalkeeping compatriots in this class, and it shows when she’s sluggish off her line to clear danger away. She’ll probably displace Sara Keane as the club’s #2 right away and should have copious opportunity to make an impression at this level if Nicole Barnhart goes to the WWC.
18 – WNY Flash – Tatiana Coleman – F (RF) – UCF
Oh, NWSL defenses, I pity you facing a frontline with Lynn Williams and now Tatiana Coleman. Coleman has a great physical build for a center forward but has the change of pace to torment full-backs and get to the endline and cut back or cut inside towards goal. There aren’t too many red flags in terms of her efficiency and record against top teams, and Coleman could turn into a real gem despite not coming from the biggest program. The Flash needed some new offensive weapons in this draft and they’ve done well to get Williams and Coleman.