28 – Sky Blue FC – Chioma Ubogagu – F (LF) – Stanford
In terms of sheer value, this might be one of the day’s best picks. Ubogagu was potentially pegged as a a #1 pick after her freshman season and was a highly hyped prospect who fell down the ladder as her career progressed, having a lot of difficulty scoring goals despite taking a very high volume of shots. But Ubogagu’s dribbling skill with the ball is sublime, and she comes from a program that knows how to keep it on the floor and pass and move. As long as she’s not the one being counted upon to do all the finishing, Ubogagu could well turn into a last round steal.
29 – Boston – Stephanie Verdoia – F/MF – Seattle
This would probably be a great pick if it was anyone else but Boston, who’ve already taken three attackers in this draft! Verdoia was a dominant player at a small school, running all over opponents as a part of a Seattle side that decimated overmatched WAC foes. She’s more of a direct scoring threat than either Fields or Brinson, but what are her odds of making this roster given all the numbers at the forward position? And no, Boston still hasn’t solved their problems at defensive midfielder or defense.
30 – Washington – Whitney Church – D (CB) – Penn State
Another great pick for value. Church is a two-time Big Ten Defender of the Year who probably would’ve gone a few rounds higher if she had been a couple inches taller. I actually like this pick more than that of the Oyster pick earlier by leaps and bounds. As far as need though, you wonder about the Spirit not using any of their three picks on attacking players. At this point, there are massive questions about scoring, and it wouldn’t have been the worst thing to take a flier on a forward.
31 – Houston – Carleigh Williams – D (CB) – UCF
Nice pick to close out the draft for Houston. It was pretty clear that the Dash needed some center-back depth going into the draft, and they grabbed the best central defender left on the board in Williams. It took a bit for Williams to truly blossom with UCF, but she was one of the nation’s top center-backs this season as a senior and should compete immediately for major minutes in the Dash’s backline.
32 – Chicago – Rachel Tejada – F – Illinois State
Value over need probably. Tejada’s another Midwestern product who tore it up against lesser competition for four seasons with Illinois State and dragged the Redbirds on her back to a pair of second round NCAA Tournament appearances the last two years. Step up in competition may be a bit tough, but she’s definitely worth a flyer late in this draft.
33 – Boston – Bianca Calderone – D (CB) – Northeastern
Leave it to Boston to take a local center-back but not the one that’s the best on the board. Calderone didn’t do much her first two years at Northeastern before rounding into a CAA Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. Why so low on draft boards? She’s 5’4″, and 5’4″ center-backs usually aren’t long for the professional world. With a local like Gabrielle Charno still on the board at the position, this is another baffling pick in a draft full of them.
34 – Sky Blue FC – Lo’eau LaBonta – MF (AMC) – Stanford
Good pick for value, though I’m not sure where LaBonta’s going to fit in on a squad full of midfielders now that SBFC has taken two other midfielders before her. To be fair, LaBonta is not the same type of player as that pair, more of a direct scorer from the #10 role. She isn’t that efficient with her shooting though, and her penchant for big goals may have to carry over for her to make it at this level.
35 – FC Kansas City – Kaysie Clark – MF (CM, AMC) – Missouri
OK, I get that it was a local, and Clark’s a fine player…but why exactly does FCKC need another attacking midfielder given that they already took two in this draft? Shouldn’t they have taken another full-back or center-forward? Clark had a great senior season with twelve assists on a team without a big name scoring threat but faces a steep climb towards making this roster.
36 – Seattle – Kendall Romine – D (CB) – Stanford
A pretty big stretch with the final pick of the draft. Romine may be from Stanford, but she’s about as unsteady with the ball at her feet as any Card defender I’ve seen in a while. The former Stanford defender is also extremely injury prone, which isn’t exactly a great sign going into a grueling league season.