Round One Analysis:
1 – BOS – Rose Lavelle – MF – Wisconsin
There was probably a little doubt as some thought Lavelle might get passed over for Morgan Andrews, but Lavelle is the better pick for a team trying to build from virtually rock bottom. Her small offensive stats are pretty deceiving, as she played without a semblance of an offense with the Badgers and should be much more involved offensively for Boston going forward. She’s going to be the centerpiece of the midfield with the trade of Kristie Mewis and should be a solid building block for the present and future for the Breakers. This was the right pick and a much needed one for Boston.
2 – NC – Ashley Hatch – F – BYU
Hatch had a breakout senior season that earned her a call-up to the full USWNT mid-season. She’s a domineering, quick forward that is a bull going forward and packs the type of power and speed that Paul Riley likes in forwards. The big question is fit? Where does Hatch fit in with a lineup that’s likely to boast Jessica McDonald and Lynn Williams, along with Debinha and Rosana? It’ll be interesting to see how she’s integrated into the offense, but this pick could work wonders in the long-term.
3 – BOS – Morgan Andrews – MF – USC
Everyone figured Andrews would end up in Boston, though I figured they might have tried to wait and see if she slipped, but I suspect that they felt that Andrews wouldn’t last until their later picks in the first round. She desperately needed her senior season showing, where she helped lead USC to their second national title. Major question hanging over her is her pace at the next level. A much better pick at #3 than #1 though. How will Boston integrate a pair of rookie midfielders into their starting lineup?
4 – SBFC – Kayla Mills – D – USC
Fills a huge need for athleticism at full-back, where Mills will likely play on the left. She played a defensive midfield role as a senior, but it’s hard envisioning her there as a pro thanks to her blazing pace down the flanks. She’s still a little raw, but her potential is undeniable, as she’s got the upside to eventually be one of the very best players from this draft. SBFC drafted very well last year and are on their way to another nice draft with this first pick.
5 – FCKC – Christina Gibbons – D/MF – Duke
I had Gibbons going #2 and #2 on my big board, so this could be considered a steal value-wise, but the fit is pretty questionable. If you believe Gibbons is a left-back at the next level, the club already has Katie Bowen there. Gibbons might be pushed into midfield, or Bowen might be, but how she fits into this lineup is going to be pretty interesting. She certainly has the intangibles and leadership qualities to fit in here, and I suspect she’ll work out in the end.
6 – SEA – Maddie Bauer – D – Stanford
I’m a little surprised that Bauer comes off the board before Mandy Freeman in terms of center-backs, but coming from a technical program like Stanford certainly makes her fit the archetype that Laura Harvey looks for in defenders. Is this going to spell the end of the road for Kendall Fletcher or Lauren Barnes? It may signal Barnes moving out wide to left-back. How Bauer develops will be interesting given Harvey’s poor record at developing draft talent.
7 – NC – Darian Jenkins – F – UCLA
I’m in absolute shock, considering I had serious misgivings about Jenkins even being drafted after her brutal injury in the middle of last season. Before then, she was having a potential career year, so she has potential, but Jenkins also struggled as a sophomore and junior. More than that, where on earth is Jenkins going to play? Is the club going to convert her to another position, because the forward corps looks absolutely stacked. And this doesn’t really do much to address the lack of defensive depth here. That’s more glaring considering NC took Ashley Hatch at #2.
8 – BOS – Ifeoma Onumonu – F – Cal
Boston definitely needs some pace up front, but is this the spot for Onumonu, especially considering the glut of forwards in this class? Onumonu has massive injury red flags attached to her, but Boston has to hope those are in the past. To her credit, Onumonu stayed pretty healthy last season and was very productive, so this could work out in the end, but I don’t particularly like the value. They could have gotten her in the middle rounds.
9 – BOS – Margaret “Midge” Purce – F – Harvard
Why take forwards back-to-back? This is a club with Dowie, Simon, and Haavi and just took a forward with the pick before this. This club really, REALLY needs defense, and they haven’t addressed that with any of their four picks in the first round. That seems like an enormous oversight considering how bad the team struggled there last year. Purce has moments of brilliance on the field, but her efficiency numbers are horrendous. I think she’s more of a long-term project than some might suspect.
10 – SBFC – Miranda Freeman – D/MF – USC
Considering I thought Freeman could have potentially gone in the top five, this is incredible value. Freeman can play as a defensive midfielder or all along the backline, though I think she’s going to be seen as a potential replacement for Christie Rampone at center-back. Immediately though, I think Freeman could be a great utility player playing a variety of roles for the club. SBFC has had a hell of a round with arguably the best full-back and center-back to bolster their defense.