Round Four Analysis
31 – BOS – Sammy Jo Prudhomme – GK – USC
Stock went up in a big way after senior season helping lead USC to a national title. Question the fit a bit considering Breakers need defenders and have taken zero, but they also needed an upgrade in goal for a backup at the very least. They may be hedging against Abby Smith’s injury recovery suffering complications. Probably not going to be more than a backup at this level, but still probably better than what they’ve had.
32 – ORL – Nickolette Driesse – MF – Penn State
Driesse should’ve really gone a round or two earlier and is a great value at this spot. Played deeper role with Florida State before transferring in and playing a more attacking role with PSU. With Becky Edwards gone, is she playing a deeper role in pros? Orlando were really going big for a central midfielder and got the best one still on the board probably a few rounds after she should have gone. Great pick.
33 – HOU – Erin Smith – D – Rutgers
Another from the conveyor belt of defenders from Rutgers and a great value. Can play centrally or wide but might grade out as a right-back at the next level. Extremely attacking player roaming the flanks and should have a great mentor in Poliana. Versatility a huge asset this late and fills need. Excellent late pick.
34 – SBFC – McKenzie Meehan – F – Boston College
A few years ago, nobody would’ve believed you if you thought Meehan would fall this far, and she’ll probably have a massive chip on her shoulder being taken this low. Does she play centrally or wide at next level? Some might worry if she’s plateaued already given downturn in form past year or so, but pressure likely won’t be on early being picked this low.
35 – FCKC – Rashida Beal – D – Minnesota
One of this draft’s best athletes and is lightning quick though she’s undersized. That might lead to being switched to FB after playing CB at Minnesota. Technical skill still lacking for this level and might be a long-term project but has potential early as a super sub. Great place to learn her craft and could be a pick that pays big dividends later.
36 – WSH – Cameron Castleberry – MF – North Carolina
Castleberry was a (very) late addition to the eligible player list, and few probably pegged her as the Tar Heel to get drafted. A winger in UNC’s 3-4-3, Castleberry was solid but seldom spectacular in four years with the club. Midfield’s crowded already, so perhaps a move back to full-back? Seems more likely to cut teeth early on the reserves.
37 – SEA – Kristen McNabb – D – Virginia
Has injury worries on knees but still fits the system here RE: technical center-backs. I don’t think she’s going to be a superstar at the next level, but she’s been solid enough for Virginia for a while. Reign needed some defensive depth, and McNabb should provide that at the very least.
38 – BOS – Hayley Dowd – F – Boston College
Understand the rationale in staying local, but Dowd probably could’ve been had as an UDFA. Efficiency numbers were awful, and her scoring was pretty inconsistent. Has declined over past two seasons which raises major questions about hitting her ceiling. Crowded field up front here, so she’s probably bound for the reserves.
39 – CHI – Lauren Kaskie – MF – UCLA
A grinder who had a high profile early on in her career but kind of faded into the background a little bit later in her career. Versatile and should be able to fill necessary gaps if called upon, though roster depth might make her a reserve early. Still, it’d hardly be a shock to see her fight her way onto the roster later on.
40 – POR – Caroline Flynn – MF – Nebraska
Midfielder has been good rather than great with Nebraska in her college career, but she’s been thought of highly enough to get U.S. U23 team call-ups. Not sure she’ll be dynamic enough at the next level, but probably worth a shot this late. Will have good midfield mentors in Portland, so this pick makes sense.