With the Los Angeles Sol discontinuing operations in Women's Professional Soccer and the players being divvied up among the remaining eight franchises in a distribution draft tomorrow, experts and fans alike have been speculating the order of picks.
One major question floating around the soccer world is: where will Marta go?
The Brazilian international was the top goal-scorer in the WPS in 2009 and lead the Sol to the league championship. Her technical play and nose for the goal makes her a dangerous forward, and her consistency in scoring will be a huge asset to her new team.
No one quite knows what the team General Managers will do tomorrow, and with speculations and rumors being tossed around, it's anyone's game. Some of the best players in the world are available, but it is unclear who will go first, let alone who will be selected one, two, and three.
With assistance of fellow Bleacher Report writer Lauren Green, I used my own knowledge of the game and the league, and created a list of who might be the first ten draft picks.
1. St. Louis Athletica: With a huge trade coming on Monday, the Athletica exchanged key defender Kia McNeill, steady midfielder Angie Kerr (formerly Woznuk), and draft pick Amanda Poach for the Atlanta Beat's first overall pick in the dispersal draft. A trade of this magnitude could only suggest one thing: Marta. With the Athletica looking to improve their goal scoring, the Brazilian would be a clear asset. However, recent rumors have indicated that St. Louis are looking to add midfielder Shannon Boxx to their roster. Boxx has international experience, regional roots (Notre Dame alumna) and a less expensive salary. She also has a nose for the goal and a powerful presence in the midfield (think Michelle Akers). St. Louis pick: Shannon Boxx
2. Philadelphia Independence: It is known that Philadelphia is not interested in taking Marta for financial reasons, even if the Athletica passes her up. The new franchise is looking to add a consistent defensive presence, so could very well take defender Brittany Bock. But with two relatively unknown goalkeepers on their roster, and a world-class goalkeeper available from the Sol, Philadelphia might not be able to overlook Karina LeBlanc. They would add consistency, strength and experience in goal with LeBlanc, who has dual citizenship in the US and Canada so the Independence would not be breaking the International player cap rule. Philadelphia pick: Karina LeBlanc
3. FC Gold Pride: If the rumors are true, the Bay Area franchise will select Marta if she is available by the third round pick. They are one of the few teams in the WPS who can afford the Brazilian, and to have playoff hopes in 2010, they desperately need the scoring presence. With Marta, FC Gold Pride would have a triple-edged sword up top with Canadian Christine Sinclair, Stanford forward and MAC Hermann Trophy winner Kelley O'Hara, and Marta. FC Gold Pride would be a team to be reckoned with in 2010. FC Gold Pride Pick: Marta
4. Chicago Red Stars: With no hints coming from Chicago in regards to the dispersal draft, it looks like it could be anyone from the Sol joining the Red Stars. Casey Nogueria will be hard to pass up. Her ball skills and her goal scoring tendencies make her a strong prospect anywhere. Also available is defender Brittany Bock, one of the strongest defenders in the league. She could play either center or wing, making her flexible to work in to the roster. Chicago pick: Brittany Bock
5. Boston Breakers: In answer to what they are looking to gain from the dispersal draft, Head Coach Tony DiCicco stated they were simply going to look for the best player available at the time they pick. This being the case, defender Stephanie Cox is one of the strongest choices remaining on the LA Sol roster. She would take the spot vacated by Heather Mitts at left back, and provide a steady presence on the defensive line while bringing in international experience. Boston pick: Stephanie Cox
6. Sky Blue FC: With a full roster, and a rather strong one at that, Sky Blue has the liberty to choose a player who doesn't have to make an impact immediately. That being said, forward Nikki Washington, who is coming back from an ACL injury, will have the ability to fully rehab her knee and also to have an impact when she returns. With Sky Blue defenders Christie Rampone and Anita Asante out on maternity leave and knee injury respectively, the New Jersey franchise could select Johanna Frisk to fill the hole in the defense until the return of their regulars. Sky Blue pick: Nikki Washington
7. Washington Freedom: With an international spot open on their roster, the Freedom will look to Aya Miyama to join their midfield, should Miayama still be available after six picks. Her attacking style of play will fill a scoring hole when Abby Wambach is out on national team duty and will assist Wambach and Lisa De Vanna in other games. Washington pick: Aya Miyama
8. St. Louis Athletica: With the trade of steady defender McNeill, the Athletica could look to a defender to fill the spot left available. However, the most reliable defenders on the LA Sol roster will most likely be taken early. Looking at the other positions, Tina DiMartino could be used to replace Kerr in the midfield, but should St. Louis select Shannon Boxx first, that vacancy would close early. Their scoring quest will cause St. Louis to consider another scoring threat. The best available would be Portland's Michelle Enyeart or Washington State's Kiersten Dallstream. Dallstream is fit and played well in Washington. Enyeart is rehabilitating a knee injury suffered in November, but has national team experience and finished her collegiate career as one of Portland's best attackers. St. Louis Pick: Michelle Enyeart
9. Atlanta Beat: The trade with St. Louis dropped Atlanta to have their first draft pick occurring in the second round, taking away several talented players that could be added to Atlanta's roster. The addition of Kerr and Poach to the roster could have Atlanta looking for another forward. With the best available being Tina DiMartino and Kiersten Dallstream, Atlanta will look up top first. Atlanta pick: Kiersten Dallstream
10. Washington Freedom: DiMartino would be the best available choice to the Freedom at this point in the draft. Manya Makoski is another remaining Sol veteran who could be chosen. With a strong defensive line already, the Freedom will look for a steady midfielder to assist their goal scorers. Washington pick: Tina DiMartino
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