The Play-Making Factor in St. Louis Athletica Midfield

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The Play-Making Factor in St. Louis Athletica Midfield
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The offseason was good to the St. Louis Athletica. Only hours before the 2010 WPS Draft, the Athletica acquired US International midfielder Lindsay Tarpley in a trade with the Chicago Red Stars. Tarpley adds experience and consistency in the midfield as well as an attacking mentality, something that the Athletica needs to reach the playoffs in 2010.

After a successful draft that brought UCLA forward Kristina Larson and North Carolina goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to the squad, St. Louis looked prepared to improve on their inaugural season where their offense struggled.

In a heartbreaking announcement only three weeks later, WPS announced the disbanding of the 2009 Regular Season Champions, the Los Angeles Sol, whose roster would be dispersed in a mini-draft.

When St. Louis traded their solid defender, Kia McNeill, and steady midfielder, Angie Kerr (former Woznuk), to Atlanta in exchange for the Beat's first overall choice in the dispursal draft, they set the stage for an interesting draft.

The Athletica selected U.S. International defensive midfielder Shannon Boxx with their first-overall pick. Boxx, who served as captain for the Sol in 2009, joins three teammates from the U.S. Women's National Team in Lori Chalupny, Hope Solo and Tarpley. No other team in the WPS has more US national team presence than the Athletica.

In addition to Boxx, the Athletica also picked up Japanese attacking midfielder Aya Miyama, who started all 20 games for the Sol and played every minute.

With two powerful forwards for St. Louis in Eniola Aluko and Madelaine Edlund, the the lethal combination of Boxx and Miyama in the midfield, coupled with the play making talents of Lindsay Tarpley, will be essential in the success of the Athletica in 2010.

Boxx and Miyama are two of the key players involved in the success of Brazilian forward and WPS MVP Marta. Now a member of FC Gold Pride, Marta had the league high mark in scoring, netting 10 goals in the 2009 season. Great goalscoring takes great playmaking. With Boxx and Miyama being on another team, Marta's success might be affected.

How do you think the addition of Boxx and Miyama will affect the St. Louis offense and their hopes for the playoffs? How do you think Marta will fare without her two most reliable teammates behind her in the midfield? Leave your thoughts and discussions below in a comment!

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