A new year means new challenges for Portland Thorns FC, especially heading into a World Cup year. Having multiple internationals on your team can be beneficial at times but it also comes with a cost. At times during the season, the Thorns will be missing a decent amount of players, so with this upcoming draft, they will need to look to add even more depth to their roster.
A Look Back at the 2018 Draft
Portland had two picks in the first round where they drafted midfielders Sandra Yu (Notre Dame) and Gabby Seiler (University of Florida). Then trading up with the Chicago Red Stars, they drafted goalkeeper, Bella Geist (Oregon State) with the 29th overall pick. Yu was signed as a National Team Replacement Player towards the end of March for midfielder Andressinha. She was also apart of the preseason roster and played in their preseason matches. Seiler was not called up for the Thorns during the 2018 season. Geist, along with Yu, was also on the preseason roster. She was also added as a goalkeeper replacement in April for an injured Adrianna Franch. All three draftees have yet to make a regular season appearance for the Thorns.
The Shoulds and Should Nots of the Draft
One of the biggest emphasis's during the 2018 season was that the Thorns needed a goalscorer. Multiple times during the season, the Thorns were believed to win a game but lost points because they were unable to finish their chances. Now with top goal scorers like Lindsay Horan and Christine Sinclair more than likely missing multiple weeks due to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the Thorns are going to need a big goalscorer.
Throughout this draft, the Thorns should be looking for versatile players as they have for the last couple of years. If they wanted to, they could really draft anyone for any position. With only having two picks, they should make sure to use their picks wisely. The position that isn't in huge demand are their goalkeepers. Even though Franch could be missing for the World Cup, the Thorns will still have Britt Eckerstrom, Bella Geist and Adelaide Gay who they signed as a Goalkeeper Replacement last season.
Draft Day Predictions
The Thorns will have to wait until the eighth pick in the second round for their first pick. Then, will wait again until the eighth pick of the fourth round for the last. So, the chances of them getting a top prospect player like Julia Ashley is unlikely unless they decide to trade up. Portland will have to make some creative choices on who they draft with having picks so late in the game.
Cece Kizer - University of Mississippi
Cece Kizer is a top prospect heading into the 2019 NWSL College Draft. So, if she is still around when the Thorns get their first pick she will be a huge addition to the team. Kizer is a foward/midfielder from the University of Mississippi. She finished her collegiate career with a university record of 48 goals. Along with her impressive goal count, she also had 23 assists during her time at Ole Miss. Kizer would be an impressive addition to Portland's attack if she were to be drafted.
Alana Cook - Stanford University
Cook is another highly targeted defender out of Stanford. Cook has yet to declare for the draft but if she does, she could be a great snag for the Thorns if she is still available so late in the game. Cook was apart of the impressive back-line that led Stanford to the College Cup Semifinals in 2018. During her four years at Stanford, Cook started all 93 games. She finished her career with five goals and seven assists. Cook could add tremendous experience and talent to an already solid Portland back-line.
Paige Monaghan - Butler University
Paige Monaghan is versatile player that can play almost anywhere on the field. Monaghan played predominantly at forward during her time at Butler University. During her four years as a Bulldog, Monaghan scored 22 goals and tallied 18 assists. If drafted, she could add a goal-scoring fire to the Portland offense as well as the ability to create many chances for herself and her teammates.
Lianne Keegans - University of Connecticut
Keegans is an experienced defender from the University of Connecticut. She finished her time at UCONN starting all 83 career games. Although she didn't score any goals, she tallied three assists and helped lead her team to two shutouts her senior season. Keegans could be a valuable player on the Thorns roster. Although Portland doesn't change their back-line very often, there are going to be times when you have to, Keegans could be a viable replacement for a starting defender.
Marie Levasseur - University of Memphis
The forward from Memphis could be a strong goal-scorer for the Thorns offensive line. During her four years at University of Memphis, Levasseur scored 24 goals and had 25 assists. She also started 73 of her 74 games played. In her senior season, the forward scored four game winning goals. With this goal scoring mentality, Levasseur has the chance to be an impressive player for the Thorns, if drafted.
The 2019 NWSL College Draft will take place on January 10th, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois at 12pm ET. The draft will be live-streamed on nwslsoccer.com. Make sure to tune in to see who the Portland Thorns draft for the 2019 National Women's Soccer League season.