With the Racing Louisville FC expansion draft happening this Thursday, I attempted to come up with a mock draft and give my insight on why Louisville should pick some players up.
The expansion draft will be held live on Thursday at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on Twitch.
Louisville will be able to select a maximum of 16 players, two from each team except for the Chicago Red Stars. The Red Stars traded Savannah McCaskill and Yuki Nagasato to Louisville in exchange for full roster protection so Chicago gets to sit back and watch the draft unfold.
Being able to only protect 11 players makes it difficult for all teams to determine which players to be left unprotected. I think that if teams were able to protect 12 players going into this then Bri Visalli would be protected right now for the Dash.
Visalli came back to the NWSL after spending time in England with West Ham United and Birmingham City. She started seven out of nine games between the NWSL Challenge Cup and NWSL Fall Series for the Dash. She is someone who will be that gritty presence that is consistently good in the midfield.
Prisock stepped into the Dash center back spot pretty seamlessly when Megan Oyster went down in the NWSL Challenge Cup. She’s got experience starting in the league as well, starting 15 games for Houston in 2019. At only 23 years old, Prisock can be a rock in the defense for a long time in the future.
North Carolina Courage
Both of these players were solid in the limited amount of games that we had in 2020 but they were impressive so I don’t see how they can be passed up on. They are both players that Paul Riley was excited about and we all know how good Paul is at scouting players.
Milliet didn’t see very many minutes during the 2019 season just because of the depth that the Courage has but she was able to train with midfielders like Sam Mewis, Denise O’Sullivan, and Debinha daily which no doubt made her a better player. From what I have seen in her playing she has an incredible vision at a young age. She’s got the ability to work on both sides of the ball and she can deliver great service in the attack. She’ll be another hardworking, extremely talented midfielder.
Merrick is a talented right back that can also get into the attack if that’s the style that Holly chooses to play and asks of her. She filled in for Merrit Mathias and was a bright spot, she was probably the best rookie during this short season.
Other potential picks: Kaleigh Kurtz and Ally Watt
There were a lot of goalkeepers left unprotected surprisingly throughout the league but Portland left all three of theirs unprotected. The Thorns have the best set of goalkeepers in my opinion and all three of them would be good choices for Louisville in the net. I had a tough time deciding between Eckerstrom and Bella Bixby but the fact that Bixby is recovering from an ACL tear played a factor.
Eckerstrom played extremely well for Portland in the NWSL Challenge Cup and the NWSL Fall Series. She played an enormous part in the Thorns knocking off the Courage in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup, making eleven saves in that game. She also came into the league in 2016 so she can provide that leadership in the backline as well.
Seiler is an extremely versatile player, with great vision and calmness on the ball. She’s someone that can fill in wherever needed and add a lot of depth for Louisville.
Other potential picks: Celeste Boureille and Angela Salem
Sky Blue FC
Estelle Johnson being left unprotected is a steal for Louisville. She is a calm, experienced leader in the backline. Since joining the league in 2016, she has played 5,865 minutes in the league, not including the Challenge Cup or Fall Series. She also has international experience, playing with Cameroon in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Cudjoe was a star in the Challenge Cup and will just get even better. She’s from Ghana and will require Louisville to use an international slot but they picked up an extra in the trade with Chicago so I think if they don’t choose Cudjoe they would be missing out on a player with extreme potential.
Other potential picks: Gina Lewandoski and Erica Skroski
Zadorsky is the only real risk I took when creating this mock draft. She is currently in England with Tottenham Hotspurs, so there is a possibility that she won’t report. The Canadian international though is a consistent defender with loads of experience both for club and country. There is also the added fact that she is a Canadian allocated player so she wouldn’t cost the club anything. She is too talented of a player to pass up on even if it is a risk.
When I look at the list of unprotected players for Orlando, Pickett is the one that stands out to me. She is a great defender that can help to strengthen the backline.
I also thought about Toni Pressley but I don’t think she would be willing to make the move from Orlando.
Taylor Smith is a player that has had some really good moments and has been world-class but the last time she was at her best playing-wise was about three years ago. She’s struggled with some injury issues since 2017, but if she can stay healthy and get back to her best form she’ll be great for Louisville.
Julia Ashley is a small risk but I think she’s worth it. The UNC alum had a lot of hype coming out of college, but we haven’t seen her play in the NWSL yet. She was drafted by Sky Blue FC but opted to go overseas in Sweden. Injuries plagued her time in Sweden as well but she was able to play with Adelaide United in the W-League last November. She found herself traded to OL Reign but has been sidelined with an injury again this season. She started and played all seven of Adelaide’s matches last season.
Other potential picks: Michelle Betos and Morgan Andrews
Ratcliffe is one of those players that can score goals and be a workhorse in the attack. She has been in the league for a few years but has yet to have a big breakout season. She missed the 2019 season with an ACL injury but started every match for the Royals this year.
Weber is an intriguing pick because of her versatility and speed. She’s used to playing up top as an attacker but also as an outside back with Utah. She would be a good addition to add depth at multiple positions.
Other potential picks: Desiree Scott and Michelle Maemone
Meggie Dougherty Howard
Washington in the last couple of years has opted to go for youth and build their roster around really talented young players. McCool showed glimpses of how good she can be during the Fall Series.
The UVA alum scored 27 goals during her college career, 15 of which came her senior year, and registered seven assists. She’s a great goalscorer that can add depth in the attacking position.
Dougherty Howard will bring a veteran experience to the midfield. She’s played over 60 games in the NWSL both as a starter and as a substitute. She’ll help bring leadership and depth to the new team.
I went back and forth on Averie Collins as well, she would also be a strong pick.