NWSL Draft losers
In his return to the NWSL, Mark Parsons selected six new players to a roster that desperately needed additions given the size of the squad and the number of players that will be leaving for international duty over the summer. After winning the NWSL Championship in 2021, the Spirit had a year to forget, finishing second to last in the league, and accumulating the fewest wins of any club throughout the 2022 regular season. Even though many could say they were aggressive in the later rounds, why didn’t Washington send a message to the league by making a splash with a trade to get into one of those top 24 selections of the night?
Kelley O’Hara’s departure at the beginning of free agency means a loss in both quality and leadership on the left side of the defense. There is no question the players that the Spirit were able to obtain on Thursday night are talented, but why not assert yourself by picking one of the big names after what was the 2022 season?
The youth and creativity in Washington are there through the likes of Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez. But despite adding quality players like Nicole Douglas and Riley Turner out of the University of Alabama, it is still clear the Spirit are going to be far too reliant on the players at the top of their roster. Come World Cup time, this team could struggle more than any around the league to find ways to collect points.
For the Spirit, this draft night was less about the players they were able to acquire and more about where this club is at during this point of the offseason. Many teams like the Dash made moves to add experienced players, and without that imposing move, Washington’s night has to be near the bottom when comparing it to the rest of the field. These young players for Washington are going to be asked to do a lot more than the ones selected by Portland and is that going to hurt them in the short term or benefit the club in the long term?
Racing Louisville FC
Having selected just four players on draft night, it has to be said that Kim Bjorkegren and Racing Louisville were underwhelming. Kayla Fischer and Riley Mattingly Parker are talented assets, but it has to be asked where they are going to fit into a team like Louisville. Nadia Nadim is currently out for the season with an ACL injury, meaning the club is going to miss their leading goal scorer from last season.
The club has to regret letting go of both Cece Kizer, and Ebony Salmon in the middle of the season with both players succeeding at a high level for two different clubs. Just like Washington, this team did not pursue a selection in the first round, opting to pick from the talent pool that was left following the first 12 picks.
All four players that Bjorkegren and company gained on Thursday in Philadelphia will play a role in one way or another in what the club is going to do next season, but that does not change the fact that not many people know what the identity of this club is going to be. Louisville had just one win in their final nine games in the regular season, and will now lose its captain, Gemma Bonner, to Liverpool.
For a team that lost Bonner and Freja Olofsson at the beginning of last season, it has to be asked why a team low on quality defenders selected just one. It is not about the gains of the draft night for Louisville, it is the position that the club is currently in, and the draft in no way changes the perspective of anyone thinking Racing Lousiville was going to contend in 2022.