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Sarah Killion for Sky Blue midfielder

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Where we look at who Sky Blue FC should take in the NWSL draft.

Dec 8, 2013; Cary, NC, USA; UCLA Bruins midfield/forward Jenna Richmond (7) and midfield/forward Sam Mewis (22) and midfield/forward Sarah Killion (16) celebrate on the podium. The Bruins defeated the Seminoles 1-0 in overtime at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Dec 8, 2013; Cary, NC, USA; UCLA Bruins midfield/forward Jenna Richmond (7) and midfield/forward Sam Mewis (22) and midfield/forward Sarah Killion (16) celebrate on the podium. The Bruins defeated the Seminoles 1-0 in overtime at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no way we’re getting Morgan Brian. What probably rings truest is that Sky Blue F.C.’s front office can choose any player eligible in next week’s NWSL draft, except for movie star good-looking, displaying-spiritual-kindness-in-interviews USWNT regular and offensive dynamo, Ms. Brian. Not to be punny, Ms. Brian will be subsumed by the Houston Dash at no. 1 overall, an affiliate of the MLS’s Houston Dynamo.

However, with the no. 2 selection, I recommend Sky Blue opt for USWNT U-23 call-up Sarah Killion, a holding midfielder and third-team All-American out of UCLA. Defensive specialist, Kristin Grubka, would undoubtedly be another great choice, and yet sometimes you’ve got to bear passing up on soon-to-be-stars in this league. The enforcing Ms. Grubka may be better when all’s said and done, and yet Sky Blue only has one lottery pick. The other one (#4) was traded to Western New York in exchange for the ready-to-be-in-the-rotation fleet of foot striker Samantha Kerr.

Even so, the lanky Ms. Killion is the kind of player that can right an entire team, she’s proven as a 2013 NCAA champion and FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup winner in 2012, that she can pick pockets left and right, deflect passes at will and seldom lose possession when handling the ball. She’s the kind of player who knows what you’re going to do, before you even know you’re going to do it. Another upside is that she’s a great passer in the clutch. If my memory serves me right, she beautifully set up a through ball for Ally Courtnall's heart-skipping goal against Ms. Brian’s Virginia in the 2013 College Cup just a few minutes shy of UCLA taking a freight train of unmet expectations back to L.A. That’s the thing about Ms. Killion, she not only does the dirty work when containing opponents, but she had the field vision to quietly hit Crystal Dunn over a mound of defenders on the right wing, a play that eventually led to Ms. Dunn’s weaving into the box followed by a FIFA U-20 World Cup winning assist to Kealia Ohai in the USWNT win over Germany in ’12. And so the words that come to my head when thinking about Ms. Killion: "unsung hero."

Finally, this choice makes sense after Sky Blue Head Coach Jim Gabarra lost a major defensive midfield asset in Ashley Nick in another offseason deal. According to Mr. Gabarra, Ms. Brian, Ms. Killion, Ms. Grubka and playmaking USWNT midfielder Samantha Mewis are the only players he’s considering at the no. 2 slot.

With the first pick in the 2nd round, 10th overall, Mr. Gabarra has confirmed that Penn State’s first-team All-American centerback, Whitney Church, is on his "radar". Ms. Church is worth looking into. As Christie Rampone grows older, the Sky Blue would be happy with Ms. Church, she plays as if every play is her last and will really give the fans their money’s worth, for example even in exhibition games she tackles as if she were playing an NWSL final. She’s never wiped out. And not trying to launch a polemic against her here, but at 5’5", she’s the size of Ms. Grubka’s thumb, that said Sky Blue doesn’t have a prayer at landing the size, strength, and speed of Ms. Grubka at #10. Ms. Church is enormous in other ways, she has the ups to win the aerial game against anyone on the offensive or defensive ends, so I find her to be the logical selection, she’ll also get to be reunited with Sky Blue’s 2014 1st round pick forward Maya Hayes, another Penn State product. With borderline international star-level talent, Ms. Church will fit in nicely while Ms. Rampone acts as the National Guard on defense in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.