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On the Clock: FC Gold Pride

FC Gold Pride acquired French midfielder Camille Abily on Thursday from the Los Angeles Sol in a blockbuster trade, making the Pride’s No. 3-overall draft pick in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft even more interesting.

A scoring threat is the top priority for FC Gold Pride, which found net just 17 times in 20 games in 2009.  Head Coach Albertin Montoya and General Manager Ilisa Kessler are pretty clear about that.

“I really am looking for a forward that can score some goals and has some pace,” Montoya said.

Beyond that, Montoya said that he is interested in an outside back that can attack (FC Gold Pride also picks 10th, 12th and 20th).  Is anybody else putting two and two together?  If not, I will continue.

Palo Alto, Calif., where Stanford University is located, sits just 30 minutes across the San Fransisco Bay from the Pride’s stadium in Hayward, Calif.  Still not catching on?  Let’s put it this way: Montoya has experience coaching forward Kelley O’Hara and defender Aly Riley at younger ages.  Both were standouts with College Cup finalists Stanford and both are expected to be high draft picks (although O’Hara, the MAC Hermann Trophy winner, should go much higher).

Taking advantage of local talent is something that several WPS coaches have mentioned, and I think it will be hard for Montoya and company to pass on local talent that is this good.  We could see O’Hara go at No. 3, especially if Boston decides to take Lauren Cheney with the No. 2-overall pick.

Montoya noted that O’Hara and Riley have “quite a following” in the Bay Area, so bringing in two local stars (one of which just received college soccer’s top honor) would not exactly be a bad marketing move.

If O’Hara does stay close to her home of the past four years, she would compliment Christine Sinclair and Abily in a suddenly much-improved FC Gold Pride attack.  Riley would also be able to develop under U.S. international defender and former Stanford Cardinal Rachel Buehler.

In the later rounds, look for FC Gold Pride to add another goalkeeper.  Back-up keeper Meagan McCray, currently a free agent, is expected to re-sign with the team.

But of course, the focus is on that No. 3 pick.

“If things go as I think they will, I will be very happy with my pick,” Montoya said.

This feature is the fifth of a ten part series titled “On the Clock, ” which will feature a draft preview for each WPS team and culminate with a mock draft.  Check out the full WPS Draft order here.

Tomorrow: “On the Clock: Chicago Red Stars”

Part One: Sky Blue FC

Part Two: Los Angeles Sol
Part Three: Atlanta Beat
Part Four: Boston Breakers

The 2010 WPS Draft will take place on Friday, January 15 at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia.  Look for live and exclusive coverage from The Equalizer.

Follow me at Twitter.com/JeffKassouf

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