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On the Clock: Saint Louis Athletica

With the No. 17-overall pick as its first showing in the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft, Saint Louis Athletica is currently the last of the nine teams to select.  Then again, Athletica seems pretty set up top and through the midfield.

Eniola Aluko proved to be the team’s main goal-scoring force in 2009, and the addition of Madelaine Edlund is expected to compliment her quite well.  Add in Lori Chalupny and newly added Brazilian midfielder Elaine and the team could be much-improved in the attack, one that scored just 19 goals.

Where Athletica is looking to add depth is in the back.  The team gave up just 15 goals in 20 games in 2009, and Jillian Loyden and Hope Solo are two of the four goalkeepers that will head to the United States Women’s National Team training camp next week.

Saint Louis feels that it has ample midfielders and forwards.  In fact, a midfielder could be used as trade bait in a move to obtain a higher draft pick.  With No. 17 and No. 19 selections, Athletica might be willing to give up one of those to move up in the draft.

“I think any team will be looking to get in those top five picks if possible,” Athletica Assistant General Manager Tim Owen said.  “But, at the same time…we aren’t going to give away a corner piece of the team.”

Obviously, the deal would have to be right for both parties.  Could Athletica find itself in the top five draft picks come draft day?  Maybe, but it seems doubtful that any of the five teams already there will want to give up that position.  Saint Louis should still be able to find some quality defenders in the second round of the draft.

Athletica may want to move up, but it is tough to see anything happening without the team giving up a player that it cannot afford to part ways with.  Friday will tell whether or not Saint Louis climbs the draft chart.

This feature is the ninth of a tenpart series titled “On the Clock,” which will feature a draft previewfor each WPS team and culminate with a mock draft.  Check out the full WPS Draft order here.

Later Today: The Equalizer’s 2010 WPS Mock Draft!

Part One: Sky Blue FC
Part Two: Los Angeles Sol
Part Three: Atlanta Beat
Part Four: Boston Breakers
Part Five: FC Gold Pride
Part Six: Chicago Red Stars
Part Seven: Philadelphia Independence
Part Eight: Washington Freedom

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.

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