With two selections in the later rounds, the Orland Pride made the most of their picks by adding to its attack.
No. 22: Danica Evans, Colorado
No. 32: Nickolette Driesse, Penn State
UPDATE: On January 18, 2017, Orlando acquired forward Rachel Hill from the Portland Thorns FC in exchange for a natural first-round selection and a fourth-round selection in the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft.
The Pride elected to pick the best of the attack-minded players who were around with their third- and fourth-round picks and came away with a couple of strong selections. Danica Evans started out her career with the University of Portland, had 12 goals and 10 assists in two seasons, and then transferred to Colorado and chipped in 10 goals in two years. Evans stayed consistent throughout her four years and didn’t see her level fall off after moving from the WCC to the PAC-12, which was a slight jump in competition.
Nickolette Driesse might have been the steal of the draft at pick No. 32. She won a pair of national championships in her collegiate career, one with Florida State and another with Penn State, and showed flexibility in playing a variety of positions within the front six. She’s a gritty players who won’t have much of a learning curve in dealing with the physicality of the NWSL and is another player who can succeed in either a limited-capacity role or one with a bit more involvement.
In my draft preview for the Pride, I suggested the Orlando club should get the best attacking options who were available when they picked in the later rounds and they succeeded in doing so. Head coach Tom Sermanni still has a lot of work to do to make this team a real contender, especially with Alex Morgan missing at least the first half of the season on loan with Lyon, leaving the Pride without a consistent striker to lean on in her absence. But, Sermanni found two pieces that could help fill in the missing parts of a larger puzzle so I give him credit for taking as much advantage as he could in this draft.