On Monday, the Breakers bolstered their already deep attack, acquiring Australian forward Lisa De Vanna in exchange for a 2015 first-round draft pick and a 2014 international roster spot. The former Female Footballer of the Year and Puskas Award nominee joins Melissa Ortiz and Courtney Jones as newly acquired forwards, all three of whom will work to replace the productivity of long-gone forward Sydney Leroux. Will De Vanna break into the Starting XI? We answer that very question.
A Well-Traveled Superstar
Since 2006, the Perth, Australia native has donned 11 different kits representing 11 different clubs, with the Breakers representing her 12th professional squad. The workhouse forward has experienced undeniable success in virtually every location, including an eight-goal campaign with the Melbourne Victory (2013-2014) and a five-goal campaign with Sky Blue FC (2013).
After introducing De Vanna on Monday, Breakers GM Lee Billiard described the forward as "a winner and an incredible talent," never shying away from her goal-scoring prowess. With 31 goals in 82 international appearances, including six in Olympic and World Cup play, De Vanna has proven to be an elite finisher for both club and country.
Analysis + Prediction
When Colombian forward Melissa Ortiz joined the Breakers in December, we immediately cautioned fans about the imminent Sydney Leroux comparisons. Without question, the addition of De Vanna will temper these expectations, instead placing pressure on the more proven forward.
By our best estimate, De Vanna will start of out the gate beside attacker Lianne Sanderson, though Breakers Head Coach Tom Durkin has continually alluded to the possibility of running a 4-3-3 system. This leaves room for De Vanna, Sanderson and an additional forward, such as Oritz or Jones, to join the Starting XI. On the flip side, if Durkin decides to utilize his deep midfield and run with a pair of forwards, only one of three Breakers' freshmen will earn a starting role. The result: attacking competition, an unexpected development for the royal and blue.
Regardless of Durkin's intentions, we believe De Vanna will feature early and often for the Breakers, most likely beside a third forward. In November, Boston's skipper confidently told us, "If we can find just one bona fide goal scorer, I think we have enough players to contribute to the attack." He may have resolved his pursuit, acquiring not one--but two Starting XI hopefuls while adding proven attacking talent in the NWSL Draft.
The Final Word
Transaction Grade: B+
Although the acquisition of De Vanna, the newest member of the Sydney Leroux replacement project, seems utterly positive, we do hold reservations. De Vanna has previously expressed a desire to focus on serving her international side, according to a recent article in The Equalizer. An upbeat response to reporters--and Billiard's willingness to deal a first round draft pick--seem to dispel rumors that the Australian intentional will return home, though the uncertainty makes us pause.
If De Vanna does play out the 2014 season, as expected, a 2015 first round pick and 2014 international roster spot appear to be a price worth paying, especially in light of Billiard's coveted 2014 draft class.
2014 projected stat line: 16 appearances (12 starts), 1150 minutes, 6 goals, 2 assists
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