When the NWSL received approval from FIFA to move up the league’s transfer window from July 4-Aug. 3 to June 15-July 14, it was thought teams would be active to bring in players to mitigate Olympic absences of international players. Fans of the Pride -- who host the Boston Breakers at 5 p.m. today -- were left to wonder when the team traded midfielder Lianne Sanderson to the Western New York Flash for an international spot -- which the team will keep until the end of the 2018 season -- if an addition was imminent.
However, with less than a week left in the transfer window, the Orlando Pride appear willing to not simply bring in a player solely for the sake of making a player transfer and having an extra body.
"At the moment, we've got good chemistry among the team. We have players working really hard," said Head Coach Tom Sermanni. "Players are putting in real dedicated effort without getting much game time, and it’s important now when this opportunity comes that we give them that chance and they go in and prove to us that they can be someone that we want to keep with this club"
Part of the problem is most of the women’s leagues from around the world have some overlap with the NWSL season, with Australia’s W-league one of the few major leagues that has no overlap. Therefore, most of the talented players a team like the Pride would transfer in are already under contract somewhere else and tied up for the season. The plan the team is looking towards appears to be to use the international spots in the off-season and build the team from year one to year two.
"Different story when we start looking forward to next year," Sermanni continued. "Then it’s like 'okay, what do we need to do next year [to improve]?'"
The Pride will be one of the clubs most affected by the Rio Games, as six starters will be missing from the lineup until August. Missing will be forward Alex Morgan, defenders Steph Catley, Laura Alleway, Monica and Joseé Bélanger, and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Midfielder Kaylyn Kyle was also selected as an alternate for Canada, but asked out of going to Rio unless the team absolutely needed her.
To make up for these absences, the Pride will also recall amateur players Megan Dorsey, Sierra Lelii, Kim Reynolds, and Allie Wisner, following the addition of newly signed goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage.
The team is counting on the players on hand to step up and demonstrate the Pride made the right decision by showing patience during the transfer window. Like a veteran poker player, Sermanni knows to keep the hand he's been dealt.