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With the NWSL secondary transfer window opening in a little over a month, but a majority of european seasons at an end, teams are already being active with their mid-season acquisitions. Although players can be signed and begin practicing at any time, they will be unable to play in any games with their new teams until the window officially opens on August 1st. 

The Orlando Pride kicked off the mid-summer signings adding in Zambian midfielder Grace Chanda who was recently shortlisted for African Women's Footballer of the Year in 2022. Chanda will join the Pride after the 2024 Paris Olympics. Then the Washington Spirit jumped in the mix, transferring English defender Esme Morgan from Women’s Super League (WSL) side Manchester City. North Carolina Courage is the final team who has jumped into the fray, adding a pair of Australians in forward Cortnee Vine and defender Charlotte McLean.

As a reminder, teams are required to have an active roster of between 22 and 26 players. Teams with less than 26 players are able to add players until they hit 26, but it’s important to plan for some of the non-active players to join the active roster in the latter half of the season. 

An in-depth look at the current state of active and non-active rosters

Under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), player salaries cannot be disclosed and so attempting to see where teams sit in their salary cap and whether they can afford certain free agents is almost impossible to predict. The other half of this is the lack of clarity on guaranteed versus semi-guaranteed contracts. 

If teams are looking to add players but are already at 26, they can waive players signed to semi-guaranteed contracts until the official Roster Freeze in October. However, if a player is signed to a guaranteed contract, teams can only waive one of those per season without the buy-out impacting their salary cap. 

Note: North Carolina midfielder Manaka Matsukubo was originally on loan through June 30th, yesterday the Courage announced that the 19-year-old Japanese national had been permanently acquired and signed through the 2025 season. NWSL active roster compliance requires that teams are at or below 26 active players when a player is signed, but in this case Charlotte McLean’s contract doesn’t begin until July 10th, at which point the Courage will have already released national team players to prepare for the Olympics, thereby dropping them back below the limit. Once the national team players return from the Olympics, the Courage will have to make sure they are back at or below 26. 

There isn’t one statistic that tells the entire story of all of the team’s season thus far, and where the midseason investment should come into play, but looking at expected goals against actual goals scored will roughly answer the question of ‘is the attack finishing chances?’ Looking at the expected goals against versus the goals conceded and overall clean sheets roughly answers the question, 'are we letting in more goals than we are expected to?’ 

Team scoring data after match 14 of the regular season

Kansas City is currently leading the league in goals scored and has a positive goals to expected goals, but on the other side of the pitch is also conceding goals more often than they are expected to. Their +17 goal differential is currently only one more than second place in the table Orlando, who is tied on points with only a +16 goal differential. As we saw last season, goal differential can make the difference between whether you have a postseason or not. 

The Courage through game 14 have the greatest differential between how many goals they’ve scored and how many they were expected to, and—with their three signings in the last few weeks—look to be already addressing that.

Seattle is bottom three in both xGA-GA and G-xG which does align with the rough start of the season they have had. Currently 13th out of 14 teams, the hope is that the finalization of the sale boosts how active the Reign can be in the upcoming window. There are already reported rumors from CBS Sports that the team is transferring and signing forward and captain of Haiti Nerilia Mondesir—such an addition would greatly aid a struggling Reign side.


NWSL Transactions Tracker