Connect with us

Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/3/17



Good morning, Mane Land readers. I hope you enjoyed last Friday’ Lion Links from our managing editor while I was out of the office. And if you didn’t even realize that I was gone, well…I forgive you and hope that you continue to enjoy reading our coverage of everything that is Orlando soccer and more.

With that said, I am happy to be back and eager to bring you the top news so let’s not waste any more time.

Kreis Admits Molino Asked to Leave OCSC

There were mixed reviews to say the least when Orlando City elected to ship Kevin Molino to Minnesota United in a reunion of sorts with former Lions head coach Adrian Heath. It became apparent that Molino was a part of what Jason Kreis referred to as an “in-house” issue when he was distant from his teammates in training and didn’t travel to Jacksonville for preseason camp. With that said, many were still sad to see the Trinidad & Tobago international go after he capitalized regularly in 30 appearances in 2016 with 11 goals and eight assists. But the player himself asked out of Orlando, expecting a big raise after one year of production that the club couldn’t (and wouldn’t) cave in to.

“We tried to do what we could in offering a contract that we felt was competitive to what he was hoping for, but the player was still unhappy. For me, what’s most important is whether a player wants to be in the team, and the last question I asked him was, ‘Kevin, do you want to be here?’ And he said, ‘No I don’t, coach. I’d like a change of scenery’. At that point, that’s who we want to be going forward, a club that wants players to desperately be a part of it.”

While replacing the midfielder’s production on the field will be no easy task, Kreis made it clear that the culture in the locker room comes before all else.

Kreis Pleased with Lions’ Preseason Trajectory

If fans are upset about Molino’s departure, maybe this will help. Jason Kreis told Orlando Sentinel writer Alicia DelGallo things are going well this preseason.

“The effort they’ve been putting in has been second to none. The commitment level, the competitiveness in training sessions I think has reached a new level, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Kreis went on to praise the team’s fitness level, something he criticized after he was hired in July, calling it “at a different level than it was last year.”

“I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now, but I know we have a ton of work left to do still,” Kreis said. “The good thing is we have five weeks left to get it done in.”

That’s great news. A fit and committed Orlando City team should challenge for the postseason in 2017.

Deakin Looks to Make Senior Team

Orlando City’s only SuperDraft selection in 2017 came in the third round in the person of forward Danny Deakin. The Sheffield, England native has arrived at Orlando City’s preseason camp and is looking to get first-team games in his rookie season.

“It’s very good,” Deakin said. “I knew it was gonna be a lot better than college. The speed of play is very high and everyone’s very consistent on the ball. But yeah, I’m enjoying it. I think I’ve adapted pretty well to it. But yeah, it’s good and I’m enjoying my time here.”

Deakin doesn’t have a lot of goals for his rookie season. He’s focused on contributing to his team and getting as much time on the pitch as he can. “I’d like to play. I’d like to start games and show what I can do,” Deakin said. “I’d like to be involved in the first team and be around things. But you just never know, I’m just gonna do what I can and see where it takes me.”

Orlando City B Announces Preseason Schedule

As OCB looks to improve upon its first USL season in 2017, the club announced its preseason schedule that consists of seven friendlies beginning on Feb. 23. Following the preseason opener against the University of Central Florida, it will take on OKC Energy FC in Bradenton at the IMG Academy in the only game that will be streamed live at Check out the link for the full slate.

Lifetime to Broadcast NWSL Matches

The NWSL has announced a partnership with A+E Networks that includes Lifetime broadcasting a weekly NWSL match Saturdays at 4 p.m. Lifetime will serve as an official sponsor and broadcast partner for the league.

In addition to the broadcast, the partnership will feature a joint venture, NWSL Media. According to the press release, NWSL Media will oversee the live streaming of matches, including pre-game, halftime, and post-game segments.

“This partnership is not only tremendously significant in the continued growth of NWSL, but representative of how far the league has come in four years and where it can go in the future,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Galati said.

In addition, the Lifetime logo will feature on the right sleeve of all teams’ jerseys.

Pereira Called into U.S. U-17 Residency Program

Alejandro Pereira, current member of Orlando City’s academy set-up, has been called into the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton for the 2017 Spring Semester. Head coach John Hackworth invited Pereira along with 31 others in pursuit of qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Pereira was one of the 28 players invited for the spring semester that were also in residency last fall. Hackworth also called in several new players, including Ethan Bartlow, Tyler Shaver, Grayson Barber, and David Ochoa. Notable players that will not return for spring residency are Chris Goslin and Chris Durkin, who will be looking to earn a first-team place in preseason with Atlanta United and D.C. United, respectively, after signing homegrown deals.

The U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament is set to begin April 14 in Panama. The emphasis of this semester will be preparing the players to not only qualify, but make an impact in the World Cup.

Lampard Calls it Quits

Few players in the history of the game have experienced the long-lasting success that Frank Lampard has. After 21 years, 13 of which were spent at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, Lampard has made the decision to hang up his boots.

Lampard last played for New York City FC after leaving Chelsea in 2014 and spending the 2014-2015 season with NYCFC parent club, Manchester City. The England international is one of just three players to record over 100 goals and 100 assists. The others on that list are Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.

This MLS off-season has seen world football legends retire after coming stateside. First it was Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard, and now Lampard. Gerrard recently joined Liverpool’s coaching staff at the academy level, and with Lampard giving thanks to the Football Association for the opportunity to study for his coaching badges, Lampard could follow in his footsteps by making a return to Stamford Bridge.

That should more than do it for today’s links. It sure is good to be back, and I can only hope that your weekend is as enjoyable as writing for you all is for me. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the good times!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/17/24

MLSPA releases player salaries, Duncan McGuire discusses move to Blackburn, Orlando Pride prepare for the Seattle Reign, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The weekend is nearly here, with plenty of soccer both here in the domestic leagues and abroad. I have a pretty packed weekend but am looking forward to watching Orlando City and the Orlando Pride in action. It should be a nice next few days, so let’s get it started with today’s links!

MLSPA Releases Player Salaries

The Major League Soccer Players Association unveiled the base salary and guaranteed compensation information for every player under contract with the league as of April 25 — except Wilder Cartagena, apparently. Luis Muriel is the highest-paid Orlando City player, and his $4.3 million in guaranteed compensation is the 12th most in the league, while his base salary is just over $2.83. As for other Orlando newcomers, Nico Lodeiro’s compensation is $800,000 and David Brekalo’s is $683,000.

Lionel Messi predictably tops the list of all players with $20.4 million guaranteed for playing with Inter Miami. To put that number into perspective, it’s more than the compensation of every team in the league except his own team (Miami), Toronto FC, Nashville SC, and the Chicago Fire. Orlando City is 22nd in the league in compensation, clocking in at $15.07 million.

Duncan McGuire Weighs In on Moving to Blackburn

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire had a hurricane of an off-season due to a transfer saga that nearly saw him join Blackburn Rovers in England. An administration error by Blackburn prevented the move from going through, and McGuire ultimately returned to Orlando. In the time since, there have been reports that Orlando offered him a new contract and that Blackburn still wants him to join in the summer. McGuire spoke about whether he is still interested in a move to Blackburn after the difficult experience.

“It’s tough to say,” McGuire told GOAL.”That was a pretty bad mistake, a pretty bad mistake by them. I’d be open to maybe having a conversation but it would have to be a lot to get me to go back there. On the plane ride back, I just felt like my tail was between my legs. I asked my agent how often this happens and he was like ‘This doesn’t happen’.

“I didn’t burn bridges with my teammates or have it be like ‘Oh you wanted to leave and now you’re back’. When I got back, it was like I never left.”

Orlando Pride Prepare for the Seattle Reign

The Orlando Pride will take their six-game win streak on the road for a match against the Seattle Reign Sunday night. The Reign are coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Portland Thorns in their sixth defeat of the season, but Pride Head Coach Seb Hines discussed how the Reign played better in that match than the score suggests. The Pride have also never won in Washington, and the turf and atmosphere of Lumen Field could give Orlando some trouble after a long trip. Injuries, particularly to the midfield, have made things difficult for the Pride, but midfielder Morgan Gautrat detailed how the team’s chemistry has helped them get results despite the adversity.

Nashville SC Fires Gary Smith

Nashville SC has parted ways with Gary Smith, who had been the club’s only head coach while in MLS. Smith joined Nashville back in 2018, coaching the team for two seasons in the USL Championship before. With a defensive style, Smith led the team to MLS playoff appearances in all four years but couldn’t put together a deep run. Nashville is currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and Rumba Munthali will serve as the club’s interim head coach while the club searches for a new permanent coach.

Charlotte FC Transfers Enzo Copetti Out

Another Designated Player is leaving Charlotte FC, as the club transferred Enzo Copetti to Rosario Central in Argentina’s top flight. The forward recorded eight goals and three assists across all competitions while with Charlotte, and has played less than 500 minutes this season. Copetti is the latest Designated Player transferred out since Dean Smith took over as Charlotte’s head coach, with Kamil Jozwiak sent to Granada and Karol Swiderski loaned to Hellas Verona. Despite the turnover, Charlotte sits fifth in the Eastern Conference and could make some noise this season if it brings in the right players in the summer transfer window.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Miguel Gallardo spoke with the folks over at The Blazing Musket about the New England Revolution and the art of goalkeeping.
  • Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Derek Sanderson, who played for many teams across many leagues back in the 1980s, including the American Soccer League’s Orlando Lions.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/16/24

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Orlando City B loses in Ohio, Austin awarded 2025 MLS All-Star Game, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

I hope you’re all having a nice and easy start to your Thursday morning. Orlando City’s match Wednesday night could’ve gone worse, but could’ve gone better as well. As far as rivalry games go, it probably won’t be all too memorable, but I still hope you enjoyed yourself if you went to the game. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws Inter Miami at Home

The Lions hosted rival Inter Miami and had to settle for a scoreless draw that featured solid chances for both sides. Orlando remains shorthanded defensively, but Pedro Gallese and the back line of Rodrigo Schlegel, Wilder Cartagena, and David Brekalo did well to get a clean sheet against a Miami side that leads the league in goals by a wide margin. Familiar attacking struggles plagued the Lions though with many chances going unfinished. The Lions will now turn their attention to a trip across the country for a match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Orlando City B Falls On the Road

After earning its first home win last week, Orlando City B was handed its first road defeat of the season in a 4-3 loss against Columbus Crew 2. OCB was without Yutaro Tsukada, who made his debut with the first team, but the team still did well generating chances on offense. The Young Lions took the lead on two different occasions in the match, but they ultimately couldn’t hold on for a result in a rollercoaster of a match. There’s plenty of time for Head Coach Manuel Goldberg to get his team ready for its next match, which is set to take place at Osceola County Stadium on May 26 against Huntsville City FC.

Orlando City Fined After Match in Philadelphia

Following Orlando City’s win over the Philadelphia Union, the club and Head Coach Oscar Pareja have been issued fines by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for the team violating the mass confrontation policy for the second time this season. The violation took place in the 86th minute at Philadelphia, when the Union were awarded their second penalty of the game. Gallese, Nicolas Lodeiro, Ivan Angulo, and Duncan McGuire were issued fines for their role in things as well.

Luis Muriel was also fined an undisclosed amount for embellishment during an incident with Damion Lowe in the 81st minute of the match. You can judge for yourself if the MLS Disciplinary Committee got it right, but what’s not up for debate is that the Lions got the job done on the road and survived an obscene amount of stoppage time.

Austin Will Host 2025 MLS All-Star Game

MLS announced that next year’s MLS All-Star Game will take place at Q2 Stadium in Austin. It will be the first time the event is held there and the first time Texas has hosted it since Houston had it back in 2010. The official date, along with what team the MLS All-Stars will play against, will be announced at a later time. Austin FC entered the league in 2021 and every game played at Q2 Stadium has sold out. There is a strong soccer community there, and I’m glad it will get a chance to show the league what it is all about. I also really like the graphic promoting the event and feel it captures Austin fairly well.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/15/24

Tropic Thunder is tonight, OCB plays away today, Americans playing abroad, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday Mane Landers. The next installment of the Tropic Thunder rivalry between the good guys (Orlando City) and the bad guys (Inter Miami) is tonight. I hope you can make it out to the match since there will probably be a bunch of Lionel Messi fans there and more purple in the stands is needed. To get ready for the match, you can listen to the latest edition of The Mane Land PawedCast, and check out our match preview later today . For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Host Tropic Thunder Tonight

I don’t know why others insist on calling matches between Orlando City and Inter Miami the “Florida Derby.” Our name for the match — Tropic Thunder — is just so much better. Regardless, the Lions host the Herons tonight at Inter&Co Stadium looking to avenge the 5-0 loss from earlier in the season. The spotlight might be on Miami, but the pressure is on Orlando City. The Lions surprised me with their win over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. Let’s hope the club can keep the momentum going.

Miami May Be Without Messi Today

While I never want anyone to get seriously injured, I’m not sorry to hear that there is a chance Messi will be unavailable for tonight’s match. It seems that Miami’s magician picked up a minor knee injury in the match against CF Montreal on Saturday. Say what you want, but he is a competitor and could still take the field tonight. Hopefully, he remembers the welcome Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena gave him when he joined the league and decides it’s not worth aggravating the knee.

OCB Back in Action On the Road

The senior squad isn’t the only team playing today as Orlando City B is in Ohio to take on Columbus Crew II at Field. You’ll need to take a long lunch to watch this one because kickoff is set for noon. There will be plenty to watch since the two clubs are only separated by one point in the standings, with OCB sitting in sixth place (3-2-3, 13 points) and Crew II in eighth place (3-3-2, 12 points).

Keeping Up With Americans Abroad

Most of us know that Christian Pulisic had a great season with AC Milan after moving to the Serie A club from Chelsea. What I did not know is that Pulisic is the first AC Milan midfielder to score more than 10 goals in a season since former Orlando City star Kaká did it when he was there.

Things are not as bright for Giovanni Reyna at Nottingham Forest. He hasn’t played a ton of minutes for the Premier League side and hasn’t done much when he has played. It was a loan without a purchase option, but Forest is reportedly not interested in making an offer for him regardless.

Free Kicks

  • Let’s all give a big congratulations to Orlando City Vice President of Soccer Operations and Technical Director Ricardo Moreira. He was accepted into the third edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management.
  • We believe once a Lion, always a Lion, but I didn’t know MLS thought the same thing. Richie Laryea getting the biggest suspension is on brand for anyone related to Orlando City.

That will do it for today. Let’s hope that the Lions can get a second win in a row. Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading