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Lion Links: 12/20/17

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I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited. This time of year always has me jacked up. Minus the craziness of getting through last-minute Christmas shopping, everything is finally ramping up. Champions League knockout rounds have been drawn, MLS off-season is hitting full swing, and at the end of the day we’re hitting the new year, which for whatever reason — probably the Cleveland fan in me — has me optimistic over the entire soccer landscape. I’m jacked up on good holiday vibes, so lets get into it.

Orlando City Set to Kick Off 2018 Against D.C. United

If you didn't already hear, Orlando City has officially announced its kickoff match for the 2018 MLS season, and the Lions will face off with D.C. United at home. This will be the fourth time in a row City will open at home, as it looks to start off 2018 right against a D.C. United that hit its stride in the back half the year with additions like Paul Arriola.

All I can say is: ARE WE THERE YET?

Morgan, Krieger, and Marta Selected in CONCACAF’s Best XI

CONCACAF announced its Best XI for 2017 and, to no surprise, the Orlando Pride found their way to multiple spots on the list. Alex Morgan, Marta, and Ali Krieger were all honored after a banner 2017.

If there was one gripe, it has to be the rehashing of FIFA Player of the Year debates where Carli Lloyd was again given a prestigious honor despite being injured for a decent chunk of the year. This left Matilda and Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr off an awards list again. Quite frankly, I don’t know how this is still happening.

MLS Nashville Bound? Sounds Like It

It appears that MLS will be announcing its newest city — and one of two new expansion teams — Tuesday afternoon:

Jeff Carlisle isn't the only one talking, as Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus reports:

The league all but confirmed Tuesday morning that the Nashville bid fronted by local billionaire John Ingram and supported by the Wilf brothers, who own the Minnesota Vikings, has been accepted. MLS commissioner Don Garber will join Ingram, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam and Nashville mayor Megan Barry at an event Wednesday afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they’ll announce the city’s entry.

And if that isn't enough, a judge recently threw out a lawsuit intended to block the creation of a soccer-specific stadium in Nashville.

Is this a good thing for MLS? You can argue absolutely, especially regionally, as the South gains another team and the MLS soccer map gets more diverse. Is Nashville going to support a team well? That remains to be seen, but they did have a Tennessee state record for the Gold Cup with over 47,000 in attendance in July at Nissan Stadium (I worked that U.S. game and the atmosphere was solid for it being in a football stadium). And you have to consider that as far as expendable sports dollars go, there’s only two other pro franchises to contend with.

If this is true, this leaves Detroit, Cincinnati, and Sacramento as the remaining cities vying for an MLS expansion club. It’s anyone's guess right now as to who will win that last spot.

Leo Pereira Looks to Stay in Brazil

Center back Leo Periera, who was on loan from Clube Atlético Paranaense — City's official Brazilian partner club — has had his option picked up by his parent club for the 2018 season. While the defender filled in at times in 2017, the youngster never really settled in as the center back musical chairs certainly didn't help. As a reminder of his 2017 season, here was our final season grade.

This will add a very valuable international spot back to the roster for GM Niki Budalic to utilize this off-season.

Speculation on New Pride Players as Sermanni Returns from Europe

It’s every good manager’s role to actively scout, but it seems that Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni may have something up his sleeve with his recent trip to Europe. With Camila injured, and Australians Steph Catley and Alanna Kennedy out of contract (yet considering extension offers), Sermanni went to Europe in search of what could be a few new additions to the Pride in 2018. Backline Soccer ponders who the possible targets could be.

Your USSF Presidential Candidate Update

Paul Caligiuri starts off with an open letter to the Federation, most notably calling out the recent issue of USSF’s board of directors looking to finalize a general manager position before the new president can even be elected. Couldn't agree more with him that the timing is very odd and seems like a control grab — my words, not his — by an organization’s board set to protect itself and its power.

Michael Winograd, my current preference, sat down with Yahoo! Sports’ Henry Bushnell to discuss many of his takes but the article mainly highlights Winograd’s take on the youth soccer industry. Youth soccer has a multitude of issues, and one very big one being that the Aspen Institute illuminates in regards to participation of athletes ages 6-12.

For you Eric Wynalda fans, here’s his new website where you can keep tabs on all his stances, forums, etc.

Another OCB Alum Finds a Home

Defender Zach Carroll has found a home with Reno 1868 FC. The 23-year-old center back will move to his third team in three years despite earning second-team All-USL in 2016 with New York Red Bulls II and a year with Orlando City B that had many excited about his future prospects.

This is just another player in a line of multiple OCB players who has found his way out of town, giving OCB supporters continued heartburn on what is to come for 2018.

All the best, Zach.

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So until next week, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, or simply just enjoy some free vacation time. Cheers!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

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  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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Lion Links: 5/17/24

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

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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.

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  • 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!

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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.

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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.

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

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