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Lion Links: 12/13/18



Hello, dear readers! It’s Thursday once again and so I get the opportunity to let you know that the Orlando SeaWolves will be playing soccer tomorrow night — indoors! — at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. The indoor game is fun, fast-paced, and (best of all) quite affordable, so go give the lads some support as they take on defending champion Baltimore.

Lions Stockpiling Draft Picks

Orlando City added a fourth-round selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday in a trade with New York City FC for the rights to Tony Rocha. The Lions got back the fourth-round pick they traded to the Pigeons in 2017 for Josh Saunders, which is the No. 75 overall selection. Even though the club declined Rocha’s contract option, Orlando retains his MLS rights and those were shipped off to the Bronx. The Lions now have six picks in the SuperDraft and it’ll be interesting to see how those will be used.

Rocha made sure to thank Orlando City’s fans before he departs for the Big Apple.

Where Muzzi At?

Feathers were ruffled yesterday when’s Jordan Culver reported that his league sources said that Luiz Muzzi was calling the shots for Orlando City’s recent slew of player moves. Some outlets covering FC Dallas questioned Culver’s report, as Muzzi has not yet been introduced officially as OCSC’s new general manager. Also, FC Dallas denies that he’s leaving the club until the Texas side can announce a replacement.

When asked about Muzzi’s departure, FC Dallas vice president of communications Gina Miller told Pro Soccer USA, “This isn’t true.”

However, a league source told Pro Soccer USA FC Dallas is hesitant to confirm Muzzi’s departure until the club can announce his replacement.

Jordan’s a solid dude and I don’t doubt for a second that he’s got a source he trusts. Our sources have indicated to us that Muzzi was serving in a consulting role during this recent series of moves so it’s clear he’s at the very least being kept in the loop while we await his official arrival.

Why Spector, Sutter Weren’t In Waiver Draft

Some sharp-eyed fans noticed that neither Jonathan Spector nor Scott Sutter were listed as available for the MLS Waiver Draft. That’s because of a loophole that Orlando City exploited (sorry, paywall).

Per MLS rules, teams can exclude a player from the waiver draft if they “have expressed interest in re-signing the player and/or bringing them into preseason.” In this case, Orlando City has done enough to convince the league that it intends to bring both Spector and Sutter back, meaning neither player has officially been waived. Considering a recent change in leadership in the front office at the club, Orlando may justify doing so by saying it needs more time to evaluate its roster and to see if Spector or Sutter may be willing to stay on for lower wages.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the two defenders will be back with Orlando, and both have publicly said goodbye to the fans on social media. But, as Paul Tenorio explains, the Lions could trade their MLS rights or do a sign-and-trade to get something for them if they opt to stay in MLS. Technically, their contracts expire at the end of the calendar year.

Orlando City U-18/19 Team Leads Division at the Break

It’s been a good 2018 portion of the season for the Baby Lions up at Montverde Academy. The U-18/19 team sits first in the Southeast Division at the break, with 22 points in 12 games (7-4-1). The squad has a +13 goal differential. Weston FC sits just two points behind with a game in hand, while third-place Chargers SC has 25 points but in two more games played. The standings are listed by points per game, of which OCSC has 1.8333 to lead the division. Academy Director and U-18/19 coach Mike Potempa said the academy’s move to Montverde is starting to pay dividends.

“I believe now that we are starting to see the fruits of our labor and we expect to see a continuation of our evolution in the second half of the season in 2019 across all age groups.”

MLS Waiver Draft Results

Orlando City passed on the 2018 MLS Waiver Draft yesterday and only four players were taken in total. The New York Red Bulls moved up via a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes and took former Philadelphia Union forward Marcus Epps first overall. The Chicago Fire chose two of the four players taken and they were two of the three guys that our own Guilherme Torres said Orlando City should consider — Cristian Martinez from Columbus and Marco Ureña of LAFC. We’ll have to keep an eye on how the duo fares in Chicago. Ricky Lopez-Espin was the other player selected, moving from Real Salt Lake to LAFC.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City’s Brazilian partner club has rebranded as Athletico Paranaense. They kicked off the second leg of the 2018 Copa Sudamerica final last night vs. Junior (Colombia) and former Lions defender Leo Pereira started. The first leg in Colombia was a 1-1 draw and the teams went to penalties last night after another 1-1 draw. Paranaense won the cup in penalties, taking the shootout, 4-3.

Here’s a look at the new uniforms:

  • The New York Red Bulls re-signed center back Tim Parker to a multi-year deal using Targeted Allocation Money.
  • FC Cincinnati sent $150,000 in General Allocation Money to FC Dallas for Homegrown midfielder Victor Ulloa.
  • Speaking of FC Cincinnati, the club announced that they have an official chili partner in Skyline. I grew up in Ohio and I love the stuff. Don’t @ me and don’t think of it like you think of “normal” chili. It’s its own thing.
  • Those born on this date include Mary Todd Lincoln (1818), Cleveland Indians legend Larry Doby (1923), Dick Van Dyke (1925), Christopher Plummer (1929), Ted Nugent (1948), pro wrestler Junkyard Dog (1952), Steve Buscemi (1957), football coaches Rob and Rex Ryan (1962), sportscaster Mike Tirico (1966), hockey’s Sergei Federov (1969), and Taylor Swift (1989).

That’ll do it for my time this morning. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Thursday and let’s get to the weekend.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/30/24

Orlando City draws on the road, Duncan McGuire called up, Grace Chanda will reportedly sign with the Orlando Pride, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

For those of you who watched Orlando City’s game Wednesday night, I hope the universe repays you with good fortune in some way today. The week rolls on though, as we get ready for more Orlando soccer this weekend, along with international friendlies around the world to enjoy. For now though, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Draws Against the Chicago Fire

The Lions went on the road and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. Neither goal was anything to write home about in a match that was highlighted by sloppy play and yet another controversial refereeing decision the Lions had to deal with. A draw on the road while on short rest generally isn’t the worst result in the world, but it was a poor performance from the Lions. They’ll aim to get back in the winning column this Saturday when they travel to play the New York Red Bulls.

Duncan McGuire Called Up For Training Camp

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of 25 players called up for the United States Men’s Olympic Soccer Team’s training camp ahead of a friendly with Japan on June 11. McGuire has earned his spot on the team during a solid second season with the Lions that has included five goals. Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, Koln forward Damion Downs, and LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal are a few of the other notable players called up. Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman is the only player over 23 that was called up for this camp.

Grace Chanda Will Reportedly Join the Pride

An agreement was reportedly reached between the Orlando Pride and Zambian attacker Grace Chanda for her to join the club on a deal through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. It would be a free transfer, but she would not join the Pride until after the Olympics. Chanda was named to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Best XI and was also on the shortlist for the 2022 Best CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award. The 26-year-old did not play in last year’s World Cup due to an illness, but has come off the bench in Madrid CFF’s past two games. The Pride are having a historic year and Chanda should help them push for a title if she does end up joining her international teammate, Barbra Banda.

Getting to Know Emily Sams

Pride defender Emily Sams is the latest player to field questions as part of the club’s video series for fans to learn more about the players. Sams spoke about the disappointment in how the team’s season ended last year after missing out on the playoffs on a goal differential tiebreaker. She also talked about the team’s aspiration to not only make the playoffs but contend for a title this year. It’s her second season with the Pride and she’s been a key reason why Orlando has done so well so far. Sams discussed what the team’s atmosphere is like, as well as how she likes to spend time outdoors exploring Orlando’s many lakes when not on the field.

Free Kicks

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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/24

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight, Kaká to be honored, Pride linked to Grace Chanda, and more.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. Orlando City looks to get back to its winning ways in the midweek matchup and we will have all the coverage you need during the match on our Twitter account, and after the match right here at The Mane Land.

We would also like to wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a very happy birthday! Frankly, it’s the least we can do given everything he has done so far this NWSL season. For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for the Fire

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Soldier Field. The Lions will look to extend a three-match winning streak over the Fire. Facundo Torres has been particularly effective against Chicago, so hopefully he can start scoring some more goals as well. We will have our match preview a little later today.

Kaká to Become First Member of Legends Terrace at Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those who have made a lasting impact with either club. Unsurprisingly, the first inductee will be the one and only Kaká. The ceremony will take place following the July 6 match against D.C. United. There will also be a concert featuring Latin performer Jota Quest in the Publix Mane Street Plaza outside the stadium prior to the match.

Orlando Pride Linked With Grace Chanda

Do you like Barbra Banda and what she has done since joining the Pride? Do you find yourself wondering, “got anymore of those Zambian strikers?” Well, it just so happens that the Orlando Pride are reportedly interested in signing Zambian forward Grace Chanda. According to the report, the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and the Pride are all interested in signing Chanda. Given the Pride are serious about contending for a title this season, adding another quality attacker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride’s Summer Cup Schedule Adjusted

The Olympics won’t be the only women’s soccer competition this summer, as the inaugural NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will start on July 19. We have learned that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium has been moved up from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, July 27. The move does not affect Orlando City’s schedule, as the Lions play a rare Friday match that week. You can check out more information on the competition here.

Free Kicks

  • I know that there are those who are upset with the Leagues Cup as it definitely impacted the U.S. Open Cup this year. However, if you do decide to go to a match, at least part of the ticket price will go to a good cause.
  • Congratulations to Felipe. That is a lot of matches and we appreciate him being with our beloved Orlando City.
  • Congratulations also go out to Orlando City academy player Camilio Guerrero for earning a call-up to a U.S. U-14 national talent identification camp.
  • USMNT winger Tim Weah is making money moves in the Big Apple.

That will do it for today. We will see you on the other side of the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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