Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/17/20



Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone made the most of the nice weather this week. The month of October has kept us busy with the NBA Finals wrapping up, MLB playoffs still underway, and plenty of football. I’ve been busy with school projects as of late, but am excited to catch up on some soccer matches this weekend. We have plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City SC Sale Price Reportedly $400 Million

According to Forbes, a source close to the reported sale of Orlando City SC stated the club is on the verge of being sold for $400 million. It is still unknown if the Orlando Pride, Exploria Stadium, or Orlando City B will be part of this transaction. If the deal goes through, it would be quite the profit for owner Flávio Augusto da Silva, who paid a $70 million expansion fee for the club. Last year, Forbes valued OCSC at $295 million, which ranked 12th out of the 26 MLS teams at the time.

Matheus Aiás Finally Cleared

After a lengthy wait, Orlando City forward Matheus Aiás was medically cleared to train with the team. Aiás, who was acquired by Orlando on Aug. 21, will join team training immediately. The news comes at a good time as he adds needed depth at the forward position with Tesho Akindele nursing an injury and Aiás could be available for selection tomorrow when the Lions face the New York Red Bulls.

Although back in Orlando, neither goalkeeper Pedro Gallese nor Sebas Mendez will be available for Orlando tomorrow as they wait in quarantine after playing internationally. However, they arrived back quickly enough that they should be available in the game against Inter Miami on Oct. 24.

Orlando Pride Take on the Courage

The Orlando Pride will conclude the NWSL Fall Series today as they host the North Carolina Courage at Exploria Stadium. This will be the first time the Pride will play a match in Exploria Stadium this season. The Pride’s last match against the Courage resulted in a scoreless stalemate at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sept. 19 in the Pride’s first game of the calendar year. Ashlyn Harris registered four saves in the match, including an NWSL Save of the Week effort in the 53rd minute to maintain a clean sheet. A veteran for the Pride, Harris is excited to play at home and see many Pride players take the field in Exploria Stadium for the first time.

“I think a lot of these players are going to be quite nervous because of how big the stadium is and how much meaning is behind it,” Pride captain Ashlyn Harris said. “It’s going to be new for a lot of these players, so I hope they enjoy the challenge.

“For me, I love this place and I love playing here. It’s going to be weird without our fans, but just to get the field back into a big stadium and get minutes will be so key.”

Chelsee Washington continues to grow with the Pride despite a difficult year considering the pandemic and testing positive for COVID-19. The rookie is using every minute of game experience to adapt and improve at the professional level. You can watch today’s game at 4 p.m. on CBS or CBS All Access.

Orlando City B Withdraws from USL League One

OCSC officially announced that Orlando City B will not return to USL League One in 2021. With a rumored MLS U-23 reserve league possibly starting in 2021, the Young Lions may not have to search far for a new league to play in once their current season concludes. The club is working closely with Major League Soccer in regards to the future and OCB won’t be the only club departing the United Soccer League. Philadelphia Union II and Portland Timbers 2 will leave the USL Championship division. The USL will announce realignment plans for both leagues in the coming weeks. With games still left to play this season, OCB does have a match later tonight on the road against FC Tucson at 10:30 p.m. You can watch the game on ESPN+.

Americans Abroad

The Philadelphia Union’s Brenden Aaronson will leave MLS for RB Salzburg at the conclusion of the MLS season for a record $6 million transfer for the United States-based Homegrown Player. While it’s always exciting seeing an American player head to Europe, Aaronson is focused on winning with the Union this year.

As for the Americans already playing abroad, plenty are in action this weekend. Let’s start in England where Christian Pulisic should get more minutes for Chelsea today as the Blues play Southampton at 10 a.m. to try to snap the Saints’ two-game win streak.

On ESPN+, there is plenty of Bundesliga action with a trio of 9:30 a.m. matches today. Giovanni Reyna is coming off a strong performance after having three assists for Borussia Dortmund last week and the team travels to take on Hoffenheim. Josh Sargent looks to keep his team’s two-game win streak going as Werder Bremen visits Freiburg. Lastly, Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig aim to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga when the team plays second place FC Augsburg. It’s also possible Sergiño Dest starts for FC Barcelona against Getafe at 3 p.m. on beIN Sports. Tomorrow, Fulham takes on Sheffield United and we could see both Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream in the starting 11.

Free Kicks

  • The pandemic disrupted Toni Pressley’s plans for a comeback season with the Pride after battling breast cancer in 2019. With the Fall Series ending today, Pressley wants to finish the year strong before looking ahead to 2021. Today’s game is also the club’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness match and City Furniture is doing its part to raise awareness.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Take care of yourselves, enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you next time.


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