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Lion Links: 11/8/22

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a busy Monday in the soccer world with the MLS Trade Window opening, three different continental competitions holding their drawings, and former Lion Daryl Dike returning from injury in a rare Premier League 2 appearance.

Let’s get to the news of the day.

Orlando City Gets Concacaf’d in Champions League Draw

The Concacaf Champions League draw took place Monday night, meaning that Orlando City knows its opponent for its first ever time in the competition. The draw was not kind to the Lions, as they will face Tigres UANL of Liga MX in their round of 16 match-up. Tigres was originally drawn against fellow Liga MX side Pachuca — a match-up that wasn’t allowed in the first round. That meant a new team had to be selected to face Tigres after it had been drawn and that’s when Orlando’s name came up. It’s undoubtedly the toughest draw of any of the Major League Soccer sides, as Tigres won the CCL two years ago, and is a constant presence near the top of the Liga MX table.

Former Pride Player Morgan Reid Allen Shares Why She Left NWSL

Some of you might remember Morgan Reid Allen (then just known as Morgan Reid), who made several appearances for the Orlando Pride during the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season. You might remember that she missed most of that season through injury, and was waived at the end of the year. She’s now spoken about her experience, and how a hip labrum tear that went undiagnosed for two years derailed her soccer career and affected her life. Fortunately, she recently had surgery to repair the injury, and she’s on the mend. Her story is absolutely incredible, and I encourage you to take the time to read about her long road to finding her medical answers.

MLS Transfer News

There were multiple moves made in Major League Soccer in conjunction with Monday’s opening of the trade window. FC Cincinnati signed 15-year-old Stiven Jimenez to a Homegrown Player deal, making him the youngest-ever signing in the club’s history. Minnesota United acquired Homegrown forward Cameron Dunbar from the LA Galaxy in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick and $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) if performance-based incentives are met.

In expansion team news, St. Louis City SC made a pair of signings, the first of which saw Aziel Jackson join the newbies from Minnesota United in exchange for $150,000 in 2023 GAM and up to $75,000 in conditional GAM. St. Louis also sent $100,000 in GAM to Austin FC in exchange for midfielder Jared Stroud.

In non-trade news in the West, FC Dallas signed Sebastian Lletget to a three-year deal that includes an option year for 2026, cementing his stay in Texas for the foreseeable future.

MLS Roster Updates

Three teams announced their end-of-season roster updates Monday, and there are a few noteworthy things to cover. Inter Miami did not renew the contract of former Lion Brek Shea, and while Alejandro Pozuelo is out of contract, talks are reportedly being held about a new deal. On the staffing side of things, Miami also signed Head Coach Phil Neville to a contract extension.

The Houston Dynamo picked up the options for Corey Baird and Ethan Bartlow, and other players, but another former Lion, Darwin Ceren, is out of contract. The Dynamo are seemingly waiting on rumored new coach Ben Olsen’s arrival to make decisions about the futures of Darwin Quintero and Fafa Picault, among others.

Finally, Austin FC declined options on Danny Hoesen, Felipe Martins, and several other players, and while the team said discussions are ongoing with a number of players about returning, the Western Conference finalists currently only have 20 players under contract for next season.

UEFA Champions/Europa League Draws

The draws were also held Monday for both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League playoff round, and there are some tasty match-ups to look forward to. In the Champions League, the pick of the bunch sees Liverpool taking on Real Madrid and Bayern Munich squaring off against Paris Saint-Germain. United States Men’s National Team fans will get to see Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea face Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile, in the Europa League playoffs, Manchester United will face Barcelona after the latter’s elimination from the Champions League. Roma vs. Red Bull Salzburg also has the makings of a sneakily good match, as Salzburg has proved to be a tricky out in European competition.

Liverpool May Go Up for Sale

Fenway Sports Group is reportedly ready to sell its controlling stake in Liverpool FC. Just 12 years after purchasing the team, FSG has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help solicit potential buyers for the team. While FSG bought the team for £300 million, the club’s current valuation may now be upwards of £4 billion. If completed, Liverpool’s sale would be yet another high profile Premier League team changing hands recently, after Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital bought Chelsea in the summer, and Newcastle United was sold to Saudia Arabian-based Public Investment Fund around this time last year.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Daryl Dike scored a penalty kick for West Brom’s Premier League 2 side in a 5-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in his return from injury.


That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/18/24

Euro 2024 roundup, MLS transfer happenings, U.S. stars on Copa America prep, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a mixed bag for Orlando’s soccer teams over the weekend, as none of Orlando City, the Orlando Pride, or Orlando City B managed to win, with a loss and two draws. The only way out is through though, and there are plenty of chances to get back to winning ways this week. Before we get to today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Pride defender Rafaelle!

Euro Results Roundup

It was another pulsating day of action at Euro 2024, with the theme of early goals and exciting contests continuing. The early contest saw Romania beat Ukraine 3-0 with a trio of very well-taken goals. Nicolae Stanciu opened the scoring in the 29th minute and a pair of second-half goals just four minutes apart sealed Romania’s first win at the Euros in 24 years. In the second game of the day, Slovakia grabbed a goal in the seventh minute courtesy of an ill-advised Belgian attempt to play out of the back, and managed to hang on for a 1-0 win. The game wasn’t without controversy, as Romelu Lukaku missed several excellent chances, and also had two goals correctly ruled out by video review. The last game of the day saw France beat Austria 1-0 courtesy of an own goal in the first half, but the biggest talking point was Kylian Mbappe’s broken nose that will reportedly require surgery.

MLS Transfer Happenings

We have several important MLS transfers to catch up on this morning. First, the Houston Dynamo have broken the club’s transfer record to sign Argentine striker Ezequiel Ponce from Greek club AEK Athens. The 27-year-old will be a Designated Player, and although he can’t play for Houston until the secondary transfer window opens on July 18, he should help a Dynamo team that’s scored the fewest goals in the Western Conference. Moving to the Eastern Conference, the Columbus Crew are reportedly closing in on a trade to acquire Aziel Jackson from St. Louis City in exchange for $650,000 of General Allocation Money, in addition to other incentives.

Finally, Tom Bogert has identified Brighton and Hove Albion’s Marc Leonard as a player who could move stateside this summer. His loan spell at Northampton Town last season saw him named the club’s player of the year.

U.S. Players Speak About Copa America Prep

The Copa America kicks off on Friday, and Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams recently spoke about how they and the rest of the United States Men’s National Team have been preparing for the tournament. McKennie spoke on how this team has never been in camp for this long before, and that the extra time is helping them iron out little issues. He also talked about his willingness to fill in wherever needed on the field, something that could be relevant for both him and Adams given the injury to Sergino Dest. For his part, Adams discussed how a bright spot to missing so much time last year due to injury was that it allowed him to spend plenty of time with his newborn son.

UEFA Investigating Racism at Euro Match

UEFA is probing an alleged incident of racial abuse that took place in the match between England and Serbia. While the complaint did not come from the English Football Association, UEFA released a statement that it was investigating Serbia for objects that were thrown and the “transmission of a provocative message.” If the charges are proven, then Serbia could face sanctions from UEFA.

Free Kicks

  • The sensor placed inside the ball was instrumental in overturning what would have been an equalizing goal for Belgium.
  • Polish television is doing some very cool things with its soccer coverage.
  • An English fan woke up still in the stadium well after his team’s win over Serbia.

That does it for me this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/17/24

Lions fall to LAFC, Pride draw on the road, Euro 2024 roundup, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well with you down in Florida and had a great Father’s Day for all you dads out there. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend, but I try to catch some action from the Euros when possible. As for our teams, the Lions lost at home while the Pride drew on the road. Before we get started, let’s wish Orlando Pride midfielder Summer Yates a happy 24th birthday. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Fall at Home to LAFC

Orlando City lost 3-1 to LAFC on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium, extending its winless streak to four matches. The Lions also remain winless against LAFC. Facundo Torres missed a penalty kick that would have put Orlando ahead before LAFC grabbed a goal late in the first half, converting a penalty of its own. Martin Ojeda scored an equalizer for the Lions in the second half, but LAFC countered with two more goals to put the match away. LAFC has won six straight league matches and is second in the Western Conference with 33 points. Meanwhile, Orlando dropped to 14th in the Eastern Conference with 17 points. It will be a quick turnaround for the Lions with a midweek matchup on the road Wednesday at Charlotte FC.

Pride, Courage Split Points in Scoreless Draw

The Orlando Pride played the Courage to a scoreless draw on the road Saturday in North Carolina at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Pride had chances throughout the match but could not score a goal for the first time this season. Still, Orlando remains unbeaten this season and is the first team this year to take any points away on the road against the Courage. After all the action across the NWSL over the weekend, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are still tied at the top with 29 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will return home Friday at Inter&Co Stadium to take on the Utah Royals.

Euro 2024 Roundup

The 2024 European Championship kicked off in Germany over the weekend with seven matches. We haven’t had any upsets yet, as Germany cruised past Scotland 5-1 in the opener on Friday. On Saturday, Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1, Spain shut out Croatia 3-0, and Italy bounced back after being down 1-0 to beat Albania 2-1. On Sunday, Slovenia and Denmark battled to a 1-1 draw. Orlando City defender David Brekalo came off the bench for a cameo appearance during stoppage time. The Netherlands overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat Poland 2-1, and England defeated Serbia 1-0, with Jude Bellingham scoring the lone goal. In today’s matches, Romania takes on Ukraine, Belgium faces Slovakia, and Austria takes on France.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend of MLS action. The lone Friday matchup saw the Columbus Crew beat New York City FC 3-2. On Saturday, the New England Revolution defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2. It was the Revs’ third straight win. Charlotte FC shut out D.C. United 1-0, Inter Miami escaped Subaru Park with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, and the Chicago Fire stunned Toronto FC with a 4-1 win on the road. Peter Luccin got his first win as interim head coach as FC Dallas defeated St. Louis City 2-0 and snapped a five-match winless streak. Atlanta United and the Houston Dynamo battled to a 2-2 draw, CF Montreal and Real Salt Lake ended in a scoreless draw, and the New York Red Bulls and Nashville SC also played to a scoreless draw. In the later matches, the Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders defeated Austin FC and Minnesota United FC, respectively, by identical 2-0 scorelines. Finally, the LA Galaxy handed Sporting Kansas City a 4-2 defeat, while FC Cincinnati needed a a Yuya Kubo hat trick to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2 on the road.

Free Kicks

  • Major League Soccer has placed Sporting Kansas City midfielder Felipe Hernandez on administrative leave as the league investigates allegations that he violated the league’s gambling policy.

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

Lion Links: 6/14/24

Orlando City prepares to take on LAFC, Lions linked with Alan Saldivia, Orlando City B draws against Chattanooga FC, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! I’m working for most of this weekend but am still looking forward to the absurd amount of soccer ahead of us. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have games Saturday, and the 2024 Euros should give us some exciting matches from teams we don’t watch all too often. Let’s dive right into today’s links!

Orlando City Prepares for LAFC

The international break is over and Orlando City is back in action Saturday night for a home game against LAFC. It’s been a difficult season for the Lions so far, and they have been shut out in three of their past five games. Points have been hard to come by at home for Orlando and a match against one of the best teams in the Western Conference won’t make that any easier. With David Brekalo at the Euros, Rodrigo Schlegel is expected to start and it would be his 100th MLS appearance. Ramiro Enrique would also make his 50th appearance across all competitions as a Lion should he take the field.

Lions Linked Reportedly Bow Out of Bid to Sign Defender Alan Saldivia

With the MLS summer transfer window looming, a rumor surfaced of Orlando City making an offer to sign Uruguayan center back Alan Saldivia from Colo-Colo in Chile. The Lions reportedly offered $1.5 million for the 22-year-old, but that doesn’t reach the $2.2 million Colo-Colo wants at minimum. The Lions reportedly would not go higher. While center back isn’t exactly a pressing need for the Lions at this time, Saldivia would have given the team a young and talented player who could anchor the defense for years to come.

Orlando City B Drops Points in Disappointing Draw

OCB hosted Chattanooga FC and had to settle for a 2-2 draw after giving up a lead not once, but twice. The Young Lions had Chattanooga on the ropes late in the match, taking the lead just before the end of normal time, only to get punched in the mouth in stoppage time and then lose the penalty shootout. It was the second straight 2-2 draw at home for the Young Lions and they’re still on the hunt for their first win this month. OCB’s next game will be on the road against New York City FC II on Wednesday.

Getting Ready for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs

The MLS NEXT Cup playoffs kick off Saturday as the best teams across four age groups compete in a knockout format. Orlando City’s U-15 squad was recognized as one of the title contenders in its age group and will take on Real Salt Lake in the round of 32 on Saturday . The team also did well in MLS NEXT Flex, and Jakob Garcia, who has scored 18 goals in 21 games, is the kind of attacker who can make all the difference in knockout matches. Orlando’s U-17 team is capable of making a run as well, although it faces a tough first match on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union, which won the 2024 Generation Adidas Cup. It should be a fun tournament, and hopefully Orlando’s teams can advance far enough to be included in the games streamed on MLS Season Pass.

Free Kicks

  • Carl Robinson is back in MLS after Atlanta United hired him as an assistant coach. The 47-year-old played for Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls to close out his playing career and also served as the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Chicago Fire Designated Player Xherdan Shaqiri reportedly wants to return to Europe. The 32-year-old has been with the Fire since 2022 but hasn’t lived up to his billing and his contract is set to expire after this season.

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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