Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/4/23



Happy Saturday, Mane Landers. It has been a stressful week for me as I was traveling for work. I am looking forward to this weekend more than most just to decompress and try to get life back to normal. To kick the day off, I will be tuning into the early round of EPL matches before rooting for the Seattle Sounders in the FIFA Club World Cup at noon. I personally feel that MLS obligation pulling my heartstrings as I really want to see the league and its representative push deep into the tournament. Following up on Sunday, Tottenham and Manchester City should be a great top half of the table clash to round out my own weekend of soccer action. Now, let’s check out some links from around the soccer world!

Orlando Pride Bid Toni Pressley Goodbye

Following the 2022 NWSL season, the Orlando Pride announced decisions regarding the roster. With the NWSL opening the path to free agency for qualifying veterans, defender Toni Pressley — the last remaining member of the Pride’s inaugural roster — was one of the four Orlando players out of contract but in discussions with the club. It seems the writing is on the wall as the Orlando Pride and new Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter wished Pressley the best in her future after seven years in the City Beautiful.

Jack Lynn Recaps Orlando City Preseason

After three weeks of training camp, Orlando City and Minnesota United met in a preseason scrimmage. Orlando forward Jack Lynn was a breakout player for OCB last year but is loving the intensity of the preseason with the first team.

“Training has been really good. We’re still keeping it intense. Obviously, we want to win all these competitions but we realize we’re building towards the regular season so we’re keeping the intensity high. We played a quality opponent in Minnesota, so it feels good to play another team. I think everyone was itching to play after three weeks of playing each other to get some outside competition to get the result and build off it tomorrow.”

Orlando City continues with another closed-door preseason scrimmage today against Florida International University.

Mark Geiger Named PRO Referees General Manager

The Professional Referee Organization announced the appointment of two-time MLS Referee of the Year Mark Geiger as general manager. PRO manages the refereeing of all MLS matches and oversees officiating for other professional leagues and competitions in the United States and Canada, such as the U.S. Open Cup and NWSL. Geiger refereed for fifteen years in MLS along with a resume of officiating at two FIFA World Cups, four FIFA Club World Cups, three Concacaf Gold Cups, and the Olympic games. Geiger officially retired from whistleblowing in 2019 to become PRO’s director of senior match officials.

Since his retirement, Geiger has become an educator on a global level serving FIFA as a technical and Video Assistant Referee instructor for a plethora of international competitions, including the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Seattle Sounders Enter Biggest Stage Yet

The journey to lift the FIFA Club World Cup begins for the Seattle Sounders in Tangier, Morocco. Seattle is a veteran side matched up against Egypt’s Al Ahly in the quarterfinal. While this is Seattle’s first taste of the tournament, the Cairo-based, 10-time African champion is playing in its eighth Club World Cup. Al Ahly won bronze in each of the last two editions and defeated Monterrey, 3–1, in last year’s quarterfinals.

The Egyptians took silver in the 2022 African Champions League but qualified for the Club World Cup as “host” because Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca won the continental title. Al Ahly has already eased past Oceania champ Auckland City, 3–0, in Wednesday’s first round. No matter the resume that Al Ahly is entering with, the Sounders are not ready to back down, according to goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

“This is our first time, for an MLS side, to be part of this. For them, this is charted territory. So we know we have to give them the utmost respect,” Frei said Wednesday at the Sounders training camp in Spain. “In a knockout phase right away like this, there’s no room for error. We have to be able to bring a result onto the table right away for us to move on and go to the next round. We’ve tried to work hard in preseason to make sure we’re ready, but it will be a challenge nonetheless.”

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend. Vamos Orlando!


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