Lion Links

Lion Links: 11/14/23

Lions depart for international duty, Orlando Pride make a trade, U.S. roster news ahead of Nations League games, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We now know that Orlando City will face the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Nov. 25, which should help ensure that Exploria Stadium is positively packed out. While that game isn’t until later this month, there’s still plenty happening in the soccer world and plenty to discuss today. Let’s get after it.

Lions Depart for International Duty

It seems like we just had one of these, but the international break is upon us once again. That means that a number of Orlando City players have departed to get some work in with their national teams, with a total of eight Lions receiving call-ups when including academy players. Facundo Torres and Uruguay have two matches in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, as do Wilder Cartagena and Pedro Gallese for Peru. Abdi Salim and Somalia will take on Uganda and Algeria in CAF World Cup qualifying, and he may captain the side as he did last window during his very first call-up. Wilfredo Rivera will be with Puerto Rico for the team’s final two games of Concacaf Nations League B, and academy players Tahir Reid-Brown and Luca Maxim have been called up to the U.S. U-17 and U-16 teams, respectively.

Orlando Pride Trade for Expansion Draft Protection

The Orlando Pride have made a trade with Bay FC, sending the expansion side the eighth pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft in exchange for $50,000 in Allocation Money and protection from Bay FC in the 2024 NWSL Expansion Draft. This means that the Pride will have five picks in the upcoming draft, including the ninth selection, which was acquired in a prior trade with Angel City FC. The deal gives the Pride some Allocation Money to play around with while protecting the team’s players in the Expansion Draft, although they could still lose players to Utah Royals FC, unless Orlando also acquires protection the Utah club.

U.S. Roster Update Ahead of Nations League

The United States Men’s National Team has made a small tweak to its roster ahead of the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals. Johnny Cardoso has withdrawn from the squad with a right ankle injury that he picked up before leaving to join up with the team in camp. A replacement has not been named for Cardoso, which means the roster now stands at 23 players and is short a midfielder. Regardless, the USMNT should feel good about getting the necessary results against Trinidad and Tobago across two legs, despite missing Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, and Tyler Adams in addition to Cardoso. The first leg will take place on Thursday at 9 p.m., with the away leg set for Monday.

Matt Miazga Wins MLS Defender of the Year

Matt Miazga has been named the 2023 MLS Defender of the Year. He beat out St. Louis City’s Tim Parker and Seattle Sounders defender Yeimar Gómez Andrade for the award. Miazga had a strong 2023, as he was part of 10 clean sheets and FC Cincinnati only allowed 28 goals when he was on the field. He was a worthy winner, even though I would have liked Robin Jansson to have at least been one of the finalists in consideration. FCC will have to advance to the Eastern Conference finals without him though, as he’s been suspended for yellow card accumulation, and his absence is going to be something to watch.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Antonio Nocerino has himself a new gig.
  • Emil Forsberg will reportedly be on the move to the New York Red Bulls in January.

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there.


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