Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/12/23

Lions announce roster decisions, Orlando City wins business award, Concacaf W Gold Cup draw, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone! The Major League Soccer season has come to an end but that just means that we can get into the juicy and exciting business of the off-season. In fact, we had some important Orlando City news drop, and there’s plenty of things still happening in the wide world of soccer. With that being the case, let’s get into today’s links.

Orlando City Makes Roster Decisions After 2023 Season

Orlando City has announced its end-of-season roster decisions, as well as the contract statuses of the players who are under contract with the team. There aren’t any major surprises, with the club not picking up Junior Urso’s option as probably the one thing most people wouldn’t have bet on happening. The club did confirm that it’s currently in negotiations for a potential transfer of Antonio Carlos, so you can expect center back to be one of the positions where the team looks to go shopping for this year. For the most part though, the roster remains intact, although only time will tell if players who had successful campaigns like Duncan McGuire, Facundo Torres, or Cesar Araujo, could be on the move this off-season.

Orlando City Wins Business Award

Orlando City has been named MLS’s 2023 Strategy and Business Intelligence Club of the Year. This was the first full season that the Lions have had a true strategy and analytics department within the club, and it seems to have paid off as OCSC received its flowers. The department focused its energy in several different areas, one of which was getting a better understanding of the fanbase. Personally, I felt that the club was mostly in tune with things that fans enjoyed and wanted to see when it came to game day experiences, so I’d say the department did a good job in its first full season. Congrats!

Concacaf W Gold Cup Draw

The draw for the first ever Concacaf W Gold Cup has been completed and the United States Women’s National Team now knows who it will face in group play. The Yanks have been drawn into Group A alongside Mexico, Argentina, and the winner between Guyana and the Dominican Republic. The Americans begin group play on Feb. 20 and will play all three group games in Carson, CA. The USWNT will hope to lift the trophy on home soil, but has been given a tricky draw, as it pulled the best Concacaf and second best CONMEBOL team from the possible opponents.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of United States Men’s National Team players who will be in action this week for some very important games. While PSV Eindhoven has already secured a place in the UEFA Champions League’s round of 16, Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest, and Malik Tillman still have a tough test against Arsenal today. Giovanni Reyna and Borussia Dortmund have locked up the top spot in Group F, but if they beat PSG tomorrow and AC Milan beats Newcastle, then Christian Pulisic, and Yunus Musah’s AC Milan team would also advance to the knockout round. Finally, Matt Turner is the starter again for Nottingham Forest, which has a big game against Tottenham in the Premier League on Friday.

Club World Cup Kicks Off Today

The Club World Cup gets underway today, so let’s take the time to familiarize ourselves with the field. Manchester City is undoubtedly the favorite to lift the trophy following an imperious 2022-2023 season and a strong start to this one. Brazil’s Fluminense is probably the trendiest pick to pull the upset, as it has a number of experienced players. The Club World Cup also has a lot of prestige in South America, and it’s a trophy that the club has never won. Leon is the Concacaf representative, and it’ll have the unenviable task of facing Man City in the semifinals if it can first beat Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds on Friday. The action starts today with Auckland City facing Al-Ittihad at 1 p.m.

Free Kicks

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Y’all stay safe out there.


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