Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/19/23

Concacaf Champions Cup schedule released, UEFA Champions League draw, Americans in midweek action, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The ManeLand

Happy Tuesday, everyone! As we get closer to the end of 2023, my sense of time gets a bit more muddled. It’s currently exam season at the school where I work, and that means athletic schedules are all over the place, which contributes to me feeling a little all over the place. Time stops for no one however, and that means that we have plenty of things to go over this morning. Let’s get into the links.

Concacaf Champions Cup Schedule Revealed

The schedule has been determined for the first round and round of 16 matches of the Concacaf Champions Cup. Orlando City will start the tournament on the road, taking on Cavalry FC on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET. The second leg will be on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Exploria Stadium, with a 6 p.m. kickoff. Due to expected difficulties from playing so far north, the Lions will travel to Langford, British Columbia to play the away leg rather than Calgary, Alberta, where Cavalry FC is actually based. If Orlando advances, it will face either Tigres or the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 5 before the second leg on March 12.

UEFA Champions League Knockout Stage is Set

The draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 has been completed, and we now know what matchups we’ll be seeing as the knockout stage gets underway. You’ll be able to see four United States Men’s National Team players in one place, as Borussia Dortmund and Giovanni Reyna have been drawn against a PSV Eindhoven team featuring Malik Tillman, Sergino Dest, and Ricardo Pepi. Barcelona has been drawn against Napoli in a matchup featuring two of Diego Maradona’s former clubs. Finally, while Real Madrid will be favored in the tie against RB Leipzig, the news that David Alaba has a torn ACL will make matters more difficult for the 14-time winners.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of USMNT players who will be in action during the working week. Later today, Reyna and Dortmund face Mainz in Bundesliga play while Antonee Robinson and Fulham play Everton in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup. Wednesday sees Jordan Pefok, Joe Scally, and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on Paxten Aaronson and Eintracht Frankfurt. In France, Monaco and Folarin Balogun have an away match against Toulouse on Wednesday. Finally, on Friday, Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, and AC Milan hit the road to take on Salernitana.

MLS Transfer Roundup

Major League Soccer might be in the off-season but that just means that the transfers are flying thick and fast. The Chicago Fire kicked off the week by signing Tom Barlow from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for $250,000 in General Allocation Money, which could eventually rise to $400,000 if certain performance incentives are met.

FC Dallas has signed Malik Henry-Scott as a Homegrown Player. He becomes the team’s 37th Homegrown signing, which is the most in league history.

The Colorado Rapids are said to be finishing up a deal to bring Omir Fernandez to the Western Conference from the Red Bulls.

Finally, Atlanta United is said to be interested in two veteran center backs as the team looks to remold its back line.

Free Kicks

  • Former Orlando City B player Ryley Kraft is retiring from professional soccer.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Stay safe out there!


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