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Lion Links 1/5/24

Orlando City signs Nicolas Lodeiro, Luca Petrasso linked with loan move, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett join Gotham, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to the first Friday of 2024! I don’t have many plans beyond reading and sorting out a general budget guide for the year, but it should still be a pretty nice weekend. I also have some new furniture heading my way, which will be nice to finally have after a long wait. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B defender Nabi Kibunguchy!

Nicolas Lodeiro Signs With Orlando City

Orlando City signed attacking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro to a contract that will keep him in purple through 2024, with an option for 2025 as well. The Uruguayan is a solid signing by Orlando, as he won’t take up a Designated Player spot and knows what it takes to lift trophies in this league. Lodeiro brings plenty of experience and talent to Orlando after eight years with the Seattle Sounders, winning the MLS Cup twice and the Concacaf Champions League in 2022. He will replace Mauricio Pereyra, who parted ways with Orlando following this past season, as the team’s No. 10 and should bring a bit more of an attacking edge to the position. It will also be nice for Orlando’s younger attacking players to learn from the MLS veteran.

Luca Petrasso Linked With Loan to Italy

Orlando City left back Luca Petrasso is reportedly set to head out on loan to join a Serie B club in Italy. While the clubs interested in him weren’t specified, some time studying abroad should only benefit the 23-year-old.

Petrasso joined Orlando in November of 2022 in a trade with Toronto FC that saw up to $400,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) sent the other way. After starting in 21 regular-season games for Toronto in 2022, Petrasso only started in four games for Orlando this past season. While he did start in both of Orlando’s draws against Tigres in the Concacaf Champions League, Rafael Santos won the starting left back job as the season rolled on.

OCSC and Duncan McGuire Reportedly Negotiating New Contract

The Athletic‘s Tom Bogert detailed what he’s heard regarding MLS players so far this transfer window (paywall), and there were some interesting tidbits regarding Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire. The Lions and McGuire are reportedly in talks over a new contract while he receives interest from clubs abroad. Orlando has already rejected two loan bids from Blackburn Rovers, and a third is expected from the English club according to Bogert. I hope the club remains steadfast in keeping McGuire from heading to Europe too soon, not only for him to keep scoring in Orlando, but for him to get rest this off-season before what should be a busy year for club and country.

Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett Join NJ/NY Gotham FC

Gotham FC added two more notable free agents, signing American duo Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett to contracts through 2026. They both join the club after playing for OL Reign, which lost to Gotham in the 2023 NWSL Championship. Both players were on the USWNT roster that won the 2019 World Cup, with Lavelle scoring three goals and earning the Bronze Ball award. Lavelle should give a boost to a Gotham side that quietly only scored 25 goals in 22 games last season. Sonnett, who was traded to the Orlando Pride in 2020 but never played due to the pandemic, found a role as a defensive midfielder for the Reign. Gotham has been considerably active during free agency, getting Tierna Davidson’s and Crystal Dunn’s signatures this off-season as well. While the talent these players bring to Gotham is obvious, I’m curious to see if there will be any difficulty fitting all of these players into a team that just won the NWSL Championship.

Colorado Rapids Sign Zack Steffen, Reportedly Eye Djordje Mihailovic

The deal between the Colorado Rapids and Manchester City for American goalkeeper Zack Steffen has officially crossed the finish line, with the New England Revolution also receiving $50,000 in GAM from Colorado for his discovery priority. Steffen returns to MLS on a deal through 2026, with an option for 2027. The Rapids could have used a goalkeeper like Steffen last season, drawing in half of their 34 games and conceding 54 goals.

Colorado is also interested in improving its attack by bringing in American midfielder Djordje Mihailovic from AZ Alkmaar, according to The Athletic (paywall). Mihailovic will reportedly join Colorado as a Designated Player for a club-record transfer fee over $3 million. He’s played less than 300 minutes for AZ this season, and the Portland Timbers, Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati, LAFC, and New York Red Bulls were also interested in him.

NWSL Revises Competitive Guidelines for 2024

The NWSL announced big changes for the league and it has doubled its salary cap, raising it to $2.75 million. The increase in the salary cap coincides with the announcement that teams have until the final day of 2026 to spend their Allocation Money, as that system is being phased out. As part of that, Allocation Money is now no longer required to pay for trade and transfer fees. A soft cap for spending on transfer fees will be in place as well, with clubs losing cap space if they spend over $500,000. Teams can also now add four players through the Under-18 Entry Mechanism introduced last year.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Kamal Miller was officially traded from Inter Miami to the Portland Timbers in exchange for up to $775,000 in GAM and an international roster spot.
  • The New England Revolution bolstered their back line by signing center back Jonathan Mensah as a free agent. The 33-year-old now reunites with Head Coach Caleb Porter in New England.
  • American forward Timothy Weah scored his first goal for Juventus in incredible fashion in his team’s 6-1 win over Salernitana in the Italian Cup’s round of 16.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/20/24

Lions and Pride win, MLS weekend recap, Manchester City wins Premier League title, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It was another good weekend for our teams, as Orlando City and the Pride both won their respective matches. I’ve been busy covering high school playoff action with soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and softball. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Pull Out Late Win on the Road

Orlando City pulled out a late 1-0 win on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday. Jack Lynn came off the bench and scored the lone goal in this match for Orlando to grab the three points. Duncan McGuire started the match but had to be substituted out early in the first half due to injury and was replaced by Lynn. The Lions are on a three-match unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw at home against Inter Miami on Wednesday. Orlando City moves up to 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. The Lions return to action on Saturday to face the Columbus Crew at Inter&Co Stadium.

Orlando Pride Win Against Seattle Reign FC

The Orlando Pride won their seventh straight match after a 3-2 win against the Seattle Reign at Lumen Field on Sunday. There were plenty of goals in this one, with Barbra Banda lifting the Pride to their first ever win in Washington against the Reign. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 10 matches and the Pride sit atop the NWSL table with 24 points. The Pride return home for a Friday night matchup against the Portland Thorns at Inter&Co Stadium.

MLS Weekend Recap

It was another busy weekend in MLS, with four rivalry matches taking place. Let’s start with the Hudson River Derby, as New York City FC edged past the New York Red Bulls 2-1. Real Salt Lake got a thrilling 5-3 win against the Colorado Rapids in the Rocky Mountain Cup. In Canada, Toronto FC cruised past CF Montreal with a 5-1 victory. The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas battled to a 1-1 draw down in Texas. FC Cincinnati defeated St. Louis City SC 3-1, while the Columbus Crew beat the Chicago Fire 3-1 as well.

The Philadelphia Union shut out the New England Revolution 3-0 to snap its six-match winless streak. Austin FC won 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City, Minnesota United handed the Portland Timbers a 2-1 defeat, and Inter Miami got a late goal from Leonardo Campana for a 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Manchester City Wins English Premier League

Manchester City defeated West Ham 3-1 to win a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday with 91 points on the final day of the season. Phil Foden scored twice in this match as Manchester City became the first club to win four straight Premier League trophies. Arsenal defeated Everton 2-1 but ended up short of the title, finishing second with 89 points. Liverpool won in Jurgen Klopp’s final match as manager, beating Wolves 2-0 to finish third. Aston Villa finished fourth despite a 5-0 loss to Crystal Palace, Tottenham finished fifth, and Chelsea finished sixth in the table. Luton Town lost 4-2 at home to Fulham to finish 18th, officially joining Burnley and Sheffield United in being relegated to the EFL Championship next season. 

Free Kicks

  • Former Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, with an option for another year. Manchester United won its first major trophy earlier this month, winning the Women’s FA Cup.
  • Former USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein has agreed to play for NPSL side Tallahassee SC in their summer season. He made his debut on Saturday as the Battle Lions won their opener 2-0 against the Miami Dutch Lions FC.
  • According to Tom Bogert, new MLS expansion side San Diego FC is reportedly closer to sealing a move to sign Chucky Lozano over from PSV Eindhoven.
  • Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi announced he will leave the club after its Premier League season ended in a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Sunday. 
  • Bayer Leverkusen completed its Bundesliga season unbeaten with a 2-1 win over FC Augsburg. The club also made history as the first team in the history of the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss. 

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: 5/17/24

MLSPA releases player salaries, Duncan McGuire discusses move to Blackburn, Orlando Pride prepare for the Seattle Reign, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Friday! The weekend is nearly here, with plenty of soccer both here in the domestic leagues and abroad. I have a pretty packed weekend but am looking forward to watching Orlando City and the Orlando Pride in action. It should be a nice next few days, so let’s get it started with today’s links!

MLSPA Releases Player Salaries

The Major League Soccer Players Association unveiled the base salary and guaranteed compensation information for every player under contract with the league as of April 25 — except Wilder Cartagena, apparently. Luis Muriel is the highest-paid Orlando City player, and his $4.3 million in guaranteed compensation is the 12th most in the league, while his base salary is just over $2.83. As for other Orlando newcomers, Nico Lodeiro’s compensation is $800,000 and David Brekalo’s is $683,000.

Lionel Messi predictably tops the list of all players with $20.4 million guaranteed for playing with Inter Miami. To put that number into perspective, it’s more than the compensation of every team in the league except his own team (Miami), Toronto FC, Nashville SC, and the Chicago Fire. Orlando City is 22nd in the league in compensation, clocking in at $15.07 million.

Duncan McGuire Weighs In on Moving to Blackburn

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire had a hurricane of an off-season due to a transfer saga that nearly saw him join Blackburn Rovers in England. An administration error by Blackburn prevented the move from going through, and McGuire ultimately returned to Orlando. In the time since, there have been reports that Orlando offered him a new contract and that Blackburn still wants him to join in the summer. McGuire spoke about whether he is still interested in a move to Blackburn after the difficult experience.

“It’s tough to say,” McGuire told GOAL.”That was a pretty bad mistake, a pretty bad mistake by them. I’d be open to maybe having a conversation but it would have to be a lot to get me to go back there. On the plane ride back, I just felt like my tail was between my legs. I asked my agent how often this happens and he was like ‘This doesn’t happen’.

“I didn’t burn bridges with my teammates or have it be like ‘Oh you wanted to leave and now you’re back’. When I got back, it was like I never left.”

Orlando Pride Prepare for the Seattle Reign

The Orlando Pride will take their six-game win streak on the road for a match against the Seattle Reign Sunday night. The Reign are coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Portland Thorns in their sixth defeat of the season, but Pride Head Coach Seb Hines discussed how the Reign played better in that match than the score suggests. The Pride have also never won in Washington, and the turf and atmosphere of Lumen Field could give Orlando some trouble after a long trip. Injuries, particularly to the midfield, have made things difficult for the Pride, but midfielder Morgan Gautrat detailed how the team’s chemistry has helped them get results despite the adversity.

Nashville SC Fires Gary Smith

Nashville SC has parted ways with Gary Smith, who had been the club’s only head coach while in MLS. Smith joined Nashville back in 2018, coaching the team for two seasons in the USL Championship before. With a defensive style, Smith led the team to MLS playoff appearances in all four years but couldn’t put together a deep run. Nashville is currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and Rumba Munthali will serve as the club’s interim head coach while the club searches for a new permanent coach.

Charlotte FC Transfers Enzo Copetti Out

Another Designated Player is leaving Charlotte FC, as the club transferred Enzo Copetti to Rosario Central in Argentina’s top flight. The forward recorded eight goals and three assists across all competitions while with Charlotte, and has played less than 500 minutes this season. Copetti is the latest Designated Player transferred out since Dean Smith took over as Charlotte’s head coach, with Kamil Jozwiak sent to Granada and Karol Swiderski loaned to Hellas Verona. Despite the turnover, Charlotte sits fifth in the Eastern Conference and could make some noise this season if it brings in the right players in the summer transfer window.

Free Kicks

  • Former Lion Miguel Gallardo spoke with the folks over at The Blazing Musket about the New England Revolution and the art of goalkeeping.
  • Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Derek Sanderson, who played for many teams across many leagues back in the 1980s, including the American Soccer League’s Orlando Lions.

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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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/16/24

Orlando City draws with Inter Miami, Orlando City B loses in Ohio, Austin awarded 2025 MLS All-Star Game, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

I hope you’re all having a nice and easy start to your Thursday morning. Orlando City’s match Wednesday night could’ve gone worse, but could’ve gone better as well. As far as rivalry games go, it probably won’t be all too memorable, but I still hope you enjoyed yourself if you went to the game. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Orlando City Draws Inter Miami at Home

The Lions hosted rival Inter Miami and had to settle for a scoreless draw that featured solid chances for both sides. Orlando remains shorthanded defensively, but Pedro Gallese and the back line of Rodrigo Schlegel, Wilder Cartagena, and David Brekalo did well to get a clean sheet against a Miami side that leads the league in goals by a wide margin. Familiar attacking struggles plagued the Lions though with many chances going unfinished. The Lions will now turn their attention to a trip across the country for a match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Orlando City B Falls On the Road

After earning its first home win last week, Orlando City B was handed its first road defeat of the season in a 4-3 loss against Columbus Crew 2. OCB was without Yutaro Tsukada, who made his debut with the first team, but the team still did well generating chances on offense. The Young Lions took the lead on two different occasions in the match, but they ultimately couldn’t hold on for a result in a rollercoaster of a match. There’s plenty of time for Head Coach Manuel Goldberg to get his team ready for its next match, which is set to take place at Osceola County Stadium on May 26 against Huntsville City FC.

Orlando City Fined After Match in Philadelphia

Following Orlando City’s win over the Philadelphia Union, the club and Head Coach Oscar Pareja have been issued fines by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for the team violating the mass confrontation policy for the second time this season. The violation took place in the 86th minute at Philadelphia, when the Union were awarded their second penalty of the game. Gallese, Nicolas Lodeiro, Ivan Angulo, and Duncan McGuire were issued fines for their role in things as well.

Luis Muriel was also fined an undisclosed amount for embellishment during an incident with Damion Lowe in the 81st minute of the match. You can judge for yourself if the MLS Disciplinary Committee got it right, but what’s not up for debate is that the Lions got the job done on the road and survived an obscene amount of stoppage time.

Austin Will Host 2025 MLS All-Star Game

MLS announced that next year’s MLS All-Star Game will take place at Q2 Stadium in Austin. It will be the first time the event is held there and the first time Texas has hosted it since Houston had it back in 2010. The official date, along with what team the MLS All-Stars will play against, will be announced at a later time. Austin FC entered the league in 2021 and every game played at Q2 Stadium has sold out. There is a strong soccer community there, and I’m glad it will get a chance to show the league what it is all about. I also really like the graphic promoting the event and feel it captures Austin fairly well.

Free Kicks


That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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