Lion Links

Lion Links: 1/10/24

Orlando City announces preseason schedule, Facundo Torres reportedly signs new deal with Lions, latest MLS transfer news, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been riding out this snowstorm hitting the Chicago area this week by working out indoors and playing some video games to stay occupied. Besides that, I’ll be working the Chicago Cubs Convention this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Announces 2024 Preseason Schedule

Orlando City announced its full 2024 preseason schedule on Tuesday. The Lions will face three MLS sides, Brazil’s Flamengo, Rhode Island FC, and Florida International University. Training camp for the Lions will begin on Monday and their first preseason match will be on Saturday, Jan. 27 against Flamengo at Exploria Stadium. That match will be open to the general public. The club will then go south to continue its preseason training at Port St. Lucie on Jan. 29, which will conclude on Feb. 4 with a preseason match against FIU. The Lions will play against USL Championship expansion side Rhode Island FC on Feb. 7, and then play the New England Revolution on Feb. 10 (open to Society XXI members) and the Houston Dynamo on Feb. 14. The Lions’ final preseason match will take place on Feb. 17 against the Colorado Rapids.

Facundo Torres Reportedly Signs New Deal with Lions

Orlando City winger Facundo Torres has reportedly signed a new contract to stay with the Lions. The new deal will keep Torres in Orlando through the 2026 season, with options for 2027 and 2028. Torres’ original contract ran through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026. The new deal will also reportedly include a release clause, but the amount hasn’t been specified. Torres has made 63 regular-season appearances for the club, scoring 23 goals and adding 14 assists since he joined the Lions from Peñarol prior to the 2022 season. With many competitions ahead of him for both club and country, 2024 will be an important year for Torres.

Latest MLS Off-Season Moves

There were more notable moves as MLS teams prepare for the 2024 season. Inter Miami has added free agent Julian Gressel, signing him through the 2026 season, with an option for 2027. According to The Athletic (paywall), Chivas and the San Jose Earthquakes have reportedly reached an agreement on a transfer fee of a club record around $4 million for Cade Cowell to head to Liga MX. Atlanta United has officially signed midfielder Dax McCarty via free agency for the 2024 season, with an option for 2025. The Colorado Rapids reached an agreement with midfielder Cole Bassett on a contract extension through the 2027 season. Finally, FC Dallas is reportedly close to adding defender Omar Gonzalez to its squad.

Washington Spirit Name Jonatan Giraldez Costas as Head Coach

The Washington Spirit have selected Barcelona women’s manager Jonatan Giraldez Costas as their new head coach. Giraldez will stay in Spain to finish Barcelona’s current season before joining the Spirit. The 32-year-old has been with Barcelona since 2019 as an assistant coach and was promoted to head coach before the 2021-2022 season. He’s helped Barcelona win two Supercopas and two league titles. Barcelona also won last year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League, while also achieving a 50-match winning streak in league play. The Spirit will name an interim head coach who will serve until Giraldez takes over.

Free Kicks

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, and I’ll see you next time.


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