Lion Links

Lion Links: 1/25/24

Orlando Pride sign Simone Charley, Pride preseason begins, Seattle Sounders add Pedro de la Vega, and much more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’m pretty glad that the usual warm temperatures are back, as the cold was starting to get a bit unbearable with the heat in my apartment out. I was at least able to get plenty of reading done while going through the throes of winter rot. Let’s get this Thursday started with some links from around the soccer world.

Simone Charley Signs With the Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride have officially signed American forward Simone Charley, who was initially noted as a non-roster invitee on the Pride’s preseason roster. The 28-year-old went undrafted in the 2018 NWSL Draft, but earned a spot on the Portland Thorns’ roster in 2019 and did well while there. Although an Achilles injury derailed her season with Angel City FC last year, she should be able to give the Pride’s offense some valuable depth this year. Charley can play up front or out wide, which is the kind of versatility that frees up other members of Orlando’s attack to play other positions as well. If she hasn’t lost a step due to injury and can put away the chances this Pride offense generates, it should be a solid signing by Orlando.

Orlando Pride Kick Off Their Preseason

The Orlando Pride’s preseason is in full swing at their training ground at Sylvan Lake Park to prepare for the upcoming season. There’s a solid amount of returning talent, which should help the new faces find their footing sooner rather than later. The Pride had a slow start last season, losing their first four games, so Head Coach Seb Hines knows that getting the team ready to excel right out of the gate this year is important. The Pride narrowly missed out on making the playoffs last year and forward Ally Watt spoke on how that’s galvanized the team this preseason.

“I think it is fueling us,” Watt said. “Coming off that field against Houston and realizing that we didn’t make playoffs by a single goal, we knew that we had it. It was super close, and the results just didn’t go our way. But I think that we’re very determined this year — that’s all we talk about still to this day — so we’re really determined, and I think that’s going to fuel us and push us forward.”

Make sure to check out the gallery of the players in action at training as well.

Seattle Sounders Sign Argentine Winger Pedro de la Vega

The Seattle Sounders made a splash by signing winger Pedro de la Vega as a Young Designated Player. The 22-year-old joins from Lanus in Argentina’s top flight on a reported transfer fee of $7.5 million, which would be a Sounders record. He’s garnered plenty of interest from European clubs over the years, but an ACL injury in 2022 cooled things down and allowed the Sounders to add a player who could already be the frontrunner for MLS Newcomer of the Year. He’s a skilled dribbler, passer, and can score in a variety of ways. While I would love it if he was playing in purple this season, at least he won’t be playing for an Eastern Conference team.

Giants Fall as Africa Cup of Nations Group Stage Ends

After a scoreless draw against South Africa, Tunisia is the latest team to make a surprising exit in the group stage of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. It’s been a tournament filled with upsets so far. Ghana fired Chris Hughton as head coach after failing to make the knockout stage. The Black Stars fell 2-1 to an underrated Cape Verde team in their opener and allowed a pair of late goals in a 2-2 draw with Mozambique earlier this week. Algeria is also on the hunt for a new head coach, with Djamel Belmadi resigning after Algeria finished last in its group for the second-straight Africa Cup of Nations.

The Ivory Coast let go of Jean-Louis Gasset as head coach as well, despite qualifying for the knockout stage following the announcement of his exit. The host nation made the decision after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea and survived the group stage by the skin of its teeth. Emerse Faé will now serve as the interim head coach.

The bracket for the rest of the tournament is now set. Nigeria’s clash with Cameroon and the Ivory Coast’s match with Senegal headline the round of 16 action, but I think Mali’s game with Burkina Faso will be one to watch as well.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City’s preseason match with Flamengo on Saturday will be streamed on the club’s website.
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin scored in Mallorca’s 3-2 win over Girona to help his team reach the Copa del Rey semifinals. Barcelona was ousted after Athletic Club scored twice in extra time to win 4-2. Atletico Madrid faces Sevilla today in the last remaining quarterfinal, with the draw for the semifinals set for tomorrow.
  • The Seattle Reign have signed South Korean midfielder Ji So-yun. She has spent the past two years with Suwon FC and made over 200 appearances for Chelsea during her time in England.
  • A 1-1 draw with Liverpool wasn’t enough for Antonee Robinson and Fulham to reach the Carabao Cup final, losing on aggregate. Liverpool will take on Chelsea on Feb. 25 at Wembley Stadium.
  • Union Berlin’s head coach, Nenad Bjelica, was shown a red card for shoving Leroy Sane in the face in his team’s 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
  • Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is expected to miss the next 10 weeks after undergoing successful groin surgery. The 28-year-old’s contract will end this summer and he has not played for United since Dec. 9.
  • Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez officially returned to Chivas to play for his boyhood club once more.
  • We end our links with the Lions reacting to Duncan McGuire’s new look. I like to think that when the hairdresser asked him what color he wanted he just pointed at Orlando’s crest.

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


Exit mobile version