Lion Links

Lion Links: 1/31/24

Orlando City announces Concacaf Champions Cup roster, Riyon Tori will return to Charlotte, latest MLS transfer moves, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been busy sorting out our footwear department at Under Armour and covering high school basketball lately in the evenings. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Announces Concacaf Champions Cup Roster

Orlando City released its 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup roster for this year’s tournament. There were no major surprises on Orlando’s 25-player roster as the team prepares to take on Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC on Feb. 21 and Feb. 27. Duncan McGuire is included amid interest from European clubs to sign him, with Blackburn Rovers reportedly offering a $2.9 million transfer fee to sign him. Cavalry FC also released its roster for the tournament and it features forward Myer Bevan, who led the team with 11 goals last season.

Orlando City Draft Pick Riyon Tori Returning to College

Riyon Tori, who Orlando City selected in the third round of the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, has decided to return to Charlotte to play his senior season this year. Tori spoke on his desire to return to school to earn his college degree in criminal justice, wanting to be a first-team All-American, and pushing to win a national championship. Tori started in all 18 games last year, recording one goal and two assists to help Charlotte claim the American Athletic Conference tournament title. Tori and Orlando City had positive conversations before he made this decision and the club is supporting his plans to return to college.

Latest MLS Transfer Moves Roundup

It was another busy day of MLS roster moves as teams get ready for the upcoming season. The LA Galaxy have acquired winger Gabriel Pec from Vasco da Gama, signing him as a Designated Player on a contract through 2028. Across town, LAFC added left back Omar Campos from Santos Laguna on a deal through 2027, with an option for 2028. The Houston Dynamo have made a trade, sending left back Chase Gasper to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2026 MLS SuperDraft. Charlotte FC added goalkeeper David Bingham, signing him through the 2025 season. Lastly, the Vancouver Whitecaps have signed center back Bjorn Inge Utvik on a deal through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026.

Morocco Exits Africa Cup of Nations

The Africa Cup of Nations has been full of surprises, as we got another upset in the round of 16. South Africa knocked 2022 World Cup semifinalist Morocco out of the tournament with a 2-0 win. South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena scored a great goal in stoppage time from a free kick.

In the other knockout match, Mali defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 to move on to the quarterfinals. South Africa will play Cape Verde, while Mali takes on Ivory Coast this Saturday.

Meanwhile in the AFC Asian Cup, South Korea edged Saudi Arabia 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Uzbekistan eliminated Thailand 2-1 to reach the quarterfinals. South Korea will play Australia on Friday, while Uzbekistan will take on Qatar on Saturday.

Free Kicks

  • The Lions seem to be having a good time while training down in Mexico this preseason.
  • Blackburn Rovers will reportedly sell Adam Wharton to Crystal Palace for $22 million, so we’ll see if that affects the English club’s pursuit of McGuire.
  • The Charleston Battery of USL Championship are reportedly close to acquiring MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot joint-winner MD Myers from New York City FC II.

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


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