Lion Links

Lion Links: 2/6/24

Orlando City striker updates, Concacaf Champions Cup preview, MLS transfer news, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It’s mildly terrifying that we’re already in the month of February, but on the bright side that means that competitive Orlando City games are right around the corner. Just as time waits for no man, neither does the news, and we’ve got a lot to catch up on this morning. Let’s get into the links.

Orlando City Striker Updates

It’s been a confusing few days in the transfer market for Orlando City fans, and that same energy is still going strong. As of the time of writing this, a verdict has yet to be reached on whether or not Blackburn Rovers properly filed the paperwork for the loan of Duncan McGuire, and there are now reports that “there is a growing feeling that the deal won’t be approved.” McGuire will reportedly return to Orlando today if the deal doesn’t go through.

Fabrizio Romano says that Orlando’s pursuit of Luis Muriel is right on track and heading towards an immediate and permanent transfer from Atalanta in Italy. Whether McGuire’s loan move is completed or not, the Lions should be getting some much-needed firepower if they manage to bring him to the City Beautiful.

Concacaf Champions Cup Preview

The Concacaf Champions Cup kicks off today, so make sure you’re up to speed on the teams that will be participating this year. It’s fair to consider Club America the favorite to lift the trophy, as it’s the reigning Liga MX champion, is playing well, and was fortunate enough to be drawn on the opposite side of the bracket from some other heavy hitters. Tigres’ Marcelo Flores is a young player to watch, and it’ll be interesting to see what sort of impact Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is able to have for boyhood club Chivas. Orlando’s opponent, Cavalry FC, only gave up 27 goals in 28 games last season, so the Lions will need to be firing on all cylinders to breach the defense of the Canadian outfit.

MLS Transfer News Roundup

As usual for this time of year, there has been some transfer activity in Major League Soccer that we need to catch up on. We start with Austin FC, which has completed the signing of free agent striker Diego Rubio on a one-year deal, with an additional option year. Rubio has 53 goals and 34 assists across 165 matches in his MLS career. We stay in the Western Conference with the Houston Dynamo, which struck a similar deal for free agent midfielder Jan Gregus. The Slovakian’s deal runs through the 2024 season with an option year for 2025, and Houston becomes the fourth MLS team he has suited up for. Finally, the Vancouver Whitecaps have signed defender Belal Halbouni on a two-year deal with an option year for the 2026 season.

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of American players who will be taking part in midweek games, so get everything marked on your calendar and don’t miss out. Brandon Vazquez and Monterrey kick off Concacaf Champions Cup action today on the road against Comunicaciones. Wednesday has Giovanni Reyna, Matt Turner, and Nottingham Forest facing off against Bristol in the FA Cup; while Jordan Pefok, Joe Scally, and Borussia Mönchengladbach take a trip to play Saarbrücken in the DFB Pokal quarterfinals. Thursday then sees more cup action as Folarin Balogun’s Monaco plays Rouen in the French Cup’s round of 16.

Free Kicks

  • Take in some of the scenery from the Orlando Pride’s preseason training camp.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!


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