Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/4/24

Duncan McGuire noted as a top American striker, NWSL will choose 16th team in 2024, Trabzonspor will play without fans, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope the work week has been treating you well. There may not be Orlando soccer this weekend, but all of the international action and club games abroad help make up for it. I’m having a fairly busy week, but am looking forward to a charity fun run this weekend with my dad. I’m sure it will kick my butt, but it should be a nice time. For now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Duncan McGuire Among Top American Strikers

With this summer’s Copa America and Olympics coming up, CBS Sports‘s Chuck Booth ranked the best American strikers plying their trade right now. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire placed seventh, finishing above FC Dallas’s Jesus Ferreira but just below the likes of Ricardo Pepi and Jordan Pefok. McGuire only has two goals to his name this season, but there’s plenty of time for him to start turning it up a notch before an expected trip to Paris for the Olympics.

Coventry City forward Haji Wright tops the list, with Josh Sargent in second, Folarin Balogun in third, and Brandon Vazquez in fourth. Recency bias might be giving a boost to Wright after his brace against Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League, but he’s proven more than capable of delivering in big moments for both club and country.

NWSL On Track to Choose 16th Team This Year

NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman spoke about the league’s process in choosing the 16th franchise that will begin play in 2026, noting that it is on track to be selected later this year. The league’s profile has certainly increased in recent years, and Bay FC and the currently unnamed Boston team that will also play in 2026 each paid a $53 million expansion fee. There are plenty of locations and ownership groups interested in an NWSL franchise. Groups in Denver and Cleveland have been open about it, and the Minnesota Aurora are also interested according to recent documentation. A group from Tampa was a finalist during the 2022 bidding process, although it’s unclear if it will throw its hat in the ring once again. I think having two NWSL teams in Florida would be awesome, although the USL Super League’s Tampa Bay Sun FC may complicate things.

European Soccer Heats Up

The UEFA Champions League doesn’t return until next week, but there is still plenty of important European soccer taking place this week as domestic leagues and clubs near their finales. The English Premier League title race remains incredibly tight after Arsenal and Manchester City both won their midweek games. Arsenal is currently back on top, a point above both City and Liverpool, but that could change after Liverpool’s game today against Sheffield United.

In Germany, Bayer Leverkusen has a solid chance at a league and cup double after beating second-division side Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-0 to reach the German Cup final. That match will be on May 25 against FC Kaiserslautern, which also plays in the second division. The French Cup final is also set, with Paris Saint-Germain set to play Lyon after beating Rennes 1-0 in the semifinal.

Trabzonspor Will Play Six Games Without Fans

As punishment for the violent clashes following its game last month with Fenerbahce, Turkish club Trabzonspor was ordered to play six games without fans and was fined three million Turkish lira, which equates to about $94,000. Trabzonspor fans invaded the pitch following their team’s loss to Fenerbahce and fought with players celebrating the win. Police detained 12 people and two Fenerbahce players were suspended for a match. Fenerbahce held a vote earlier this week regarding leaving the Turkish Super Lig, but ultimately isn’t withdrawing until another assembly after the season.

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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