Yesterday saw the official start of Orlando City's preseason and, from the coach on down, it seems like it's playoffs or bust for the Lions this season. With that in mind, let's dive on in to today's Lion Links as we are more than ready for the season to begin (after we wish Orlando City B's Jonathan Mendoza a happy 26th birthday).
Budalic is the Man for Orlando City
It hasn't taken long for the Orlando front office to get over former GM Paul McDonough leaving with the announcement that Niki Budalic will be joining the team as Assistant General Manager. Budalic will serve in his role alongside club patriarch Phil Rawlins, and he comes to the club with an extensive soccer background and an Orlando City connection.
Orlando's City Stadium News
After many obstacles in building a privately funded stadium, Orlando City Soccer Club made its final breakthrough yesterday when the City Council of Orlando agreed to sell the club the last piece of land it needs to finish stadium construction for $18 million.
However, celebrations were to be short-lived, as almost immediately after the news was released, a lawsuit was filed claiming that the eminent domain provisions used by the city to secure the land were invalidated by the sale. However, this lawsuit is unlikely to cause any delays to the stadium's construction or opening.
Nocerino Still a Go for Orlando City?
After reports earlier this month of Orlando City's interest in AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino, it seems that this move may be gathering a little more steam after AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani told reporters that he is expecting a bid from an unnamed MLS side soon. The midfielder is already familiar with one Orlando City player, Kaká, from when Orlando's talisman played for the Rossoneri back in 2013.
Orlando Pride Players Have a Successful Weekend
Regardless of the outcome in the final, the Orlando Pride will have a winner of this year's Westfield W-League in Australia. Forward Jasmyne Spencer scored the only goal of the game in the semifinal for Sydney FC against Canberra United, and defender Steph Catley will line up against her teammate for Melbourne City FC after it defeated Brisbane Roar 5-4 on penalties.
However, neither Spencer or Catley will be the first champion within the Pride's squad as that honor went to Englishwoman Lianne Sanderson, who won the Greek Women's League with Apollon Limassol last week.
Finally, Catley is celebrating her 22nd birthday Down Under today. Happy Birthday, Steph!
The Copa is Coming
With less than one month until the official draw on Feb. 21, Copa América Centenario tickets went on sale yesterday to MLS season ticket holders. However, with a three-game package at the Orlando Citrus Bowl costing $275, you might want to wait until you know who will be playing before splashing the cash.
Lion Links Round-Up
- Former Lion Eric Avila is trying out with current the MLS champion Portland Timbers. If he makes the squad, he will come to town with the Timbers on April 3.
- Ex-Orlando City GM Paul McDonough has wasted no time in getting his roster started at Atlanta United with the announcement that they have signed GK Alexander Tambakis.
- The New York Times takes a look at former USMNT head coach Bob Bradley's time with Le Havre in Ligue 2, and offers a reason why he isn't getting more attention for high-profile head coaching positions despite one of his discoveries being signed by EPL side Arsenal.
And remember, no matter how bad your Monday was, it didn't leave you feeling like this:
So head up, Mane Landers, it's Tuesday!