Happy Wednesday, Mane Landers! Before we get to the festivities, let's all take a moment to wish William Eyang a happy birthday. Eyang turns 22 today, and is preparing to kick off the season with Orlando City B. The Cameroonian forward played for Bodens BK in Sweden last year, and will bring his speed to Melbourne this coming season. So in his honor, we're dedicating these Lion Links to him, and making them the best Links of all time (Note: claim may not be accurate).
OCB Schedule Released
After months of eager anticipation, the USL finally released the schedule for the upcoming season, and The Mane Land has you covered for all your planning needs. Fortunately, there are only three conflicts with the senior squad and at least one team is away on all of those, so you never have to worry about what game to attend.
And like any good schedule drop, it is accompanied by instant analysis about games yet to be played between teams with undecided rosters. The USL has declared these to be the 20 most intriguing games. OCB versus last year's OCSC affiliate, Louiville City FC, makes the list. It should be an interesting battle of extremely purple proportions, but considering the amount of new teams in the league and the amount of turnover likely to be seen by many other clubs, it's anybody's guess as to what the best match-ups will be. I just know the best team will be playing in Melbourne.
Past and Future Lions in Action
Yesterday was a busy day for former and potential future Orlando City players. First off, keepers Tally Hall and Josh Ford are training with Seattle. Or in Hall's case, likely rehabbing and watching practice. Former Orlando City midfielder Mikey Lopez signed with NYCFC. Lopez played briefly with Orlando City in March of 2014 while on loan from Sporting KC. His tenure with the team was short, as he was then loaned to Oklahoma City in June. Lastly, potential future OCSC forward and current academy player Alejandro Pereira was part of the U.S. U-17 team to take part in the Aegean Cup. Unfortunately, the team fell short, losing 3-1 to host Turkey in the final. Pereira did not see the field in the game.
Pride Players on International Duty
Ashlyn Harris and Alex Morgan have, unsurprisingly, been named by USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis to the Olympic qualifying tournament. The tournament will be held between Feb. 10 and 21 in Texas. Harris will be backing up Hope Solo, while Morgan leads a surprisingly thin attacking corps. Meanwhile, Kaylyn Kyle has not been named to the Canadian squad. This is not too surprising as she has been left off most of the recent teams, though she did play significant minutes for Canada in the last World Cup. I guess this means she will be roaring and ready to go for the Pride.
- For some reason, some feel that the World Cup in Qatar is in jeopardy (note to self: see if anything odd has been going on with FIFA recently). Should the location of the tournament come up for grabs again, prospective FIFA President Jerome Chapman supports the U.S. as a location.
- Speaking of the World Cup, long time Italian and Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon will retire after the upcoming tournament in Russia. Without actually looking it up, my best estimate is that Buffon has been the Italian goal keeper since forever.
- Lastly, I close with this because it made me laugh. PAOK striker Dimitar Berbatov interviewed himself after getting sent off against AEK Athens. I look forward to the upcoming SBN blog, Berbatov on Berbatov.