Congratulations, Mane Landers, you have almost made it through January! That means we are a mere 35 days away from the start of the 2016 MLS season. With Orlando City keeping our Mane Land staff as busy as little bees with all the soccer news of the past few weeks, we are going to be marching to the stadium on March 6 before we know it. So, to set your Sunday Funday off on the right foot (or left, if that's how you roll), let's do some links!
Many people woke up yesterday morning to confirmation of the rumor that Benfica youth player Estrela has left Orlando City. Although the club was cagey in its statement surrounding the departure, the exit is not really a surprise considering his limited playing time. We wish Estrela the best of luck with his career.
Preseason Schedule Finally Makes Its Appearance
The much-awaited preseason schedule finally debuted on Saturday. Unfortunately for fans, the opportunities to see the purple-clad lads on the pitch will be limited to the Feb. 9 Citrus Bowl open training, Feb. 13 Jacksonville Armada match, and the Feb. 27 match against Brazilian Esporte Clube Bahia. But don't despair, not only are we closing in on opening day (did I mention 35 days?!) but The Mane Land will be sure to keep you up to date with all training camp and preseason activity so you can feel like you're there. Almost exactly the same thing.
Carrasco Ready To Step Up
Full props to Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio for this awesome piece about Orlando City's midfielder Servando Carrasco who trained out in California during the offseason with a bunch of MLS star players. Carrasco is quoted as saying that he really wants to step up his game this season and earn more playing time. It's a cool read to give you a peak behind the curtain and make you think "man, I wish I coulda seen that."
Orlando Pride Signing... Probably?
A head-scratcher around The Mane Land newsroom is the non-announcement of the signing of Australian international Orlando Pride defender Laura Alleway. If appearances are anything, this video interview of Alleway before the W-league Grand Final indicates that this Aussie is one chill chick. Perhaps the lack of announcement is just going to be the laid-back "no worries, mate" approach that this fantastic player will bring to the squad. Welcome (we think!), Laura.
MLS Steals Our Idea
As avid readers, you will recall that David Rohe had a series last season called "Pride Pub" where before every match, he paired a local ale from the opponent's region with one our own and reviewed them. Well, MLSSoccer.com has clearly proven that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and brought out its own list. The beer they have chosen to feature for Orlando City is none other than the same beer David featured in our match against Philadelphia back in October.
Miazga Signing Official
With the official announcement coming from Chelsea that they have signed Matt Miazga, the reaction earlier this week was a mix of frustration at losing a great young homegrown talent, but also optimism that this signals the strength of the American soccer player on the international stage.
USMNT Ready For Iceland
Jurgen Klinsman says his mixed bag of veterans, newbies, and U-23 players, who will face off in a friendly against Iceland at the StubHub center this afternoon, are up for the challenge and ready to go. How to watch details are here. But be sure to stop back at The Mane Land later this afternoon for Daniel Byrd's preview, which will drop at 2 pm.
And, as a reminder, MLSSoccer.com is running a preseason tracker to keep up with all of the league trade news.
That's it folks... Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay tuned for The Mane Land for updates from this week's training camp out in Brevard.