Good morning! Happy Wednesday! Yesterday was quite an eventful day for Orlando City. In case you somehow missed it, Atlanta United selected Orlando City defender Mikey Ambrose in the MLS Expansion Draft, and the club then replaced him by trading for defender Donny Toia.
So both teams got a left back for Christmas. Hope all of you are having a good holiday season so far. Don’t keep pushing back that holiday shopping, because Christmas is quickly approaching us! Here are today’s links.
International Champions Cup Coming to Orlando
We’ll have more on this later today, but Orlando’s Camping World Stadium has been chosen as a site for the International Champions Cup in 2017 and 2018. Visit Orlando landed a sponsorship deal for the tournament, which features some of the world’s biggest clubs, such as Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool, and others. This is a huge deal. Nearly 800,000 fans attended ICC matches in 2016 and 70 million watched on television. While we don’t yet know which teams we’ll get, it’ll be great exposure for Orlando and a chance for Central Florida to see some of the game’s biggest stars.
Orlando City Academy Squads Shine
The youth teams of Orlando City have had a pretty successful week thus far. The U-17 boys team for Orlando City is competing in Brazil in the Atlético Paranaense U-17 International Tournament, alongside national teams from India and Uruguay, as well as the Atlético Paranaense U-17 team. On Monday, the Florida youth team beat India, 1-0. The teams went into the half 0-0, but two minutes into the second half the Lions scored. Meawhile, the girls’ U-14 team finished runners-up at the Disney Showcase. The team went 2-0-1 in group play before beating Braddock Road in the semifinals and falling to CSA’s U-14 team.
Tobin Heath Named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year
Yesterday we told you about Jozy Altidore winning U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year and Cristian Pulisic being named Young Male Player of the Year. Last night, the women’s awards were announced. Although we would have liked to see Orlando Pride captain Alex Morgan take the honors, it’s hard to argue with Tobin Heath winning. The Portland Thorns midfielder has been a beast, raising her game in 2016, scoring six goals and adding eight assists for the USWNT, helping her club team win an NWSL regular season title, and setting a league record with 10 assists in 2016. Ashley Sanchez won Young Female Player of the Year honors after captaining the U-17 squad in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and also playing in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. She won the Golden Ball at the U-17 World Cup.
MLS Cup Draws Record TV Audience
The 2016 MLS Cup was the most-watched championship match in league history. The match averaged over 3.5 million viewers, which is a 177% increase from last season’s championship. Fox averaged 1.4 million viewers in the U.S. TSN, the Canadians version of ESPN, also brought in an average of around 1.4 million, peaking at 2.7 million during the penalty shootout.
LA Galaxy Hire Curt Onalfo, Trade for Jermaine Jones
The LA Galaxy have named their replacement for Bruce Arena, who left his post to manage the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Californian club has named Curt Onalfo as its manager. Onalfo held the same position with LA Galaxy II for three seasons, going 41-20-25 and leading them to the playoffs each year. The American played for the Galaxy back in the mid 1990s, making 13 appearances. His coaching history includes assistant positions with D.C. United and the USMNT’s U-23 team. He then was the head of coach of the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for three seasons, followed by a short stint as head coach with D.C. United, where he only lasted for 18 matches, losing 12 of them. He went on to become an assistant for the Galaxy before taking over the Galaxy’s USL side.
The Galaxy weren’t done making news with the Onalfo hiring, however, as the LA club also announced the acquisition of midfielder Jermaine Jones from the Colorado Rapids. Jones’ rights were acquired in exchange for a 2017 first-round SuperDraft pick.
Check back with The Mane Land later for more on the International Champions Cup and all your Orlando City news. Enjoy your Hump Day.