Silly season is officially back in full swing as MLS clubs rush to revamp their rosters for the coming season. We’ve already had several crazy MLS deals go down, like Sean Johnson getting traded for all kinds of allocation money and Miguel Ibarra’s rights being traded from the team that drafted him to the American team he played for most recently. The most disappointing part of that deal might be that Jeff Attinella’s hopes to start might have been ripped out from underneath him. He and Zac MacMath have been incredibly unlucky.
Orlando made moves, too, signing José Aja to a four-year deal and drafting a goalkeeper in one what feels like 16 off-season drafts that take place this month. We get to take a bit of a breather from drafting for a few days now, but the news keeps on coming and we’ve got plenty of links for you to peruse.
Elite Defensive Help for Orlando City?
Alicia DelGallo of the Sentinel dropped a potentially massive bombshell on Friday afternoon. Orlando City is apparently ready to lock up more defensive help after trading for fullback Donny Toia earlier in the week. Except this time he’s allegedly starting for a European club among the top flights. That could certainly mean anything from a starter in the Hungarian league we’ve never heard of before to a recognized rock at the back. The possibilities are endless. Well, they’re limited to starting defenders in approximately 40 leagues, but that’s still quite a bit. The bureaucracy of international transfer certificates and paperwork will keep us on our toes for a few more days but maybe Jason Kreis has turned Orlando’s defense around.
Cyle Larin Finishes Runner-Up for Canadian PotY
It was Besiktas midfielder Atiba Hutchinson who won Canada’s male soccer Player of the Year, but Orlando City star forward Cyle Larin came just behind in second. He managed to finish ahead of several Canadian stars overseas, including Milan Borjan of Bulgaria’s Ludogorets Razgrad and Cardiff City’s Junior Hoilett. Both Canadian media and Canadian coaches vote on the winner.
FINAL VOTE#CANMNT— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) December 16, 2016
1. Atiba Hutchinson
2. Cyle Larin
3. Milan Borjan
4. Patrice Bernier
5. Jonathan Osorio
6. Junior Hoilett pic.twitter.com/zh9xYLr8aK
Hutchinson was given the award for his consistently good play across club and international competition. He was a member of Besiktas’ Champions League squad that finished third in their group and will drop down to the Europa League knockout rounds.
Bruce Arena Mentions Potential January Call-Ups
The USMNT’s annual January camp — colloquially known as Camp Cupcake — is almost upon us. It’s Bruce Arena’s first camp since he was let go in 2006 and he’s started dropping hints about who will get the call to attend. Camp Cupcake is traditionally full of MLS talent and younger players abroad who can afford to miss a good chunk of January, which is the middle of most European seasons. But there could be some new faces, including some after long absences. Winter Park native and current Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty was one of the players mentioned by name. Benny Feilhaber, known for his public feud with former boss Jurgen Klinsmann, will also be rejoining the team for camp. Chris Pontius and Kekuta Manneh are also in line for their first action with the team as Arena begins his sweeping changes of the program.
FourFourTwo’s Top 10 American Players
Paul Tenorio and other writers from FourFourTwo have been going through their list of the top 50 American players in the game (you can check out the whole list here) and they finally got around to numbers one through 10. The hype is stronger than ever for Christian Pulisic, who finished fourth, ahead of established national team starters like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, and Tim Howard. Fabian Johnson took the top spot, and it’s hard to argue that he’s the most talented and established American at all levels of the game. Do you agree or disagree with their rankings? Let me know in the comments.
Steve Nash in the Florida Cup?
The two-time NBA MVP will be coming to Central Florida this winter. It won’t be for the Magic, even though they could use some help at the point guard position until Elfrid Payton is consistent enough to take over the reins. No, he’ll be participating in the Florida Cup All-Star Game.
#FloridaCup's latest signing... Wait! What?— Florida Cup (@Florida_Cup) December 16, 2016
Don't miss Steve Nash playing a slightly different sport.
Jan 17 #FloridaCup2017 All-Star Game pic.twitter.com/hE5TGBpcac
Nash, who has always been an avid soccer fan and grew up playing, has always toyed with the idea of crossing over to a new sport. He’ll get a chance to showcase his skills next month. You can check out more about the Florida Cup on the tournament’s website.
Those are all of the Links we have for you today. Remember to check back often for all of your Orlando City off-season news needs and have a great rest of your weekend.