Good morning folks, and happy birthday to Mason Stajduhar! As the tragedy revolving around Chapecoense still continues to sink in day by day, it is safe to say that I am extremely grateful for what I get to do here at The Mane Land, and you as readers make that happen so I thank you.
Before we get started, today is a big day for the second youngest player on the books for Orlando City SC. Happy birthday to Mason Stajduhar! Mason turns 20 today, and while he failed to make an MLS appearance in 2016, he has consistently been a feature at the national youth ranks.
Without further ado, let’s get to what you came here for.
Ruckus and Iron Lion Firm Come Together to Support Chapecoense
If you think you’ve cried enough since the news broke that Chapecoense lost almost its entire roster and staff in a plane crash, think again. Orlando City’s two biggest supporter groups joined in unison to honor those affected by the tragedy.
“This is the best way to translate our message, to let the world know today, let Chapecoense fans in Brazil know, that we stand with them. From our home to theirs, we’re all connected.” Fawner Mazo of the Ruckus said.
While the unity, love, and respect for one another across the globe was the last thing that any of us were thinking about when we got involved with soccer, it surely stands out as something that I’m proud of at times like these.
Rawlins Family Sleeps on Street to Raise Money for Homeless Youth
To stick to the theme of good deeds, we stayed in Orlando. OCSC co-founders Kay and Phil Rawlins joined the Covenant House in its annual Sleep Out: Executive Edition and slept outside on one of the coldest nights of the year.
With just a a box and a plastic bag, the couple spent the night on an old basketball court on East Colonial Drive hoping to raise awareness and money to give back to the community.
Thanks to the help of 52 other volunteers willing to trade in their warm, cozy bed for the cold, hard ground, the event raised more than $81,000 just in Orlando. As a whole, the Covenant House has been able to raise $6,447,372 across 18 cities in the United States and Canada through this event.
Alex Morgan Reportedly Visits Lyon
Alex Morgan could very well be leaving Orlando. After becoming the face of the Orlando Pride, there have been rumors swirling that Olympique Lyonnais has interest in signing Morgan. While Morgan’s husband, Servando Carrasco, plays in the same city in MLS for Orlando City, Lyon has had success luring talented Americans to France.
Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo, and Aly Wagner have all been lured oversees by the club. Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas all but promised to sign an American player before the start of next season.
While there are plenty of hoops to jump through before Morgan could actually join the French club, it does seem that she is willing to entertain the idea. According to Romain Balland of Eurosport, Morgan at least visited the Lyon medical staff.
OCSC U-17/U-18 Academy Tops Sporting Kansas City
Despite falling behind 1-0 early, Orlando City SC Pro Academy bounced back to find an equalizer just three minutes later. From there, Orlando cruised to a 4-1 victory, finishing off Sporting KC with three unanswered goals.
17-year-old Raul Aguilera found the back of the net in the 34th minute which turned out to be the decisive goal. Mikael Martins, however, stole the show. With two goals in the run of play and the assist on Aguilera’s goal, Martins showed quality, poise, and even a poacher’s instinct to finish off a rebound for his first goal.
U.S. U-17 MNT Dominates Portugal
Who can forget this goal? It seems like just yesterday that the U.S. Men’s National Team was playing its way out of a group that consisted of Germany, Portugal, and Ghana on the world’s biggest stage. Given all that’s happened on the national soccer scene since then, it seems as though we are years, if not decades, away from memories as fond as this.
Our U-17 side might have something to say about that, however. To open up the 2016 Nike International Friendlies, they handed Portugal a 7-1 loss thanks to a hat trick from Josh Sargent, a brace from Andrew Carleton, and goals from Rayshaun McGann and Ayo Akinola.
Brad Guzan Could Return to MLS
According to FourFourTwo, Brad Guzan could potentially be the second USMNT goalkeeper to make the move back to MLS in a calendar year. Tim Howard was stellar in his return to the league and was the difference in the Colorado Rapids Western Conference Semifinal victory over LA Galaxy in penalties.
Similar to Howard, Guzan has found playing time hard to come by in the Premier League. Once featuring for Aston Villa, the USMNT back-up earned a move to Middlesborough. Unfortunately for Guzan, Boro also signed Victor Valdes who has held down the starting role from opening day.
Chivas USA drafted Guzan with the second overall pick in 2005 before he made the move to Villa in 2008. During his first stint in MLS, he earned Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2007. As it stands, Chicago Fire would have first dibs on Guzan, but as of Dec. 10, Atlanta United and Minnesota United will move to the top of the allocation order. New York FC and and LA Galaxy are reportedly in the market for a starting goalkeeper as well.
That wraps things up for today. I hope that everyone has a great Friday! Check back later today for more Orlando City news.