Welcome to Tuesday, Mane Landers. Hopefully you aren't suffering any President's Day related hangovers or buyer's remorse as you head to work. If you are, look on the bright side: You are one step closer to opening day. If not, mark it on your calendar now and call a party planner. Once you have done that, keep scrolling and get started on today's Lion Links.
Rafa Gets Rewarded
After making the right back spot his own last season, 21-year-old Portuguese defender Rafael Ramos has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension with an option for the two more years in 2018 and 2019. The extension will see Ramos make more than the MLS minimum and highlights the club's commitment to the young defender, despite Orlando City signing former New England Revolution player Kevin Alston in the re-entry draft this offseason.
Collin Reverts to an International Roster Spot
After not counting as an international player during Orlando City's inaugural MLS season, Aurélien Collin was a mainstay in the heart of defense. This season, however, personal matters have meant that Collin has decided to relinquish his green card, and will therefore once again take up an international roster spot for the Lions. This move by club and player leaves Orlando City in a bit of a roster conundrum if Antonio Nocerino signs as anticipated because they will have 12 internationals with only 10 international spots. Therefore, expect some trade moves before the season starts.
Crystal Dunn Scores Five Goals in USWNT Demolition of Puerto Rico
The USWNT took on Puerto Rico in the final Group A game of Olympic Qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics last night and ran out as massive winners after a 10-0 thrashing. The U.S. was already through to the semifinals after a 1-0 win over Mexico and Crystal Dunn put an exclamation point on the group with a five-goal performance to lead the U.S.
The U.S. Women will get back to it on Friday in a semifinal match-up with either Guyana Trinidad and Tobago, who won't be happy to see the Stars & Stripes on the heels of a performance like last night's.
D.C. United ‘discover' Acosta from Boca Juniors
D.C. United announced yesterday that they have signed 21-year-old midfielder Luciano Acosta from Argentinian powerhouse Boca Juniors. Acosta signed with D.C. United through the discovery process, a method of player acquisition that Orlando City fans are certainly familiar with. The player joins D.C. after it acquired his rights from the New York Red Bulls, who initially held them but failed to make him a genuine offer to join MLS. The Red Bulls received a conditional 2017 MLS SuperDraft pick for their part in the deal.
Dutch Federation Confirms Match-Fixing Attempt
The Dutch Football Federation (the KNVB) yesterday confirmed that back in 2009 there was an attempt to fix a soccer game in the lower Dutch leagues between Willem II Tilburg and FC Utrecht. The federation reports that the captain of Tilburg, Michael Aerts, midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo and a third player yet to be identified were offered 25,000 Euros each to make sure that Tilburg lost. Tilburg did go on to lose the contest 1-0, however the alleged match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, refused to pay as Tilburg didn't lose by enough goals.
Champions League News
The UEFA Champions League restarts this week and Fox Sports gives us a look at the fastest five players left in the competition. Given their top speeds, expect them to be game-changers in the knockout rounds of the competition.
Well that's all for today, Mane Landers. Keep it open at The Mane Land for Orlando City related news, and hopefully an official end to the pursuit of Nocerino.