Happy Friday morning, Mane Land readers! I, for one, am glad that it's Friday and the weekend is upon us, as it allows me to recover from celebrating yesterday's National Drink Wine Day! Additionally, as a fan of British television, it allows me to binge on EastEnders, which made its debut on this day 31 years ago. On to today's links!
Nocerino (Finally) Signed!
After finally completing a deal with Orlando City, new signing Antonio Nocerino spoke about his time at Milan and his move to Orlando City. Will Nocerino be worth the trouble? What do you expect from OCSC's newest signing for the upcoming season?
Cristian Higuita Named to Colombian U-23 Squad
In preparation for next month's Olympic Qualifying playoff with the United States, in which a place at the Olympic Games in Rio is at stake, the Colombian U-23 National Team will play a pair of friendlies next week in Fort Lauderdale. OCSC midfielder Cristian Higuita has been called into the squad for the two friendly matches against Honduras. City midfielder Carlos Rivas was also selected, but he had to pull out due to his recent injury.
The first match of next month's Olympic playoff will take place in Colombia on March 25, with the second to be played in Dallas on March 29. Fortunately for Orlando City, the Lions don't play an MLS match between March 18 and April 3, so Higuita and/or Rivas won't have to miss any league action if called up again for those contests.
Sophomore Slump for Cyle Larin?
As part of a countdown series to the beginning of the season, with 17 days until First Kick, MLSsoccer.com's Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle has an encouraging outlook for OCSC's new No. 9. What do you expect from Larin in his second year in the league? Will he top his 17-goal output from his rookie campaign? We are similarly confident that Kid Fantastic will avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
Full Orlando Pride Schedule Released
Following up on the note from yesterday's links, the inaugural Pride home fixture at the Citrus Bowl will be a match against the reigning FIFA Women's Player of the Year Carli Lloyd and the Houston Dash on Saturday, April 23. After releasing an abbreviated list of each club's home openers on Wednesday, full NWSL schedules for each club were released yesterday. Unlike its MLS cousin, the NWSL will avoid league play during FIFA dates. Additionally, there will be a 25-day break during the month of August due to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Jhamie Chin interview
Our very own Austin David recently spoke with former Orlando City Communications Manager Jhamie Chin. Chin had been with OCSC since 2012, when he joined as an intern, before moving up in the ranks and eventually leaving the club this off-season and joining the Portland Timbers. Chin discussed a range of topics, personal and professional, in the 15-minute interview that is definitely worth a listen.
MLS News and Notes
- Chinese clubs keep splashing the cash, as Obafemi Martins has officially left the Sounders to join Shanghai Shenhua. How does Chinese clubs' spending affect MLS?
- The city of St. Louis has taken a step toward bringing an expansion MLS franchise to the Gateway to the West.
- What do Polish mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus and Austrian pop musician Falco have in common? They were both born on this day in 1473 and 1957, respectively. Joining that illustrious duo is Orlando Pride defender Toni Pressley, who turns 26 years old today. In addition to Pressley, there are several other soccer-related birthdays to celebrate including: Socrates (b. 1954), Enzo Scifo (b. 1966), Gianluca Zambrotta (b. 1977), Marta (b. 1986), and Mauro Icardi (b. 1993).
- Poor Saad Abdul-Salaam. The young Sporting KC defender's missed penalty in last year's MLS Cup Western Conference Knockout Round is to be memorialized in the most Portlandesque way possible.
- Finally, in celebration of Benicio del Toro's birthday (b. 1967), I leave you with the following: