It’s Saturday again, Mane Landers, and the MLS Secondary Transfer Window has closed. After Jason Kreis claimed we would have a quiet deadline day, the Lions brought in three players. I’m as excited to see Matias Perez Garcia in Kreis’ new offense as I am disappointed to see Darwin Ceren leave. But we’ve got a lot more on that trade in today’s Lion Links.
Bringing in Mikey Ambrose and Tony Rocha is an exciting step in the relationship between OCB and the main squad and it proves you don’t need to come through the academy to earn an MLS contract. Now, on to today’s edition of Lion Links:
Three Lions Loaned to OCB
If you’re thinking about travelling out to Eastern Florida State College for the match tonight, you might have a chance to see a few more first-teamers in action. Cristian Higuita, Tommy Redding, and newly-signed Mikey Ambrose have all been loaned down to Orlando City B for their match against Toronto FC II this weekend. Higuita will be serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation and is unavailable for the match against Seattle. Redding is coming off a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last five matches and will be looking to get his fitness back. Ambrose, who has been with OCB all season, is likely surplus this weekend. It’s a good move from Kreis and the coaching staff to keep players sharp — and something we saw Adrian Heath do with Luke Boden earlier this year — and hopefully it continues in the future.
Cyle Larin wins Goal of the Week
It was his 11th goal of the season, and Cyle Larin’s half-volley to open the scoring against New England was his third MLS Goal of the Week this year. Kevin Molino’s pass deflected right into the young Canadian’s path and he slotted it coolly past Bobby Shuttleworth. We’ve seen Larin make plenty of goals look easy in the past year and a half and this one was no different as it spurred Orlando on to a comeback victory.
Joe Bendik Threepeat
Joe Bendik has won his third MLS Save of the Week in a row and his eighth on the season. Bendik tipped Charlie Davies’ late attempt over the bar to preserve Orlando’s two-goal lead. It’s the second time this season that the Lions have won both weekly awards, the other time being another Bendik-Larin combination in Week 12.
Perez Garcia Trade a Loss for the Lions?
Our friends over at Center Line Soccer came out with their analysis of the Darwin Ceren and Matias Perez Garcia swap, and they believe that San Jose came out on top. Ceren is a good player and during his time in Orlando he was a key player for the Lions, but with Jason Kreis’ new system he looked to be on his way out of the starting lineup. Ceren didn’t mesh as well as Antonio Nocerino or Servando Carrasco and he’s not quite as good defensively as Cristian Higuita. Orlando’s defense isn’t quite as bad as last season (though still not good) so it’s interesting that they would use that as a reason for Ceren’s statistical decline.
Orlando managed to deal the Salvadoran while his value was still high and — in Trump-esque form — got a Designated Player and is making San Jose pay for him. Not to mention that MPG has the creative spark to fit into Kreis’ style of play. Was it a home run for Orlando? Tough to say this early, but the Lions have got more flexibility up front, another creative spark, and some Kaka insurance for a soon-to-be bench player. Hard to call it a loss.
Leicester City Owners buy Their Players BMWs
In May, there was talk of the Leicester City squad receiving a $41,000 Mercedes as a gift for winning the 2015-2016 Premier League. Instead, Leicester’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, bought 19 BMW i8s, listed at $144,000, for the champions. The blue BMWs were waiting for the team in the parking lot of King Power Stadium. Presumably N’Golo Kante wasn’t among those who received a car, but now he can probably afford his own in a slightly darker shade of blue. These are just a little awesome:
That’s everything important in the Orlando soccer world and beyond right now. Check back in tonight for our take on the OCB match and the USWNT vs. France, and again tomorrow for all of our coverage when Orlando City takes on the Seattle Sounders.