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Lion Links: 1/13/17

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MLS schedule released, Pride add two players, Bodz’ first training in Tampa, Mateos rejects China, and more!

MLS: Orlando City SC at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Friday the 13th, friends. With the SuperDraft set to take place in just a few short hours, there certainly will be plenty of MLS news to go around. Orlando City SC doesn’t hold a single pick for the first two rounds that will be featured this afternoon, but that doesn’t mean the Lions won’t be making a selection by the end of the day (they could trade for a pick). Until then, we’re going to jump right into some links.

MLS Schedule Released

After MLS announced all home openers, including OCSC’s against New York City FC, back in December, the league released the full schedule on Thursday. The Lions will get the opportunity to take on both newcomers to the league, Atlanta United and Minnesota United.

Orlando will face Atlanta twice in 10 days, the latter of which will be the first sporting event hosted at Atlanta’s new billion-dollar stadium. Minnesota, on the other hand, is likely to be the more interesting match-up of the two. Former Lions coach Adrian Heath will host Orlando City on May 27 at his new home, TCF Bank Stadium.

Jason Kreis’s side will face off against all Western Conference opponents once, and all Eastern Conference teams that are not New York City FC, Columbus Crew SC, or Atlanta United twice. Orlando City will face those three teams on three occasions, visiting Atlanta twice and hosting Columbus and New York twice.

Pride Select Evans and Driesse via NWSL Draft

The Orlando Pride entered Thursday’s NWSL College Draft with the 22nd and 32nd overall picks. With the No. 22 pick, Tom Sermanni’s side added forward Danica Evans. Evans is a regular for the United States U-23 team, and finished her final collegiate season at the University of Colorado with 11 goals and six assists. “I feel like I can bring a good work ethic. I like to think I’m good at finishing and scoring, so I hope I can bring some goals to the team this year,” Evans told our Austin David.

With the Pride’s second pick of the day, they addressed the midfield with Nickolette Driesse of Penn State. Driesse started her collegiate career at Florida State before wrapping up her final season as the Nittany Lions’ co-captain. Interestingly enough, she won a national championship with both teams. “It feels great, especially by Orlando. I have a few friends up there, so it’s really cool to have this opportunity, especially to play in the NWSL.” Driesse said.

Luke Boden Looking Forward to a Challenge in Tampa Bay

Luke Boden spent the past two years in MLS with Orlando City after four seasons in the USL with the club. Despite some interest from teams around the league, the veteran left back made the decision to transition back to the USL with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in order to stay close to home.

Over the course of his two MLS seasons, Boden made 43 appearances for the Lions, wrapping up his stint in Orlando with one goal and seven assists. With all of that said, he had some words as his first training session with Tampa Bay came to an end.

We wish Bodz the best with his new club. After six years of service to the club, he will always be a Lion in our hearts.

Mateos Turned Down China in Favor of OCSC

David Mateos arrived in Orlando in July 2015 after a career in Europe, including seven years in the Real Madrid system. Mateos was never able to leave his mark on the senior team in Madrid despite making the 18-man roster on a couple of occasions.

Before coming to Orlando, the 6-foot-3 center back made a stop in Hungary to ply his trade with Ferencvarosi TC. In three seasons with the club, he played an important role in them qualifying for Europa League.

In a rather fiery engagement via Twitter, 90’ Ninety announced that it had terminated its contract with Mateos after the Spaniard elected to fight for his place in Orlando.

I know next to nothing about this company that claims to have broken things off with Mateos, but even to me, this seems like a rather unprofessional way to go about things. Mateos apparently agreed with me, and fired this back in response.

Weird, I know. Mateos has yet to live up to the expectations when the club signed him nearly 18 months ago, but this along with the improvement seen in his first full season gives me hope. If Mateos turned down the money that China has to offer, then he’s okay in my book.

Alex Morgan Features on Cover of French Magazine

Just prior to Christmas, Alex Morgan’s move to French club Olympique Lyonnais became official. She joined the club for the remainder of its 2016-2017 season, and at its conclusion, she will return to the Pride.

She was highly sought out by Lyon’s chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, and openly to say the least. Aside from any talks that may have been in the works, he consistently hinted at the opportunity for Morgan to join the club via Twitter. In reply to a tweet Morgan sent out promoting a TV series based upon children’s books, he responded with the intention of letting her know that Lyon had a spot waiting for her.

Now that Morgan’s high-profile move has been complete for sometime, the spotlight has moved away from her a bit. That was until, she featured on the cover of L’Equipe, a French magazine.

I trust you to figure out what “Irresisible” translates to.

That wraps up everything that I have for you today. Be sure to stay tuned to The Mane Land throughout the day as Austin David leads our coverage of the MLS SuperDraft. I hope that you make it through your final day at the office until Monday and enjoy the rest of your weekend.