It’s freakin’ Wednesday again. But hey, if you’ve got to have a Wednesday, at least have one with some soccer.
The Florida Cup heats up tonight with the FC Playoff consolation game and the first of two semifinals. We’ll be on hand to bring you the action as Barcelona SC out of Ecuador and Millonarios FC from Colombia face each other in the consolation match at 4:30 p.m. and Brazilian clubs Vasco da Gama and Corinthians do battle at UCF’s Bright House Networks Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Let’s get some Linking done.
Orlando City Adds Newest Lion
Danny Deakin was the only player Orlando City selected in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. The Lions grabbed the South Carolina product and England native in the third round with the No. 64 overall pick. I won’t pretend to know a lot about the 5-foot-9 attacking player but his highlight video embedded in the story linked above is fairly impressive. He may not be ready to contribute to the senior team right away — or ever, if truth be told — but you never know when you’ll find that rare late-round gem. Good luck to the newest Lion.
Could Another U.S. International be Joining Orlando City?
Things may have quieted on the Gregory Sertic front and the Frenchman may not be coming to the City Beautiful, but FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio dropped this little nugget yesterday on Twitter:
Had a few convos with sources in MLS this a.m. re: interest in Jonathan Spector. Two teams I've heard multiple times: Chicago and Orlando.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) January 17, 2017
It’s not surprising that Paul has heard Chicago and Orlando come up, as he works with the Fire’s TV crew and used to cover the Lions. However, Spector is from Chicago so it would make sense to bring the right back home. Orlando City seems set at fullback with Donny Toia, PC, Rafael Ramos, and Kevin Alston, but the addition of a veteran like Spector wouldn’t be unwelcome. For what it’s worth, Goal.com says the Birmingham City defender is considering North America when his contract expires this summer.
Redding Making his Mark with U.S. U-20s
Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel recently caught up with U-20 USMNT boss Tab Ramos and Orlando City defender Tommy Redding. The 19-year-old Lions center back may be away from his club teammates a bit this year. Redding is trying to help the U-20s advance to the FIFA U-20 World Cup beginning in February with the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Costa Rica. Apparently Redding has been using his off-season wisely and is becoming a leader. He recently captained the U.S. U-20s and Ramos told DelGallo that the young Lions Homegrown Player is showing his leadership qualities.
“I’ve been involved as a head coach here for four or five years, and with the U-20 cycle for seven to eight years because I was assisting before that, and I think this is probably the strongest cycle that we’ve had,” Ramos said Monday after the first morning training session of January camp. “Tommy is one of the leaders of the group. I would be disappointed if Tommy is not one of the guys who really pushes this team to qualify for the World Cup.”
Redding developing as a leader in the national team system can only be a good thing for Orlando City.
Larin Faces the Press at MLS Media Day
Orlando City striker Cyle Larin endured a grueling day of interviews at Major League Soccer’s Media Day yesterday. Larin showed up on social media posts throughout the day but this one is my favorite:
The Canadian international knows what’s up when it comes to pizza toppings.
Apparently Kaká would like to stay in Orlando after 2017...Jacksonville Armada announced the return of seven players, including former Orlando City defender Bryan Burke. No mention of Miguel Gallardo or Mechack Jerome, though...Speaking of former USL Lions, Dom Dwyer is applying for U.S. citizenship and could be nearing a USMNT call-up...Among those born on this date are iconic actor/comedian Oliver Hardy (1892), Cary Grant (1904), Danny Kaye (1911), David Ruffin of the Temptations (1941), former wrestler Ted DiBiase (1954), Kevin Costner, (1955), hockey legend Mark Messier (1961), open wheel racing’s Christian Fittipaldi (1971), Pep Guardiola (1971), hockey’s Brian Gionta (1979), England international goalkeeper Robert Green (1980), Green Bay Packer Julius Peppers (1980), and How I Met Your Mother’s Jason Segel (1980).
I leave you with this awesome video our own Jorge Gallardo created: