Good Tuesday morning, Orlando. Hopefully Monday wasn’t too rude and your week is off to a nice start. We’ll do our best to get Tuesday off on the right foot with some Lion Links.
First, however, birthday wishes are in order for a pair of Lions: Defender Tommy Redding turns 20 today, while goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. is 25. Here’s to another year for each of them, and hopefully some increased success on the pitch for both.
On to the links.
Lions Begin Preseason with Some Questions
Orlando City held its first training session of the 2017 preseason on Monday, meaning that the beginning of the season isn’t too much farther off in the distance now. However, Kevin Molino was one of several Lions being disciplined for an “in-house” matter while the rest of the squad scrimmaged. Given the recent interest in Molino from other MLS clubs and his current contract situation, it made for an interesting first day. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“That’s a bit of an in-house matter that we prefer not to speak about.”
The Orlando Sentinel later confirmed Molino did not train because he didn’t complete his concussion test during physical exams over the weekend.
We have written about the need for City to keep Molino around and we’ve examined why he deserves to be paid more handsomely than he is at the moment. The Sentinel reported that the unsettled midfielder’s extra running was related to his failure to complete a concussion test over the weekend, so hopefully it’s just a blip for the Trinidadian, but we can probably expect more in the future as long as he remains unhappy with his contract.
Pride Add Former Arsenal Forward
Orlando Pride made an acquisition up front yesterday, bringing in forward Chioma Ubogagu from Houston in exchange for a third-round 2018 NWSL Draft selection. Ubogagu made 21 appearances for Arsenal Ladies before coming to MLS, so she brings an impressive pedigree along with her.
“Chioma is a mobile, skilled player that has tremendous potential and possesses qualities that will be a big asset to our team,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “With a history of success at Stanford and at the U23 level, we’re happy to add another forward with a nose for the goal.”
Despite her background, Ubogagu isn’t coming off a particularly impressive 2016 season in Houston, so the Pride hope that she will be able to turn that around and provide some support in the stead of Alex Morgan in France. Our own Gavin Ewbank weighed in on the move Monday.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Every MLS Team
FourFourTwo is prepping for the upcoming season just like the rest of us, and Monday FFT’s Paul Tenorio broke down strengths and weaknesses for every MLS club ahead of 2017. Orlando City’s back line is a topic of discussion, but there is plenty more to be learned from this piece in terms of familiarizing with the Lions’ opponents for the upcoming season. There’s still time for new moves to be made, so these are subject to change, but they make for solid preseason reading as teams return to training.
Seattle Reign Stronger with Canadian Addition
The Pride weren’t the only NWSL club dealing on Monday, as Seattle announced a trade with the Washington Spirit that sends Canadian international Diana Matheson to Seattle in exchange for the rights to Arielle Shipp and a pair of future draft picks in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Matheson is Washington’s all-time leader in goals and assists, so she should fortify a Seattle attack that scored 29 goals in 2016 en route to a fifth-place finish.
That’ll do it for this morning, folks. Have a happy Tuesday and check back at The Mane Land later this morning for more from Orlando City’s first day of preseason training.