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Lion Links: 12/14/17

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Orlando City linked to Argentinian center back, Lions pass in Waiver Draft, Nagbe to Atlanta, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Thursday again, faithful readers, which means the weekend is so close you can almost smell it from here. So are the holidays, for that matter.

But enough about smells. Let’s give you something for your eyes to see. Here’s what I’ve scraped up for your morning smorgasbord of soccery goodness:

Your Orlando City Transfer Rumor of the Day

Argentinian center back Jonatan Maidana has been linked to Orlando City over the last 48 hours or so although no formal offer has been reportedly made to his club, River Plate.

Maidana seems like one of those rumors that seems common with this club — plausible but nothing seemingly imminent or even on the boil. The Lions could use a veteran center back to pair with Jonathan Spector, obviously, after shipping a metric ton of goals and failing to find Specs a consistently reliable partner last year. Maidana would bring experience to the back line — he’s been capped four times by Argentina — but he’s 32 years old. That’s not ancient for a center back but does he fit the profile of the player the club has said it wants to sign? We’ll keep our eyes and ears open.

Here’s a shot of Maidana playing against Orlando City in a recent closed door friendly.

Image via @RiverPlatePho on Twitter.
Orlando City Passes in Waiver Draft

Another MLS Waiver Draft has come and gone and with it our excitement level is...well, unchanged. I mean, who gets hyped about the Waiver Draft? Usually anywhere from zero to two players actually change teams during this unnecessary player mechanism. A whopping two players went in yesterday’s MLS Waiver Draft, but Orlando City didn’t pick anyone up and no ex-Lions were taken. Only San Jose’s Kip Colvey (to Colorado) and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop (to Montreal) changed teams.

So the Lions weren’t involved in the Expansion Draft or the Waiver Draft in any way, which leaves only the Re-Entry Draft ahead, with Stage 1 coming up tomorrow and Stage 2 next week. If you’re unclear about the details of that one, here’s a refresher. We eagerly await movement on the player front and Orlando has a habit of pulling something together just before the holidays, so stay tuned.

Former Lion Traded to Columbus Crew

Speaking of LA Galaxy goalkeepers, Jon Kempin was dealt to the Crew yesterday for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. You may recall Kempin from his nine appearances on loan with Orlando City back in 2013. It seems weird that anyone other than Miguel Gallardo ever played with the USL Lions but it did happen sometimes.

Darlington Nagbe Traded to Atlanta United

In the blockbuster MLS deal of the off-season so far, the Portland Timbers shipped midfielder Darlington Nagbe off to the dirty south yesterday for a record $1.65 million in allocation money. That’s $0.05 million more than what Orlando City coughed up for Dom Dwyer last summer but Atlanta United also got defender Gbenga Arokoyo so it’s not quite breaking the record, in my book. The deets:

Portland receives $750,000 in General Allocation Money, at least $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, and a 2018 international roster spot. The total could rise up to $900,000 in TAM based on incentives.

Isn’t Atlanta going to need that international slot for its never-ending parade of South Americans? Maybe not. Yamil Asad’s loan expired and Miguel Almiron will likely be headed overseas either this winter or next summer.

Giovanni Savarese Says Goodbye to Cosmos, Next Stop Portland?

The Portland Timbers are reportedly close to replacing Caleb Porter with Giovanni Cavarese, who said goodbye to the New York Cosmos publicly on Wednesday. Savarese is thought to be one of the better up-and-coming coaches available after winning three NASL titles from 2013 to 2017 and leading New York to an undefeated 2015 season.

Orlando City Stadium Completes Fantastic First Year

The purple palace had an outstanding first year of existence, hosting MLS, NWSL, and USL games, a USMNT World Cup qualifier, and the 2017 Women’s College Cup. With rave reviews from players, coaches, pundits, and officials alike, Orlando City Stadium is just getting started. Florida Cup arrives in January and don’t be surprised if some other exciting events are announced in the near future.

Free Kicks
  • Among those born on this date were astronomy pioneer Tycho Brahe (1546), writer — one of the best, IMO — Shirley Jackson (1916), Patty Duke (1946), rock critic Lester Bangs (1948), Bill Buckner (1949), Craig Biggio (1965), Michael Owen (1979), and Chris Brunt (1984).

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Enjoy your Thursday and let’s get ready for the weekend.