Happy Thursday, readers. I realize it’s been 76 years, but please take a moment to remember those U.S. servicemen who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor on this date in 1941.
That’s a somber thought to start the day. Sorry about that.
Let’s get to feeling better with a plate full of piping hot Lion Links.
Lions Linked with Panamanian Midfielder
The rumor du jour has Orlando City linked with Panamanian international midfielder Manuel Vargas. He’s been plying his trade with Chorillo in the Panamanian domestic league, where his team won the apertura in 2017. I’ll admit I know little about this player, other than what’s available online. He’s a 26-year-old defensive midfielder, has been capped eight times for Panama (per Soccerway), and arrived at Chorillo via free transfer from Tauro on July 1. He’s played in the CONCACAF Champions League and could see time with Panama at the World Cup in 2018. Vargas has played in 110 games (82 starts) in the Panamanian league since 2010, logging 7,143 minutes and scoring one goal, with 32 yellow cards and one straight red. Could he be the new base of Jason Kreis’ diamond?
Winter is Coming...Back?
Don’t toy with our emotions, Scott Sutter. The Orlando City right back is enjoying his off-season after playing back-to-back seasons in Switzerland and the U.S. and he found an old friend during his travels — one that he says he’s trying to sweet talk back to the City Beautiful.
I’m not sure which would both surprise and delight me more — Winter’s return to Orlando City or Sutter joining the cast of Peaky Blinders.
This is How “Rumors” Get Started
I enjoy soccer rumors of all sorts, from the ridiculous (Zlatan to Orlando! James Rodriguez to Orlando! Everyone to Orlando!) to the plausible. I especially like the rumors that are obvious. To wit:
Source: Pierre Da Silva from Orlando City is training with Benfica.— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) December 7, 2017
Note — “sources” may include:
✈️ ⚽️— Pierre Da Silva (@PierreDasilva11) December 2, 2017
Not too much of a stretch to figure this one out, given Orlando City’s affiliation with Benfica and the fact that club technical staff were just over there.
Monica Finds the Net for Atleti
Orlando Pride defender Monica scored her first goal for Atletico Madrid, netting the game-winner in the 78th minute of Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Espanyol (linked story in Spanish but right click in Chrome and select ‘translate to English’). The Atletico women have won 11 times and drawn once in 12 matches, and are top of the table in Spain. Monica, like the Pride’s bunch who are killing it in Australia, is helping her winter team have success. She seems pretty pumped up about it, too.
¡Su primer gol con la rojiblanca vale TRES PUNTAZOS!— At. Madrid Femenino (@AtletiFemenino) December 6, 2017
@MonicaHickmannA #AúpaAtleti #EspanyolAtleti pic.twitter.com/v4U813hIqh
OCB Gone Until 2019?
The USL has a volatile landscape right now. I didn’t think too much of Orlando City B cutting most of the team because the young Lions did the same thing a year ago. Ant Pulis shuffling off to St. Louis is completely understandable — he’s a young coach looking to climb the ladder and was saddled with a developmental squad that affected his win/loss total and restricted his ability to team build, after all. But with all that’s been happening this off-season, it’s hard to ignore stuff like this:
Some @USL news from a highly placed source: Orlando City B is to go on hiatus in 2018 and come back in @USL_D3 in 2019.— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) December 7, 2017
The Rochester Rhinos have option to go to USL D3 in 2019 too.
Orlando City told the Orlando Sentinel the club was committed to OCB in 2018, but things can change because life comes at you fast. Look, I can’t really say what’s going on, and mostly because my sources generally shrug their shoulders when I ask what’s up with OCB. It’s the darnedest thing because I’ve never had so many people tell me they honestly have no idea what’s going to happen. I guess we’ll keep chasing the story and we’ll all find out soon enough.
No Lions Taken in SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft
The SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft for LAFC took place this week and nobody from Orlando City was taken. Our friends at Angels On Parade, SBN’s LAFC site, selected five players for their team from the unprotected lists of the other MLS blogs. Personally, I doubt more than one or two of their picks will actually be unprotected and/or left alone due to a back-door deal. I handed in our list and I let them choose from players like Tony Rocha, PC, Rafael Ramos, Carlos Rivas, and Will Johnson.
- In my haste to tell you about Alex Morgan being named a finalist for U.S. Female Player of the Year yesterday, I forgot to give you the finalists on the men’s side (spoiler: Christian Pulisic will win).
- This is a good read from FourFourTwo on how Laura Harvey went from the Seattle Reign to a supposed job with the U.S. Soccer Federation, to Utah Royals FC.
- Former Columbus Crew and USMNT striker Brian McBride said Crew ownership has been handling the potential relocation to Austin “incredibly wrong” in an interview with Herc Gomez. Meanwhile, a stadium site in Austin has been identified. #SaveTheCrew
- The EPL set a record by getting five teams into the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic hit a Champions League milestone.
Christian Pulisic starts for Dortmund vs Real Madrid today.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) December 6, 2017
He’ll play his 15th UEFA Champions League game, passing Sacha Kljestan for 3rd-most by a U.S. international (Jones, Beasley).
- Speaking of Pulisic, fellow countryman Giovanni Reyna — 15-year-old son of Claudio — may be getting a Portuguese passport thanks to his mother’s nationality and heading to Europe as a teenager like Christian did. Since Reyna is in NYCFC’s academy, I’m for it.
- Among those born on this date are Mary Tyler Moore Show and Caddyshack actor Ted Knight (1923), Harry Chapin (1942), baseball’s Johnny Bench (1947), Tom Waits (1949), legendary Celtics star Larry Bird (1956), wrestling’s Rick Rude (1958), C. Thomas Howell (1966), football’s Terrell Owens (1973), and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig (1990).
That’s all my time this morning. Enjoy your Thursday. We’re now just two days from finding out who gets to take home MLS Cup.