Happy Friday! I am not your usual Links’ host today but I can assure you I still have a solid beard — just not as good — so I will do my best to carry the torch this week. Hopefully you had a good short week and you’re just a few hours from a great weekend when you’ll be outside to get a tan after this horrible 29 degree weather.
On to the links we go as it was a busy Thursday for both City and the Pride!
Lions Add Another Midfielder in a Busy Off-season
On a day we thought we were going to focus in on the Pride and the NWSL draft, Orlando City decided to steal the thunder early in the day as it acquired Homegrown player and midfielder Cam Lindley from the Chicago Fire for Rafael Ramos and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) — $50,000 in 2018, and another $50,000 in 2019.
This is a huge trade for Orlando. I know a lot of people will be hurt by the loss of one of the few USL holdovers left on the roster, but this is a very good move. Ramos was going to be buried on the depth chart after constant injury issues and the RJ Allen acquisition. Lindley undoubtedly would have been one of the best midfielders in this upcoming draft if eligible and was only on the market because of his openness on wanting to ply his trade in Europe. However, Orlando was able to secure him on a four-year deal and Lindley signed a four-year deal, so he’s on-board for the 2018 season:
I want to thank my family, UNC, and everyone else who helped me along the way. I am honored to join such an amazing organization. Can’t wait to get to work! @OrlandoCitySC #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/sb4j2XR4RG— Cam Lindley (@cam__lindley) January 18, 2018
As to how Lindley fits, Niki Budalic hasn't been dragging his feet in acquiring midfielders this off-season to replace Kaká with recent additions Jose Villarreal, Sacha Kljestan, and Josué Colmán adding to expected starters Yoshí Yotún and Cristian Higuita. But I think this is a perfect spot for Lindley. He neither has the pressure on him nor will he be expected to contribute out of the gate as he transitions to MLS speed. Ultimately, he’s a very well-rounded player that could see time (assuming a 4-2-3-1) as a central midfielder, winger, or defensive midfielder.
Sermanni Nabs Versatile Player in the Third Round; Pride Trade Inoming?
The Pride were pretty quiet on Thursday during the NWSL draft that had us in our seats for two rounds until pick 23, where Tom Sermanni found BYU Forward, Nadia Gomes.
Gomes played all four years at BYU, totaling 23 goals and 23 assists in 83 games (62 starts), and amassing close to 5,000 minutes. She’s known for her explosive speed and left foot. In the NWSL draft coverage, there was mention that her speed and left foot could give her the ability to transition into a wingback, which would be very welcome on a Pride team that is currently thin at LB until — hopefully -- Steph Catley re-signs. Tom echoed that sentiment in post draft interviews:
“She’s versatile, quick, very good technically, and left sided, so she’ll fit in well into the team amongst all our other left sided players,” Sermanni said, “I think her potential and versatility that she has I think will fit in well with us. From what we’ve seen, she’s got a good awareness of the game as well, so those are the kind of things we earmark.”
The question is if this is the only move for Sermanni in regards to draft day or is he still working. While nothing happened immediately during the draft, there were some interesting rumblings inside the draft on social media:
I'll stir the pot....Sermanni and Andonovski currently conferencing inside the daft ropes... #NWSL— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) January 18, 2018
Immediately followed by.... timeout Seattle! #NWSL https://t.co/qW6a0KIqI9— Dan Lauletta (@TheDanLauletta) January 18, 2018
Andovski, the new Seattle Reign manager, selected defender Alyson Haran from Wake Forest who would fall in line as a player Sermanni could be looking at as the defense continues to need depth.
So stay tuned, as this week just may not be done on Pride moves.
Orlando City In On New CB Rumor
Could we be seeing a new center back into the fold soon? I don’t think anyone would argue center back is now top priority on what to attack from a free agency/draft standpoint. And here we have a potential international option with Brazilian defender Lucas as the newest rumor:
Dos fuentes me han informado que Lucas de Lima, proveniente del LDU de Quito está actualmente en negociaciones con Orlando City SC. El defensa brasileño de 27 años, ha pasado por varias ligas incluyendo la escocés (Hamilton Academical FC). Estoy esperando más detalles #MLS pic.twitter.com/ixa3nu1yhP— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) January 18, 2018
Translation: Two sources have informed me that Lucas de Lima, coming from the LDU de Quito is currently in negotiations with Orlando City SC. The Brazilian defence for 27 years, has gone through several leagues including the Scottish (Hamilton Academical FC). I’m waiting for more details from #MLS
If you listened to this week’s PawedCast, Budalic had some interesting things to say about Green Cards that could be coming our way, opening up a few international spots. This could be the first one to be filled and would be a welcome addition to the defensive depth chart.
NWSL Gets Its Second Blockbuster Trade of the Week
On Wednesday, we reported about the massive trade between the North Carolina Courage and Washington Spirit as the Spirit gave away Crystal Dunn’s rights to the Courage in exchange for USWNT member Taylor Smith and Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch (full details here).
Now we have an even bigger move with Sam Kerr, Christen Press, and Carli Lloyd all on the move in a three-team deal between Sky Blue FC, the Chicago Red Stars and the Houston Dash. There are a lot of moving parts with draft picks and “players to be named later” but here’s what we know as far as who gets who:
- Chicago Red Stars: No. 24 draft pick (Megan Buckingham), Sam Kerr and (reportedly) Nikki Stanton.
- Houston Dash: No. 7 draft pick (Haley Hanson), an international roster slot and Christen Press.
- Sky Blue FC: No. 6 and No. 13 draft picks (Amandine Pierre-Louis and Casey Murphy), Carli Lloyd, Janine Beckie and another player to be named later from Chicago.
This means Lloyd goes home to Jersey, Press joins a formidable front line of Kealia Ohai and Rachel Daly, and the Red Stars only become stronger as they acquire the NWSL Golden Boot winner.
All in all, this appears to be a fairly equal trade for all involved with everyone getting a star player. It appears one of the catalysts here could have been manager Rory Dames’ and Press’ relationship:
Rory Dames on Christen Press: "Christen and I together had run our course." Says she asked to leave and he agreed, decision was mutual.— John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran) January 18, 2018
MLS SuperDraft Today
It is MLS draft day and the Lions have the sixth pick in today’s affair. To follow along, here’s SuperDraft central where you can watch live. The draft kicks off at 11 a.m.ET with rounds one and two. Rounds three and four will follow at 2 p.m. ET via conference call.
With the multiple moves in the midfield and fullback areas this off-season, we at The Mane Land can’t help but root for either a potential center back or a defensive midfielder to help anchor the center of the field. Both of those options could be there at six. For a full list of draft eligible players go here.
Follow along at the Mane Land twitter for up-to-date news today on Orlando City’s pick and potential draft day trades.
Big Bank Has Its Hands Deep in MLS Pockets
Depending on your opinion on public vs. private funds and MLS stadiums, you may enjoy this news or you may not. Goldman Sachs, the New York powerhouse financial institution has loaned hundreds of millions to a host of MLS clubs in the recent year, including a $120 million loan to Orlando City. (Note that they have a free one-time trial that takes two seconds to read this article)
Personally, I think this news might shed some light on certain organizational moves regarding the Academy and OCB. When the stadium was being built, the organization announced it was going to privately fund the additional funds needed as it was waiting on public support. This could be the reason the club appears to be cutting back operational cuts in a variety areas.
- It’s not easy protecting our new home stadium, what with seat thieves and the like running around, and Orlando City was justly rewarded by winning the Security Team of the Year award at the MLS Executive Awards. Thanks for keeping us safe.
Orlando City SC took home the Security Team of the Year award at the MLS Executive Awards!— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) January 19, 2018
Shoutout to our security team for keeping all of us safe every day and every match! pic.twitter.com/3YwuQqWH9l
- Andi Sullivan and Savannah McCaskill were no surprise as the top two selections in yesterday’s NWSL draft. For full draft results visit here.
- Howard Webb, the renowned EPL referee, has been promoted to general manager of PRO, the organization in charge of all those MLS referees we know and love.
- USL 2019 expansion franchise Birmingham brands itself as Legion FC.
And to not put the Bearded Guy’s links to shame, I have to include something musically inclined. So here’s a compilation of some of the best football chants this season. I promise you won't be disappointed. PSA — might not want to watch with the kids.
Have a great weekend!