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Lion Links: 1/20/18

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Orlando City goes drafting, additional preseason scrimmage added, Chicharito to Besiktas(?), and more.

COLLEGE SOCCER: NOV 05 Big 10 Championship Quarterfinal - Wisconsin v Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Saturday, everyone! There was a good amount of stuff that went on yesterday, including Orlando City‘s turn in the draft. Like the Orlando Pride, the Lions had one pick but they certainly made the most of it.

The Florida Cup will wrap up later today over in St. Pete, so if you’re over that way, stop by Al Lang Stadium for the 6 p.m. start. Atletico Nacional could win the tournament with a two-goal victory over Legia Warsaw.

Now, on to the links!

Orlando City Selects Chris Mueller No. 6 in 2018 MLS Draft

The biggest news of yesterday revolved around Orlando City’s first-round draft pick. The Lions selected Chris Mueller, a forward/winger from the University of Wisconsin. The 21-year-old comes off an impressive senior season, receiving the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Here’s more on the newest Lion from SBI Soccer.

Mueller, who comes from Schaumberg, IL, scored nine goals and had 21 assists during his senior season of 2017. He also helped lead his team to the conference championship as well as the third round of the College Cup. Though he is listed as a forward by most analysts, Mueller can play in a variety of positions, such as a winger or even in the center of the pitch. It will be curious to see where Jason Kreis and his staff see Mueller fitting into the team. Here’s what Kreis and Mueller had to say at the SuperDraft. Let’s go in the green room with him courtesy of mlssoccer.com:

Orlando City Adds Additional Game to Preseason Schedule

A few days ago, Orlando City announced its preseason schedule which contained matches against Jacksonville University, Minnesota United, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, and a final game against Chicago Fire in Orlando City stadium. Additionally it appears that Orlando has added an additional game to the slate for preseason. According to Nashville SC, the new USL club will be facing Orlando City on Feb. 25. This game will take place one day after the preseason game against the Chicago Fire, which likely says that Orlando City plans to get the reserves a run-out.

Former Orlando City Midfielder Darwin Cerén Traded

Darwin Cerén, former midfielder of Orlando City from both the USL and MLS days, was traded from San Jose Earthquakes to Houston Dynamo. The trade has Cerén going to Houston and San Jose receiving $100,000 in General Allocation Money and $75,000 in Targeted Allocation Money with potential performance incentives. Cerén played one season with Orlando City’s USL side and then joined the team when it made the jump to MLS. He then continued to play for the club for a season and a half before he was traded to San Jose Earthquakes for Matías Pérez García.

Former Orlando City Center Back Conor Donovan Joins New Team

Former Orlando City and OCB center back Conor Donovan has found a new team after his option was not exercised by the club. Donovan will be joining Rio Grande Valley FC this upcoming season. RGV is the USL affiliate for the Houston Dynamo and should see some player shuffling before the USL season begins.

Donovan was selected in Orlando City’s first MLS draft in 2015 with the 22nd pick overall as a Generation Adidas player our of North Carolina State and had a lot of upside coming out of college. He made his professional debut against Philadelphia Union in August of 2015, but ended up tearing his ACL in the 10th minute. Ever since the injury Donovan was not able to really make it back to the first team, spending most of his time with OCB on rehab assignments. Best of luck to Donovan!

Chicharito to Beşiktaş?

The Cyle Larin saga gets even more…strange?

As many people know, Cyle Larin left for Turkey earlier this week in an attempt to force Orlando City to transfer him to Besiktas. The club has since prepared itself for a legal battle and is in talks with Besiktas to see if an agreement can be made. In the meantime, rumors have been swirling around the internet that claim Besiktas are in for Chicharito (Javier Hernandez). According to Goal, the Turkish club is offering 8.5 million euros for Chicharito which would make Larin’s move suspect to say the least.

This could be a play for Besiktas to get Larin then loan him out so he can work on his game but it doesn’t look like they are willing to spend much money on the Canadian if he were to join the club. We’ll be sure to see how this saga plays out but it isn’t looking great for Larin.

Large MLS Trades Run Rampant on Draft Day

The MLS Draft had a handful of trades with many teams moving up, back, and even out of the first round. The biggest deal of the day was the trade between the Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union, where Chicago sent David Accam to Philadelphia for $300,000 in General Allocation Money and $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money. This trade reaches one of the highest allocation money deals in league history.

The day didn’t end there, either! As reported a week ago, Ola Kamara and Justin Meram had asked Columbus Crew to trade them. There were a few teams interested in both players but no one could reach the the asking price until Friday. LA Galaxy and the Columbus Crew agreed to a trade where Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in allocation money would go to Columbus in return for Ola Kamara. This trade has now shaken up the eastern conference and strengthened LA Galaxy.

Free Kicks
  • Lazio face a two-match stadium closure for Anne Frank photo scandal. Italian football federation prosecutors have requested Lazio play two games behind closed doors and fined 50,000 euros ($61,000) after Lazio fans put pictures of Anne Frank on t-shirts during their rivalry game against Roma.
  • The U-20 USWNT opened its 2018 CONCACAF Championship campaign winning 2-0 over Nicaragua with goals by Taryn Torres and Civana Kuhlmann. The ladies will play again on Jan. 23 at 3 p.m.
  • Eziquiel Barco is finally official for Atlanta United. Atlanta United announced at the SuperDraft Friday that the team had finally signed the 18-year-old. Atlanta had gone back and forth with Independiente for weeks about the price.
  • D.C. United unveiled their new 2018 jersey before the SuperDraft on Friday. The jersey is crafted to represent the new stadium as well as the unique history of the District of Columbia.
  • MLS announced the new match ball for the 2018 MLS season, the “NATIVO.” What do you think?

As I always like to end Lion Links on a happy note. All of us at The Mane Land would like to say congratulations to Antonio and Federica Nocerino on the birth of their new child, Mattia!

Welcome Mattia 19january2018❤️

A post shared by Antonio Nocerino 23 (@antonocerino) on