Hey Mane Landers, I hope you’re having a good weekend so far. Today’s the last day before you have to go back to the work grind tomorrow, so relax and kick back with some Lion Links.
But before we get to it, let’s wish a happy birthday to both Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson (31) and Orlando Pride midfielder/defender Alanna Kennedy (23)!
Yoshi Excited to Play With New Lions
Returning to Orlando in the coming days after traveling to Los Angeles for MLS Media Day, Orlando City midfielder Yoshimar Yotun said he is excited to see the 2018 roster starting to take shape. He and Sacha Kljestan will be quite the duo in the midfield and Yoshi was especially looking forward to getting the ball in the feet of young Paraguayan Josué Colmán. Although the team will look much different this season, Yotun says that the style of play will remain the same for the most part, so hopefully it goes better this time with a new group of talent.
Lindley and Ramos Trade a Win-Win, According to Fire GM
Earlier this week, Orlando City traded away Rafael Ramos and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to the Chicago Fire in exchange for Homegrown midfielder Cameron Lindley. I’m sure you’ve heard ours and other Orlando City-focused takes on the swap, but Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez gave his thoughts on Lindley’s move down to the Sunshine State. Rodriguez revealed that while Lindley was a product of Chicago’s academy, the 20-year-old told Rodriguez that he did not want to start his professional career with the Fire. Following an ideology of putting the Homegrown player’s wishes first, Rodriguez was able to not only fulfill Lindley’s desires but get something valuable in return.
“I think this is an instance where it’s a win-win for Orlando and for us, they get a talented player, we get resources and an equally young player with pro experience who also can compete for a starting spot.”
Rafael Ramos Bids Farewell
It’s always bittersweet when a trade goes through and we have to say goodbye to one of our own. It’s especially bittersweet when that player has been a part of an organization as long as Rafael Ramos has. Ramos joined the club back in 2014 when Orlando City was kicking it at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. It’s unfortunate that his time with the Lions in MLS was plagued by injuries but hopefully he can have a promising future in Chicago.
This past few days have been overwhelming for me. Lot of emotions when I have to say good bye to what’s been my home for the past 3 years @orlandocitysc . I feel really thankful for the opportunity that I had to represent this club and get to know this amazing city! Special thanks to all members involved in this organization for believing in me since day one. I wish this story had ended differently but unfortunately and as you all know this last season wasn’t as I expected it to be. Lastly I wanted to send a huge thanks to all of the Orlando City fans for the unbelievable support that you’ve given me since the beginning!! It was a great pleasure to be able to play in front of you guys every weekend!! Now it’s time to embrace a new challenge in my career. Really looking forward to it!!! @chicagofire #RR27 #ThankYouOrlando ⚽️♥️
Hill Shines in W-League Round 12 Play
In a W-League match that pitted Orlando Pride players against each other, Rachel Hill put on a show as the Perth Glory and Canberra United played to a 4-4 draw. Perth forward Sam Kerr dominated the headlines with a hat trick, but Hill assisted Kerr’s first and last goals while adding one of her own in the eight-goal thriller.
Despite the performance, the draw means that Hill and the Perth Glory will likely miss out on the Finals Series with just 14 points and only one game left on their schedule. Toni Pressley and Canberra United fare slightly better on the ladder with 16 points and will fight with Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets for one of the top four spots.
Speaking of Melbourne City, birthday girl Alanna Kennedy and City captain Steph Catley had a 0-0 draw with the first-place Brisbane Roar in a clash between two W-League heavyweights. Kennedy was able to get on the end of a few threatening corners, but she and the City offense were unable to get past the Brisbane defense. Although it now holds the coveted fourth spot with 17 points, City is in a tough spot on the ladder with both Canberra and the Newcastle Jets (third place with 17 points) having a game in hand over the defending champions.
Atletico Nacional Wins Florida Cup Title
The Florida Cup came to a close last night with Atletico Nacional beating Legia Warsaw 2-0 to take the Florida Cup trophy. Aldo Ramirez netted a brace in the thrilling win that resulted in a three-way tie at the top of the standings with Atletico Nacional, Rangers FC, and Barcelona SC all sitting on six points from two wins. But Nacional held the tie-breaker in goal differential to give the Colombian club the title in its first ever Florida Cup.
Bruce Arena Details U.S. Soccer Collapse
It’s been over three months since the USMNT was knocked out of World Cup contention, and now former coach Bruce Arena finally gives the details on what exactly happened. Speaking at the United Soccer Coaches convention, Arena went into depth on how the USMNT failed to get a point in its final game against Trinidad and Tobago.
“I felt if we went into halftime at 1-0, we had a chance to come back and get our point,” Arena said. “We read them the riot act at halftime. We told our guys they had to go out and battle, find a way to create chances. We get the early goal [by Christian Pulisic]. We feel if we get another goal, we get the point, we get the hell out of here. We’re going to World Cup. It never came.
- Word around the rumor mill is that Stoke City made a $4.5M offer for NYCFC’s Jack Harrison.
- Stirring up some interest, the USL DIII tweeted that its first member will be from one of the following southern states:
The first founding member of USL Division III will be from either Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina or North Carolina!— USLD3 (@USL_D3) January 20, 2018
Where do you think the first team is from? #USLD3 | #ProSocc3r pic.twitter.com/yruWCk4DTV
The most likely choice would be one of the Carolinas, with both the Myrtle Beach Mutiny and the Wilmington Hammerheads as Premier Development League teams that could make the jump. But I’m gonna place my bet on Hunstville, AL, after USL DIII Vice President Steven Short visited in December and said the city was “poised for tremendous success.”
- The Florida Tropics defeated the visiting Kansas City Comets 7-6 last night.
- Former Phenom Freddy Adu has decided to come back to professional soccer for some reason after taking a year off from the sport.
- It’s not often that soccer and American football intertwine, but it certainly did when the NFL Draft caused a chain reaction that led to Julie Ertz being named 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
That’ll do it for links today. Remember to check out Ertz and the rest of the USWNT when they take on Denmark tonight at 7:30 p.m.