Happy Thursday, folks. It sure was a busy day yesterday. I wonder what today will have in store for us. We’ll be getting the full MLS schedule release this afternoon, but what about more player announcements? You never know, so check The Mane Land early and often.
The past couple of weeks have been quite rewarding and I’m hopeful that everyone will remember next year not to freak out if Orlando City doesn’t make any moves right away.
We’ve got plenty to discuss, so let’s dive into your morning Lion Links like it’s a big pile of crispy bacon.
Kljestan is Officially a Lion
Rumor became a report and that report is now a reality. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan officially became an Orlando City player yesterday and he’ll bring $150,000 in Targeted Allocation Money with him from Red Bull Arena to Orlando City stadium. Original MLS Lions Carlos Rivas and Tommy Redding head north to Harrison, NJ, in exchange. The Lions left from Orlando City’s inaugural roster are now just Earl Edwards Jr., Cristian Higuita, Cyle Larin, and Rafael Ramos, and there’s a chance that all of them will move on before opening day, particularly Larin. Life comes at you fast.
The New York Red Bulls and MLS each put out a video about Kljestan yesterday, in case you want to see more of what the new Lion brings to the team (he victimized Orlando in a couple clips in the MLS video).
For his part, Sacha seems like he’s ready to come to Orlando and become a contributor for his new team.
— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) January 3, 2018
The amount of messages/tweets from @OrlandoCitySC supporters over the past few days have been positively overwhelming. I'm excited to play for your club! Can't wait to get down there and get started. #VamosOrlando ps: the last time I wore purple, things turned out pretty good— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) January 3, 2018
Tommy Redding took to Twitter as well, to say goodbye to Orlando City and to the fans who have supported him since the USL days.
Thank you to everyone at Orlando City for the memorable experiences over the years. It was an honor to be a Lion and I wish nothing but the best to the team. To the fans, thank you for the amazing support. It was a pleasure being able to start my pro career in my hometown— Tommy Redding (@Tommy_Redding29) January 3, 2018
Dwyer Now a DP After Signing New Deal
As if the Kljestan news wasn’t enough, the club announced Dom Dwyer has signed a three-year contract that will make him a Designated Player and keep him hanging around his spiritual home for a few more years. This is great news. It was always going to be a priority for Niki Budalic to re-sign Dom after shelling out $1.6 million in total Allocation Money for the former and current Lion. But for nervous types like me, it’s good to have the deal done. Dwyer and Yotun are currently the team’s DPs but with potentially more moves on the horizon and extra TAM lying around, it remains to be seen just how that will all play out before the season kicks off.
Is Josué Colmán Signed, Sealed and Soon to be Delivered?
We might not have to wait long for the next big announcement. TigoSports.com says that Josué Colmán is heading to Orlando City and the deal will become official in the coming hours. According to the site, the Lions are shelling out $3 million for the 19-year-old Paraguayan midfielder to his club, Cerro Porteño. The story further states that the deal will be fore five years and that Colmán will join his teammates in Orlando on Jan. 22. It’s really hard to judge a player by highlight videos but I like the quick, darting movements he makes.
Orlando City Ranked Among World’s Most Valuable Clubs
SoccerEX put out its list of the 100 top-ranked clubs financially and Orlando City comes in at No. 37. MLS put five clubs in the top 30 and Orlando finished sixth among the league’s teams after the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, New York City FC, and New England Revolution.
SoccerEx worked with independent academics to compile the list, which analyzed the assets of each club, their economic power for future investments and their net debts. For the 2018 rankings, SoccerEx analyzed the 2015-16 financial year, meaning newer MLS clubs like Atlanta, Minnesota and LAFC were not eligible to be included.
The final rankings were compiled by assigning a weight to and adding together the following four factors: 1) Playing assets 2) Fixed assets (stadium, training centers, etc.) 3) Cash in the bank and 4) Owner’s potential investment. The club’s net debt was then subtracted from that weighted sum.
The EPL was the only league with more teams in the top 30 than MLS, which placed 13 teams in the top 100. The top three, in order, were Manchester City, Arsenal, and French side PSG.
Here’s where you can see the full list of 100.
Pride’s Morgan, Harris Called Up for USWNT January Camp
Jill Ellis has called up 26 players for inclusion in the USWNT’s January camp — and for the friendly against Denmark on Jan. 21 — and Orlando Pride teammates Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris made the cut. Hopefully Morgan can add to her 80 career international goals in the Denmark friendly and Harris will be looking to add to her 14 career caps. Three players who got invited participated in the 2017 Women’s College Cup at Orlando City Stadium — Stanford teammates Andi Sullivan and Tierna Davidson and South Carolina’s Savannah McCaskill. Injured players Tobin Heath (ankle), Samantha Mewis (knee) and Rose Lavelle (hamstring) would have been selected but will not be able to participate.
- This story about Ticketmaster mentions how Orlando City Stadium was the first big test for the Ticketmaster Presence system. It also says the club more than tripled the number of new fan names in its customer database and increased mobile entry to 61 percent from 11 percent.
- Folks are getting restless about how FIFA is dragging its feet in its anti-doping inquiry as the 2018 World Cup inches closer and closer.
- Sporting Kansas City traded midfielder Benny Feilhaber to Los Angeles FC for $200 in TAM and $200 in GAM.
- Those born on this date include Sir Isaac Newton (1643 — going by new calendar date style), legendary football coach Don Shula (1930), R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe (1960), Liverpool’s James Milner (1986), IndyCar racing’s Graham Rahal (1989), and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos (1990).
That’s all from me this morning. I’ll be back again tomorrow for the vacationing bearded guy, so I’ll see you then!