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Lion Links: 11/27/18

Lions part ways with Budalic, MLS contract news, FC Dallas coaching options, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. I hope you’re all readjusting to work after hopefully having some time off for Thanksgiving. I won’t beat around the bush anymore, there’s some pretty big Orlando City news to go over this week, so let’s jump right into things.

Niki Budalic Leaves Orlando City

Yesterday Orlando City SC announced that the club had parted ways with General Manager of Soccer Operations Niki Budalic. The move comes at the end of the club’s worst MLS season that saw the team Budalic helped build fail pretty miserably. Following the acquisitions of Justin Meram and Sacha Kljestan and a large roster overhaul, the club was generally expected to do well. Instead, things got ugly fast and resulted in firing Jason Kreis midway through the season, after which Budalic and club CEO Alex Leitão stated that the new coach would be expected to win with the current squad...which didn’t happen. That failure seemed to seal Budalic’s fate and he will move on after spending three years with the club.

MLS Contract Roundup

There were lots of end-of-season roster moves announced around MLS today, with the Vancouver Whitecaps announcing their end-of-season moves and Minnesota United FC doing the same. Former Orlando City player Kevin Molino remains under contract at Minnesota, while former players Brek Shea, Jose Aja Harrison Heath, and Servando Carrasco all had their options declined by Vancouver, Minnesota, and the LA Galaxy, respectively. Additionally, the Whitecaps declined their option on forward Kei Kamara, meaning that the 34-year-old striker is available to be potentially picked up. If you were wondering what the deal is with Orlando’s off-season moves, wonder no longer.

Tab Ramos Up for FC Dallas Job

After Oscar Pareja left FC Dallas last week, the search has begun for the team’s next head coach. Apparently the club already has several candidates lined up too, with Tab Ramos the most recognizable name linked to the job. Also reportedly being considered are Dallas assistant Marco Ferruzzi and academy director Luchi Gonzalez. Realistically, Ramos is probably a pretty good bet, given his years of experience managing the U.S. U-20 national team. Ferruzzi and Gonzalez are good candidates too though — Ferruzzi has logged time as an interim coach and frequently runs first-team training sessions while FC Dallas has won four U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy championships under Gonzalez’s tenure.

Man City in for Steffen

Manchester City are said to be in advanced talks to sign Columbus Crew and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The Athletic reports that a deal is close and that Steffen would join the team on Jan. 1 if an agreement is made. Expected to be between $7 million and $10 million, the deal would be one of the bigger ones to date in MLS. However, it might be tricky to immediately get Steffen a work permit, making a loan move likely to ensure the American international doesn’t get rusty. In the long term, he would presumably be a backup to current first-team goalkeeper Ederson, instead of the Chilean Claudio Bravo.

Free Kicks
  • The roster has been announced for the U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team participating in the 2018 Nike International Friendlies.
  • An ex-OCB player has signed a new contract.
  • It’s nice to see the Orlando SeaWolves getting some love.

That’ll do it for me today, guys. Be sure to keep a close eye on us here at The Mane Land for the rest of the week with roster moves expected to be announced some time later this week. Vamos Orlando. Ciao.