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Lion Links: 11/29/18

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Dwyer and Leroux are expecting, Sutter says goodbye, lots of Orlando Pride off-season news, and more.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Happy Thursday, everyone. It’s been an eventful week and now we have an idea of what Orlando City will be shopping for this holiday season — a goalkeeper, a right back, and some attacking help. Hopefully Santa will be kind to us this year.

While we wait for fat, jolly guys in red suits to deliver the goods, as well as tonight’s second legs of the MLS conference finals, let’s get caught up in all the news that’s worth catching up on, but first, let’s enjoy this heartfelt goodbye from Scott Sutter.

That sounds pretty definitive to me that he’s not renegotiating a new deal with the club. Well, next man up, I guess.

Pride May Be Seeking a Striker for 2019

The Orlando Pride might be in need of a striker for the upcoming 2019 season after Sydney Leroux dropped a bomb on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

The first couple of Orlando soccer is expecting a future Lion or Pride player and that’s great news for them, especially after the awful news that Leroux had suffered through a miscarriage this past summer. Our best wishes go out to the happy couple and hopefully the new baby won’t cause Dom Dwyer too many sleepless nights. On the other hand, that’s going to affect the Pride front line in 2019 and perhaps this will be the opportunity Rachel Hill needs to seize a starting position.

Speaking of Orlando Pride Players...

Camila, on loan for the NWSL off-season with Manaus, Brazil side E.C. Iranduba, is headed to the Copa Libertadores semifinals. Iranduba got a win and two draws in the group stage to advance to the semis. Camila played in all three matches. Should Camila and company advance past Colombian side Atlético Huila, they’ll reach the final against the winner between Santos (Brazil) and Colo-Colo (Chile) at the Amazonia in Manaus. Iranduba will square off today against Atlético Huila (Colombia). Good luck to Camila.

Meanwhile, in the latest W-League roundup, Hill scored her third goal of the season in Perth Glory’s 5-2 win over Melbourne City. Dani Weatherholt and Christine Nairn helped lead Melbourne Victory to a 3-2 win over Sydney FC, with Nairn notching an assist. On the losing side, Alanna Kennedy made her debut and scored a set piece goal (what else is new?). Emily van Egmond had a team-high 91 touches for Newcastle Jets in her team’s 1-0 win over Western Sydney.

Elsewhere, Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky is one of six players up for the 2018 Canadian Women’s Player of the Year. Her competition is pretty fierce, including Christine Sinclair, Desiree Scott, Nichelle Prince, Rebecca Quinn, and Allysha Chapman. Good luck to Shelina.

One MLS Star Stays, One Goes

The Chicago Fire have re-signed Designated Player Bastian Schweinsteiger, while Spanish striker David Villa will not be back with New York City FC in 2019. No terms were given for Schweinsteiger’s new deal but it’s likely a single year, perhaps with a club option for a second. Villa will announce his next destination in the coming days, but did have this to say about his time in the Big Apple:

“I can only say thank you, thank you to everybody. First, to City Football Group that gave me the opportunity to come here. To NYCFC and MLS for accepting me. To everybody at the Club who helped me day-by-day.

“Thank you to the people in the offices, the people working with the team and the coaches and staff. Thank you to my teammates - without them it would have been impossible to be successful. Thank you to the people working in the media that always gave me the respect and the love.

NWSL Announces 2019 Schedule Format, Key Dates

The National Women’s Soccer League announced a 33-week season for 2019, which will include 24 matches for each team — 12 home and 12 away. The season will kick off the weekend of April 13-14 and there will be an 11-day break for the World Cup — yes, just an 11-day break — from June 3-14. The regular season will wind down Oct. 12-13 and the playoffs will start Oct. 19. It’s unfortunate that the league isn’t starting earlier so it can break longer for the World Cup, because you know the top teams’ players are going to be missing for something like two months, so 11 days isn’t going to help much. When you consider other international windows during the season, USWNT players could miss half the NWSL season.

St. Louis Passes Stadium Hurdle

Don’t count out an another MLS expansion team in the Midwest. St. Louis took a step forward on Wednesday with the passing of a resolution in support of a 20,000-seat soccer stadium. The next hurdle will be to get by a vote of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The stadium would be a privately funded $250 million structure west of Union Station.

Free Kicks
  • Those born on this date include novelists Louisa May Alcott (1832) and C.S. Lewis (1898), legendary sports announcer Vin Scully (1927), horn player Chuck Mangione (1940), rocker Ronnie Montrose (1947), actor/comedian Garry Shandling (1949), Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau (1951), director Joel Coen (1954), comedian/host Howie Mandel (1955), 1980 U.S. hockey gold medalist Neal Broten (1959), brat pack actor Andrew McCarthy (1962), Don Cheadle (1964), former USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1969), baseball’s Mariano Rivera (1969), Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs (1973), actor Chadwick Boseman (1977), and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (1988).

That’ll do it for my time today. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday and tonight’s playoff matches. Don’t forget, tomorrow night is the season opener for the Orlando SeaWolves at home against St. Louis.