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Lion Links: 12/11/18

Orlando City releases protected list, OCB schedule announced, MLS free agent pool, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers! While this year’s MLS season has come to a close, there’s still plenty of important news happening, so let’s get straight into the links.

Orlando’s Protected Players List

Today is the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft, which will allow new kids on the block FC Cincinnati to add up to five players to its first ever MLS roster, with the caveat that no more than one player can be added from a team. Furthermore, the teams that had players selected by LAFC in last year’s draft are exempt from this year’s, with those teams being Columbus Crew SC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders, and the San Jose Earthquakes. All the other teams involved in the draft can protect up to 11 players in order to prevent them from being selected, but do not have to protect Homegrown Players like the Lions’ Mason Stajduhar.

Orlando left eight players unprotected in total, including big names like Sacha Kljestan and Lamine Sané, as well as lesser-known players like Pierre Da Silva. The draft will take place at 2 p.m. ET. Additionally, a full list of players available for selection in the draft can be found here.

Orlando City B Schedule Released

Orlando City B has released its schedule for the team’s inaugural season in the newly formed USL League One. The 10-team league will work as one single table, with the season kicking off on March 30 at Montverde Academy against FC Tucson, and concluding the weekend of Oct. 4-6. After each team has played a 28-game schedule, the top four teams will make the playoffs with each club facing eight teams three times and a single team one time. All of OCB’s home games will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the majority of them being on Fridays.

MLS Free Agent Pool

To make life easier for anyone who wants to know, MLS has compiled a full list of the league’s free agent pool. Notable names include Benny Feilhaber, Aurelien Collin, Dominic Oduro, Michael Parkhurst, and Quincy Amarikwa. To be an MLS free agent, a player must have played in the league for at least eight years and be 28 years old during the 2018 season. Being an MLS free agent means that the player is eligible to sign for the MLS team of their choosing for the upcoming 2019 season. The free agency window will officially open after the end of the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft.

Atlanta Signs Martinez

Atlanta United has added another Martinez to its roster as Gonzalo Martinez has confirmed that he will be leaving Argentina’s River Plate to join the reigning MLS champions. The news comes after River Plate’s victory over Boca Junios in the Copa Libertadores, in which Martinez scored the third goal in a second leg that finished 3-1, leaving the final at 5-3 on aggregate. Atlanta has apparently agreed to trigger the winger’s $17 million release clause. Martinez has stated that he will play in the Club World Cup, but will then leave the team in January.

Free Kicks
  • Big congratulations are in order for Marta!
  • Chelsea has suspended four fans while an investigation is carried out over claims of racial abuse being directed towards Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.
  • The USWNT is celebrating fan week.

That’ll do it for me today. Don’t forget that the Expansion Draft is this afternoon at 2 p.m., so keep an eye on The Mane Land to see if any of Orlando City’s players are selected. And, as always, be sure to stay tuned for all Orlando soccer-related news. Ciao.