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Lion Links: 12/13/18

Rocha’s rights swapped to NYCFC, Luiz Muzzi making news, why Specs and Sutter weren’t in the Waiver Draft, and more.

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MLS: Orlando City SC at Los Angeles Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, dear readers! It’s Thursday once again and so I get the opportunity to let you know that the Orlando SeaWolves will be playing soccer tomorrow night — indoors! — at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. The indoor game is fun, fast-paced, and (best of all) quite affordable, so go give the lads some support as they take on defending champion Baltimore.

Lions Stockpiling Draft Picks

Orlando City added a fourth-round selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday in a trade with New York City FC for the rights to Tony Rocha. The Lions got back the fourth-round pick they traded to the Pigeons in 2017 for Josh Saunders, which is the No. 75 overall selection. Even though the club declined Rocha’s contract option, Orlando retains his MLS rights and those were shipped off to the Bronx. The Lions now have six picks in the SuperDraft and it’ll be interesting to see how those will be used.

Rocha made sure to thank Orlando City’s fans before he departs for the Big Apple.

Where Muzzi At?

Feathers were ruffled yesterday when’s Jordan Culver reported that his league sources said that Luiz Muzzi was calling the shots for Orlando City’s recent slew of player moves. Some outlets covering FC Dallas questioned Culver’s report, as Muzzi has not yet been introduced officially as OCSC’s new general manager. Also, FC Dallas denies that he’s leaving the club until the Texas side can announce a replacement.

When asked about Muzzi’s departure, FC Dallas vice president of communications Gina Miller told Pro Soccer USA, “This isn’t true.”

However, a league source told Pro Soccer USA FC Dallas is hesitant to confirm Muzzi’s departure until the club can announce his replacement.

Jordan’s a solid dude and I don’t doubt for a second that he’s got a source he trusts. Our sources have indicated to us that Muzzi was serving in a consulting role during this recent series of moves so it’s clear he’s at the very least being kept in the loop while we await his official arrival.

Why Spector, Sutter Weren’t In Waiver Draft

Some sharp-eyed fans noticed that neither Jonathan Spector nor Scott Sutter were listed as available for the MLS Waiver Draft. That’s because of a loophole that Orlando City exploited (sorry, paywall).

Per MLS rules, teams can exclude a player from the waiver draft if they “have expressed interest in re-signing the player and/or bringing them into preseason.” In this case, Orlando City has done enough to convince the league that it intends to bring both Spector and Sutter back, meaning neither player has officially been waived. Considering a recent change in leadership in the front office at the club, Orlando may justify doing so by saying it needs more time to evaluate its roster and to see if Spector or Sutter may be willing to stay on for lower wages.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the two defenders will be back with Orlando, and both have publicly said goodbye to the fans on social media. But, as Paul Tenorio explains, the Lions could trade their MLS rights or do a sign-and-trade to get something for them if they opt to stay in MLS. Technically, their contracts expire at the end of the calendar year.

Orlando City U-18/19 Team Leads Division at the Break

It’s been a good 2018 portion of the season for the Baby Lions up at Montverde Academy. The U-18/19 team sits first in the Southeast Division at the break, with 22 points in 12 games (7-4-1). The squad has a +13 goal differential. Weston FC sits just two points behind with a game in hand, while third-place Chargers SC has 25 points but in two more games played. The standings are listed by points per game, of which OCSC has 1.8333 to lead the division. Academy Director and U-18/19 coach Mike Potempa said the academy’s move to Montverde is starting to pay dividends.

“I believe now that we are starting to see the fruits of our labor and we expect to see a continuation of our evolution in the second half of the season in 2019 across all age groups.”

MLS Waiver Draft Results

Orlando City passed on the 2018 MLS Waiver Draft yesterday and only four players were taken in total. The New York Red Bulls moved up via a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes and took former Philadelphia Union forward Marcus Epps first overall. The Chicago Fire chose two of the four players taken and they were two of the three guys that our own Guilherme Torres said Orlando City should considerCristian Martinez from Columbus and Marco Ureña of LAFC. We’ll have to keep an eye on how the duo fares in Chicago. Ricky Lopez-Espin was the other player selected, moving from Real Salt Lake to LAFC.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s Brazilian partner club has rebranded as Athletico Paranaense. They kicked off the second leg of the 2018 Copa Sudamerica final last night vs. Junior (Colombia) and former Lions defender Leo Pereira started. The first leg in Colombia was a 1-1 draw and the teams went to penalties last night after another 1-1 draw. Paranaense won the cup in penalties, taking the shootout, 4-3.

Here’s a look at the new uniforms:

  • The New York Red Bulls re-signed center back Tim Parker to a multi-year deal using Targeted Allocation Money.
  • FC Cincinnati sent $150,000 in General Allocation Money to FC Dallas for Homegrown midfielder Victor Ulloa.
  • Speaking of FC Cincinnati, the club announced that they have an official chili partner in Skyline. I grew up in Ohio and I love the stuff. Don’t @ me and don’t think of it like you think of “normal” chili. It’s its own thing.
  • Those born on this date include Mary Todd Lincoln (1818), Cleveland Indians legend Larry Doby (1923), Dick Van Dyke (1925), Christopher Plummer (1929), Ted Nugent (1948), pro wrestler Junkyard Dog (1952), Steve Buscemi (1957), football coaches Rob and Rex Ryan (1962), sportscaster Mike Tirico (1966), hockey’s Sergei Federov (1969), and Taylor Swift (1989).

That’ll do it for my time this morning. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Thursday and let’s get to the weekend.