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Lion Links: 12/22/18

O’Connor is pleased, FC Dallas bids Muzzi farewell, the Lions have reservations in Chicago, and more.

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

Good Saturday morning, Orlando. We’ve made it to the weekend with Christmas just around the corner, so it’s about time to relax and enjoy some time with family. Unless, that is, you’ve still got last-minute shopping to do, in which case I wish you the best of luck.

It’s a chilly one this morning in Central Florida (by our very warm-blooded standards), so grab a hot cup of coffee and join us for a weekend edition of Lion Links.

James O’Connor Comments on Recent Signings

Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor commented publicly on the Lions’ two new additions this week via the club’s Instagram. O’Connor made it clear that Greg Ranjitsingh and Kyle Smith were brought in as depth signings and also noted that the pair had other interest from MLS clubs.

Having players who are eager to be with the club and improve is always helpful when trying to change the culture of a losing team. It was safe to assume that O’Connor was pleased with these signings given his history with the pair at Louisville City, but now we have confirmation.

FC Dallas Releases Statement on Muzzi

You may recall just a few days ago when Orlando City brought on Luiz Muzzi to be the club’s new vice president of soccer operations. Muzzi is joining the Lions from FC Dallas, which released a statement on Friday acknowledging that yesterday was Muzzi’s last day with the organization.

FC Dallas kept it short and sweet, but the club stated its gratitude to Muzzi for his services in Dallas, which included three months as VP of soccer operations starting in September of 2018 after joining the club as Director of Soccer and Assistant Technical Director back in 2012. Now that he’s presumably packed up his office in Dallas, it’s officially time for Muzzi to head to the City Beautiful.

Lions to Face Chicago in 2019 Road Opener

While we did discuss Orlando City’s 2019 MLS home opener against NYCFC earlier this week, more than just that first week of next season was revealed. In case you missed it, the Lions’ road opener will be against Chicago. Orlando will hit the road for the first time in league play on March 9, one week after the season-opener against the Pigeons, so we can mark down the first two matches of the MLS season on the calendar officially as we await the rest of the schedule. If you like the sound of Chicago in the spring, you’ve got a few months to plan a trip — just beware that Bridgeview is actually like 45 minutes outside of Chicago.

De Boer to Atlanta?

ESPN reported Friday that Frank de Boer, most recently of Crystal Palace, is a candidate for the head coaching job at Atlanta United. The Athletic confirmed that report later in the day and went as far to say that de Boer is the front-runner for the job, as Atlanta has been without a gaffer since winning the MLS Cup on Dec. 8. Apparently he is fluent in Spanish as well. De Boer is most well-known as a coach for his six-year stint at Ajax that included four Eredivisie titles.

Always good to get familiar with an opposition manager whom the Lions will see thrice a year in league play.

Free Kicks

That’ll wrap it up for this edition of links. If you’re in Central Florida, enjoy the sunshine today after a couple days of rain, and happy holidays.