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 statement on Luiz Muzzi.https://t.co/dbPpsz7k9J— FC Dallas (@FCDallas) December 21, 2018
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.
- Yoshimar Yotún can add a couple events to his 2019 calendar as the Peruvian National Team announced a pair of friendlies on Friday set for March in the U.S.
- Laurent Ciman’s stay in Ligue 1 looks like it could be short-lived. Word of the former Montreal Impact center back possibly returning to MLS to join Toronto FC dropped on Twitter yesterday.
- Nashville SC is reportedly close to signing forward Cameron Lancaster. Back in early November, we pondered whether Orlando City should look at signing the USL Golden Boot-winning striker, and according to The Athletic, the Lions made an offer but it was not a big one.
- USMNT U-20 defender (and 2018 Young Player of the Year) Manny Perez has signed with Scottish champions Celtic.
- Orlando City’s partnership with VFL Wolfsburg is paying off already, for one fan in particular.
It’s the season of giving and @Chris_4_0_7 is winning! Congrats on being selected as the winner of the @VfLWolfsburg_US signed John Brooks jersey! https://t.co/ctnqd8hVBa— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) December 21, 2018
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.