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Lion Links: 1/11/19

Orlando nearing loan for young defender, Lions sign a center back, Florida Cup kicks off, and more.

MLS: Toronto FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, Mane Landers? It’s MLS SuperDraft day and I don’t know about you guys but I am pretty excited to welcome some brand new Lions to our family with open arms. Talent in the MLS SuperDraft is rare but Orlando’s front office and staff will hopefully have a way to sniff out some stars.

But before we say hello to some new faces, let’s remember a familiar one. Today is former Orlando City gaffer Adrian Heath’s 58th birthday, so hopefully he receives a nice gift in the draft to celebrate. Now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando Nearing Addition of Young Brazilian Defender

The Mane Land has learned that the club is on the verge of signing Brazilian right back Ruan Teixeira to a one-year loan deal with the club holding an option to make the move permanent. The 23-year-old defender started 2018 with Internacional SC in Serie A before being moved later in the year and he would be filling the void left by the departure of Scott Sutter at the position. Teixiera will add plenty of speed to the right side of the field for the Lions and should add some needed bite to not only the Lions’ defense, but the offense as well.

Orlando City Signs Center Back

The Lions addressed perhaps their biggest need of the off-season by adding central defender Alex De John to the roster for the 2019 season. The 27-year-old domestic player has played the past six seasons in Europe, bouncing between Norwegian and Swedish clubs, and De John made 45 appearances and scored twice with Dalkurd FF in Swedish’s first division last season. He will be a welcome addition to the team after the Lions parted ways with both Jonathan Spector and Amro Tarek this off-season.

Pride Find Talent Late in NWSL Draft

The Orlando Pride had to wait until the third round before making a selection in the 2019 NWSL Draft, but General Manager Erik Ustruck added two great options as he prepares for the 2019 season. Erin Greening was the club’s first pick with the 25th overall selection and the California native was a part of Colorado University’s squad for four years and is a versatile player who can play in many different positions for the Pride.

Five picks later, the club selected Northwestern University playmaker Marisa Viggiano to help bolster an offense that struggled to find its footing last season. With 20 assists in four years with Northwestern, Viggiano will benefit greatly from an Orlando offense loaded with talent and learning behind the best passer on the planet in Marta.

Welcome to the team, you two! Make sure to check out how the rest of the draft shook out as the NWSL welcomes plenty of newcomers to the league.

MLS SuperDraft Primer

The Lions head into the 2019 MLS SuperDraft with five draft picks after trading two fourth-round picks to Minnesota United yesterday for a second round pick in 2020 and swapping waiver positions. The Lions currently hold the third overall pick in the draft and given how the team has gone after defensive talent already, Orlando will likely make a splash with a strong offensive option to help Dom Dwyer up top with its first. Make sure to check back here throughout the day for Orlando City draft coverage as Head Coach James O’Connor fills his roster with today’s three selections.

Free Kicks
  • The 2019 Florida Cup is officially underway. For those who went to Orlando City Stadium last night, you got to see Diego Ribas start for Flamengo as the Brazilian club won in a penalty shootout over Ajax. In the other game, the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt beat Sao Paulo 2-1 thanks to an early penalty and an own goal.
  • We usually remember the high points when it comes to sports, but Pride and Matilda defender Alanna Kennedy took the time to write about one of the low points and how she is overcoming the pressure and disappointment.
  • The NWSL had some big changes announced with both salary caps and roster sizes increasing.
  • Referencing back to Orlando’s draft pick trade earlier, Minnesota United spent their new waiver spot wisely by acquiring midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.
  • The Orlando SeaWolves will be playing in Lakeland, FL tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. as they try to get revenge on the Florida Tropics. Head Coach Tom Traxler will hopefully steer the ship in the right direction to avoid another loss to the Tropics.

That’s all from me, folks. I hope you all have your devices charged to stay up to date on the draft action in case you are going to be out and about. Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend.