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Lion Links: 1/19/19

Pride’s coach lands in Orlando, City lauded for Larin pick, Cincy linked to former Lions target, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s always great to head into a three-day weekend and this time of year you never know when more Orlando City or Orlando Pride news will drop in your lap. The USWNT will be in action today, so there’s an opportunity to keep an eye on Alex Morgan as well.

While we wait for 2:30 p.m. to come, let’s get to the news of the day.

Meet Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner

I got to sit in on a media roundtable discussion with the new Orlando Pride coach yesterday and meet Marc Skinner for the first time. Like Tom Sermanni before him, Skinner is a likable UK native. The new Pride boss had a lot of good things to say, dropping nuggets of info like his behind-the-scenes role in the club’s 2019 draft selections, the coaches he admires, his approach to the game, and more. Check out the full interview here.

ProSoccerUSA’s Jordan Culver was on a flight during the roundtable but caught up with Skinner ahead of his trip. Here’s his piece, which includes a story from Skinner’s playing days that shaped his future as a coach. Also, Skinner had an awful human as a coach based on the story.

Orlando City’s Cyle Larin Pick Lauded

Cincinnati Soccer Talk’s Paul Barvincak put together a list of the top five No. 1 MLS SuperDraft selections and they gave Orlando City top billing. The Lions drafted Cyle Larin first overall in 2015 and he set a new league goal-scoring record that year en route to the MLS Rookie of the Year award. Barvincak said:

Far and away the most successful rookie season by a No. 1 overall draft pick in MLS history belongs to Cyle Larin. Larin put away a team-leading 17 goals for Orlando City in 27 appearances on his way to winning the MLS Rookie of the Year award in 2015.

Although his exit from Orlando was a bit acrimonious, it’s important to remember that Larin is an important part of the Lions’ history.

Former Orlando Target Linked to FC Cincinnati

The Lions backed off of Diego Ribas recently after a once-silent relationship between the talented No. 10 and his Brazilian club, Flamengo, picked back up again. The folks over at Cincy Soccer Talk posted this tweet about Diego yesterday.

Hey, stranger things have happened, but I find it extremely unlikely that the Brazilian will end up in Southwest Ohio. The Mane Land’s sources have told us that Diego is on Orlando City’s discovery list, so FCC would need to give up something to get his MLS rights. We’re also hearing that Diego will re-sign with Flamengo, possibly as soon as today.

A lot of people will say that this was all a ploy by the player to work a better deal from his team — it’s a fun narrative similar to saying that a coach for a bad team has lost the locker room, because it’s usually unprovable — but there was actual mutual interest between the Lions and the player when Flamengo was giving him the silent treatment. The only question at that time was whether the club would let him go for free. In the end, I don’t think Diego gets a big raise to stay at Flamengo, he simply gets to stay at the club for which he wants to play most.

Vela to Barcelona?

Barcelona is reportedly closing in on LAFC’s Carlos Vela. The Mexican had a monster year for the expansion side in 2018. It would be tough for Bob Bradley to replace Vela, but his price tag would likely make finding a replacement a bit easier.

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando SeaWolves hung out with a visiting youth team from Chicago this week. It’s always nice to see the pros hanging with the kids.

That’s all for me today. Check back later for coverage of the USWNT and enjoy your weekend.