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Lion Links: 10/22/19

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Sacramento expansion officially announced, off-season turnover begins, USL League One loses one of its original teams, and more.

MLS: Press Event at The Bank D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Last weekend was the debut of Major League Soccer’s new playoff format and it meant that almost every game was absolutely delightfully bonkers in its own way. If this is what we have to look forward to from the playoffs from now on then count me in. There’s lots to discuss today so let’s tackle those Lion Links.

New Expansion Team Official

Major League Soccer has officially awarded an expansion team to the city of Sacramento, CA. The announcement came yesterday afternoon along with the specifics that the Sacramento Republic, currently of the USL Championship, will make the jump to MLS in the same vein that Orlando City once did. The Republic will be the league’s 29th team and Sacramento is set to start league play in 2022. The club will also begin construction on a 20,100-seat, soccer-specific stadium to the tune of $300 million — something that was probably a driving factor in the league’s decision to award the city an expansion team.

MLS Off-season Turnover Begins

Now that the MLS regular season has been over for a few weeks it’s time for the teams that missed the playoffs and the teams who were recently eliminated to begin the process of preparing for 2020. A big part of that process concerns personnel decisions, and the Columbus Crew has already announced their roster decisions for 2020. Those decisions include exercising the options of Wil Trapp, Waylon Francis, and Hector Jiminez, among other players. The most noteworthy tidbit however, is the news that the club is not currently in negotiations with Federico Higuain. The Argentine was even taken off the roster page on the club’s website, so Higuain has likely played his last game for Columbus.

Elsewhere in Ohio, there are rumors that Luke Sassano will step down from his position as FC Cincinnati Technical Director due to family reasons. If true, Sassano’s departure would mean that there would be no members remaining of the original trio of him, former coach Alan Koch, and former General Manager Jeff Berding, who stepped back from the role but remains club president.

Lansing Ignite Cease Operations

Lansing Ignite FC announced yesterday that the club was ceasing operations effective immediately, and would not continue play after the 2019 season. Lansing only played one season in the newly formed USL League One before ceasing to operate as a club. It was a successful one season though, with the team losing in the league semifinals after posting the second-best regular season record in the league. Ultimately though, the dollars and cents of it all didn’t add up to what they needed, meaning that it was always going to be difficult for Lansing to continue on into next year.

NWSL Announces New Partnership

The National Women’s Soccer League has announced a multi-tier consulting partnership with Octagon. The deal will see Octagon’s global media rights consulting and marketing divisions provide advice and guidance to the NWSL with regards to sponsorship, league media rights, and marketing. Octagon will also work with the league to “secure and amplify new media distribution opportunities.” In short, the company will try to help NWSL expand its brand through new marketing opportunities and different ways of packaging and distributing the league’s product.

Free Kicks
  • Single game tickets are now on sale for the Orlando SeaWolves.

Don’t forget that the playoffs are back underway on Wednesday with Real Salt Lake traveling to Seattle and New York City FC hosting Toronto. Y’all stay safe out there.