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Lion Links: 11/22/19

Orlando City’s roster decisions, SeaWolves make moves, Pride players abroad, and more.

SOCCER: MAR 31 MLS - DC United at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all had a decent work week as we now head into a weekend. The weather is shaping up to be pretty nice and should be a great time to fire up the grill or take a trip to a park with friends or family. No matter how you spend it, hopefully it goes well before things get hectic next week. Now, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Announces Contract Options

Five players had their contract options exercised by Orlando City, with Tesho Akindele, Kamal Miller, Chris Mueller, Kyle Smith, and Santiago Patino all on the roster for next season. Meanwhile, 10 players did not have their options exercised, including Carlos Ascues, Lamine Sané, and Dillon Powers, as the front office makes changes for the upcoming season.

The current 15-man roster features only two midfielders in Sebas Méndez and Mauricio Pereyra as veterans Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson, and Sacha Kljestan are all on the outside looking in. Brian Rowe is the only goalkeeper left on the roster as well so the future head coach has some work to do before the season starts. The good news though is that the decisions cleared up quite a bit of money and solved the issues in the crowded midfield.

Other MLS Contract News and Updates

Orlando wasn’t the only team with decisions to make yesterday and the biggest news came from the New York Red Bulls. Captain Luis Robles and Bradley Wright-Philips both had their options declined while former Lion Amro Tarek will be back with the Red Bulls after a strong campaign. Elsewhere, Aleksandar Katai and eight other players were left out in the cold by the Chicago Fire and forward Juan Agudelo’s time with the New England Revolution comes to an end.

As for other former Lions, Justin Meram’s option was not exercised by Atlanta United and both Brek Shea, and Mikey Ambrose are out of contract there as well. Scott Sutter, Victor “PC” Giro, Danilo Acosta, Donny Toia, and Servando Carrasco were either declined or out of contract with their teams, but Mohamed El-Munir, Richie Laryea, Joe Bendik, and Kevin Molino all had their options exercised.

Orlando SeaWolves Sign Players Before Season’s Start

The first game of the Orlando SeaWolves season is tonight when they host the Florida Tropics at 7:35 p.m. and the SeaWolves made some last-minute decisions before the season starts. Former Lion Lewis Neal returns to the team, re-signed for another season in the Major Arena Soccer League. Although the 38-year-old likely won’t be a starting fixture for the SeaWolves, he is a decent midfielder who can provide depth to the roster when needed and is familiar face to the Orlando supporters after many years playing and coaching in the region.

The SeaWolves also signed three players from their training camp to help round out the roster, with Luke Schwarz, Mike Da Silva, and Gui Ribeiro all joining the squad.

Orlando Pride Happenings

Although the National Women’s Soccer League season is over, Orlando Pride players are staying productive and busy during the off-season. Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger aim to bring a soccer-focused television competition to the U.S. as both stars in the show and executive producers. GirlStar’s format originated in Israel and involves putting 10 female celebrities through an intensive soccer training camp where they will then compete against other teams to test what they’ve learned. It should be interesting, to say the least.

In Australia’s W-League, Carson Pickett played all 90 minutes for the Brisbane Roar in their 3-2 loss against the Melbourne Victory. Alanna Kennedy was expected tp returned from injury this week for Sydney FC but did not feature in Sydney FC’s 1-0 win over Adelaide United earlier this morning. Later this weekend, Claire Emslie and Emily van Egmond take on Camila and Canberra United in an exciting showdown.

Free Kicks
  • Joao Moutinho will be with the team next season and is fired up to take the field next year.
  • The Chicago Fire changed up their look with some horrific modifications to their iconic badge. I don’t know about you, but it looks like the love child between the Vancouver Whitecaps’ and Real Salt Lake’s logos.

That will do it for me, folks. Make sure to support the SeaWolves in their season opener tonight if you can and check back with us for even more Orlando soccer coverage. Have a great day!