Good morning and happy Tuesday, everyone. There was plenty of news yesterday with the MLS Waiver Draft, a familiar face returning to Orlando City, and the sudden availability of the Lions’ top coaching target, so let’s get right into it.
In a welcome bit of news to start off the day Orlando City announced on Monday that the team has re-signed midfielder Oriol Rosell to a two-year contract. After OCSC made its end-of-season roster announcements, the team was left with only one defensive midfielder in Sebas Mendez. That’s no longer the case, and while the team will still need to make a host of off-season signings, that job just got a little easier. Rosell has been a solid option for the Lions in defense, but it’s been somewhat difficult to get a true read on his abilities due to the changing and unbalanced nature of Orlando’s roster, and the team’s overall struggles. Of particular note is the fact that Rosell’s option was initially declined, meaning that Luiz Muzzi was most likely able to negotiate a deal that is more favorable for the club financial-wise. Welcome back Uri!
Pareja Available After Tijuana Exit
Orlando City’s top coaching target became available last night as Tijuana of Liga MX parted ways with Oscar Pareja, clearing the way for him to re-join MLS — potentially with the Lions. As we previously reported, the former FC Dallas gaffer is at the top of Orlando’s wish list. Yesterday’s Lion Links discussed a reported two-year offer from Orlando to Pareja, who was the 10th manager to leave the Xolos in the last seven years. This is a fluid situation and Pareja will be in high demand from the MLS clubs currently seeking a coach. Let’s see if Muzzi gets his man.
Two Former Lions Scooped Up in MLS Waiver Draft
The MLS Waiver Draft took place yesterday, and two of the four players selected were Lions in 2019. Minnesota United FC took goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh with the third pick, officially bringing Greg’s time with Orlando to an end. Demonstrating the sort of classy guy that he is, Ranjitsingh penned a brief thank you to the club on Twitter for giving him his first opportunity in MLS.
With the fourth and final pick in the draft, the LA Galaxy took fullback Danilo Acosta. Like Greg, Acosta only spent 2019 with the Lions (on loan from Real Salt Lake), and mostly played as a backup, but will make for a solid addition to the Galaxy. Additionally, Orlando received a 2020 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick, and the 11th pick in the 2019 End-of-Year Waiver Draft from the New England Revolution in exchange for the third pick in this year’s draft. Orlando then elected to pass with that No. 11 pick.
Michel Training with OCSC Partner Club Paranaense
Forward Benji Michel is headed far, far south of the border during part of the off-season to train with Athletico Paranaense — Orlando City’s partner club in Brazil’s Serie A. Michel put together a solid rookie season with five goals and an assist in 17 MLS appearances — numbers that garnered him attention from both the Haiti national team and the U.S. Under-23 team. He isn’t the first player to spend time with the Brazilian outfit, with Pierre Da Silva going on loan to the club at the beginning of the 2019 season. It’s currently unclear how long Michel will spend in Brazil, but hopefully his time there sets him up to improve on a rookie season that exceeded a lot of people’s expectations.
Reign FC in Sales Negotiations
Reign FC have announced that the club has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the club to OL Groupe, which is the parent company of powerhouse French club Olympique Lyonnais. The club and OL Groupe expect the sale to be final by the end of January 2020. Reign FC has already been one of the more successful NWSL clubs since it was founded, and a sale to OL Groupe would probably only help the Washington-based side continue in that direction. The club will continue to play matches at Cheney Stadium as well as continue its existing partnerships with the Seattle Sounders and Rainiers. Whether the sale represents another step in the NWSL continuing to grow, expand, and legitimize itself as a mainstay in both the American sports and soccer landscapes or creates a “farm team” for a strong European side remains to be seen.
- Nani has a new YouTube video of his recent visit to Cape Verde.
- New York City FC has re-signed former Lion Tony Rocha to a new contract.
- The Washington Post has you covered with a roundup of how Americans playing overseas fared last weekend.
- Atlanta United’s parent company is investing in Scottish club Aberdeen FC, and will own a minority stake in the club.
- Sebastian Giovinco had a starring role in Al-Hilal’s victory in the Asian Cup final.
That’ll do it for me today. Keep it here for all your Orlando soccer news and y’all stay safe out there.