Good morning, Mane Landers. I hope you are all in good spirits this Friday as we cruise through the holiday season. It’s Friday the 13th, so make sure to round up your rabbit’s feet and clovers to ward off the bad luck. While I’m not exactly superstitious, I won’t be taking my chances by walking under ladders or in front of any black cats today. Let’s get this day started with some links from around the soccer world.
Orlando City Signs Another Homegrown Player
Midfielder Jordan Bender is the latest player signed as a Homegrown Player by Orlando City. Bender first joined Orlando’s academy at age 12 and played for Orlando City B this past season. He becomes the seventh Homegrown Player signed by Orlando and the second this week after the club signed David Loera. It’s the latest move as OCSC invests in its youth and the 18-year-old is a quality player who will benefit greatly by training with the first team this off-season.
Honduran Defender Coming to Orlando?
Orlando City was linked with Honduran right back Denil Maldonado after the 21-year-old’s breakout year with FC Motagua. Marca reported that Maldonado is close to a deal with MLS and Orlando is a possible destination. Of course, the Lions have a pretty good right back in Ruan, who recently signed a two-year contract. The Honduras international would be a nice luxury to have and the Lions could use another fullback, but a left back would seem to be a more pressing need.
Lions Will Start Sooner in 2020 U.S. Open Cup
Major changes are coming to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for next year, with the biggest being that 11 MLS clubs will play in the tournament a round earlier than in the past. The bottom nine U.S.-based clubs in 2019, as well as Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF, will all join the action in the third round as the competition restructures itself to promote more upsets and excitement. The first round will start earlier than ever next year, with March 24 as the starting point, with longer periods between matches for teams as well.
Orlando Pride Players in Australia
Both Emily van Egmond and Claire Emslie started for Melbourne City in a 1-0 win victory over the rival Melbourne Victory. Van Egmond had three shots on the night, all from inside the box and all on target, but couldn’t find the back of the net, even failing to put away a penalty in the 28th minute. Regardless, she was fired up about the derby win and her team moving to first in the league with no losses.
The 26-year-old was also nominated for W-League Player of the Month after strong performances in November. As for the other Pride players to watch this weekend, Camila’s Canberra United are playing this morning against the Perth Glory. Carson Pickett and the Brisbane Roar take on Adelaide United while Alanna Kennedy and Sydney FC will face the Newcastle Jets later this weekend.
United States 2019 Male Player of the Year Announced
Christian Pulisic claimed the title after a strong year not only with the United Stated Men’s National Team, but at the club level with Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea. It is Pulisic’s second time being named Male Player of the Year, making him the youngest out of the seven American to win the award more than once. The vote was close though, with Pulisic earning 38% of the vote and barely getting past Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris.
- It was a pretty busy week, so here’s a nice refresher and breakdown on Orlando’s moves this week.
- Canada had plenty of highs and lows in 2019 with its big win against the U.S. in Toronto and frustrating loss against the Yanks in Orlando. Lions defender Kamal Miller and former Lion Richie Laryea were both bright spots on the team though and could feature regularly in a crucial 2020.
- The usual suspects advanced in the UEFA Champions League this week, with the field wide open and enticing matches waiting once the draw is revealed on Monday. Meanwhile in the Europa League, there are plenty of interesting clubs to keep an eye on and many ways the Monday draw can go for them as well.
- We’ll end our links with soccer news out of Italy. Don’t worry, it’s good news this time. An amendment passed that will grant female players the same rights, protections, and benefits as their male counterparts.
That will be it from me today, folks. The weekend is nearly here, you just have to get through one more work day. I wish you the best of luck on this unlucky day and hope it’s a nice Friday for you.