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Lion Links: 2/8/19

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Orlando City partners with FOX, Pierre Da Silva in Brazil, Higuita fights for future, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers. It’s another great day here in Lion country with the weather warming up quite a bit compared to last month. The preseason continues as we get ever closer to the start of the 2019 season where we can see the new-look Lions in action. Let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Returns to FOX

Orlando City has signed a multi-year partnership with WOFL FOX35, with WRBW My65 set to be the flagship station for Orlando’s locally-televised games. The move comes after three seasons with TV27 and the Lions will now be a part of FOX’s growing soccer coverage as the network will also broadcast the 2019 MLS All-Star Game that will be held in Orlando and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. For those out of the local market, you can still catch the Lions through ESPN+.

Pierre Da Silva Loan Rumors

Although it is not quite official, the rumor mill is rumbling loudly that Orlando forward Pierre Da Silva is to be loaned to partner club Athletico Paranaense.

It would be a good move to get the 20-year-old some minutes and he would likely join the Paranaense reserve team if he is indeed loaned. All signs are pointing towards a loan with reports coming out that he is already in Brazil.

Orlando Eyeing a Striker?

Reports have surfaced that Orlando had a bid on Venezuelan striker Andres Ponce accepted by his Russian club, FC Anzhi Makhachkala. However, we here at The Mane Land aren’t expecting much to happen here as we’re hearing that Orlando has made no offer. That being said, it makes sense if Orlando is indeed in the hunt for a striker given Dom Dwyer’s recent injury and the lack of proven depth in the position.

Higuita Working Hard Despite Uncertainty

With an off-season that saw a hefty amount of turnover and players still being waived and moved around now in the preseason, Cristian Higuita is not a lock to be a part of the Lions in the 2019 season. However, that isn’t stopping Orlando City’s all-time appearance leader from working hard as the club prepares for next season.

The 25-year-old has been steadily improving during his time with the Lions, going from a hard-hitting enforcer to a reliable part of Orlando’s midfield on both sides of the ball. Although his future with the Lions is up in the air, Higuita still has plenty he wants to accomplish if he wears the purple this season.

“If I’m here, it’s for a reason. I have other ambitions and goals to fulfill,” he said. “I’m happy here … but I wish these last five years the team would have made the playoffs.”

Muzzi and O’Connor Big Factors for Mendez

For 21-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Sebastian Mendez, it was Executive Vice President Luiz Muzzi’s persistence that drew the young product to Orlando. While Mendez didn’t clarify which other teams were knocking at his door, he stated that feeling wanted by both Muzzi and Head Coach James O’Connor is what convinced him to bring his talents to Orlando. Mendez is confident that time with the club in MLS will be the best step to further his career and better himself as a player.

Orlando City Jersey Reveal Party

Go ahead and circle Feb. 15 on your calendars as you won’t want to miss Orlando City’s jersey reveal party next Friday. Not only will you get to see what the players will be wearing this season, but you’ll also get to meet this year’s fans who will be the Face of the City. The events start at 6 p.m. and will include a Q&A with Muzzi and O’Connor. Also, there is a free Heineken waiting for the first 100 to pre-register, so long as they’re appropriately aged of course.

Free Kicks
  • Single-game tickets are now on sale for the Lions’ home games so make sure to grab some while you can. The season starts for the Lions on March 2 against New York City FC and it’ll be your first chance to see the new Lions in competitive action.

That’s all from me folks, I hope you all have a wonderful day and a great weekend. Make sure to check out the mini-documentary that the club will be dropping later this afternoon and if any news breaks you know where to find us.