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Lion Links: 5/7/19

Ricardo Moreira’s importance to Orlando City, the Lions’ biggest position of need, MLS transfers, and more.

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

It was...not a great weekend for Orlando soccer. While Orlando City B did manage a scoreless draw, Orlando City lost 2-0 to Toronto FC, and the Orlando Pride fell 1-0 to the Houston Dash. My soccer-induced depression grows more powerful by the day. There’s plenty of other things to discuss though, so on to the links, as soon as we wish Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux a very happy 29th birthday.

Ricardo Moreira Key in Building Roster

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Orlando City’s Director of Scouting has a very important job. Ricardo Moreira has to have an eye on the global transfer market, expiring contracts and what positions the team needs filled, among other things. As such, Moreira has been instrumental in rebuilding and retooling the Orlando roster since he was hired last October.

One of the things he does that didn’t necessarily occur to me is the fact that he watches five or six soccer games a day. Rather than simply reacting to offers from other clubs or agents, he prefers to take a more active role in scouting, and one of the ways he does that is by watching as much tape as he can get his hands on. All in all, he’s got quite the interesting job, and one that isn’t always in the spotlight in the same way other members of the front office are.

Orlando City’s Biggest Need?

The folks over at have put together a list of every MLS team’s biggest need, and have named the center back position the biggest area of concern for Orlando City. Personally, I would dispute that assessment. While Orlando City has conceded 16 goals, that number isn’t particularly egregious when compared to the rest of the league. Far worse is the fact that the team has only scored 13 goals and has scored more than one goal in a match only twice all season. In my opinion the team needs help offensively, whether it be in the form of a creative dynamic midfielder, or another striker — witnessing 18 shots and only two put on goal in the loss to Toronto did not exactly fill me with warm and fuzzy feelings.

Forlan on MLS and Orlando City Stadium

Diego Forlan was in Orlando over the weekend as an Atletico Madrid ambassador following the announcement that the La Liga side will face off against the MLS All-Stars in Orlando over the summer. In a sign that the club got things right with Orlando City Stadium, he was very complimentary of the venue that will host this summer’s contest, calling the grass “beautiful” and remarking on how close the fans were to the field itself. He believes that soccer-specific stadiums like the one the Lions enjoy is just another sign that the American game is beginning to catch up to that of its overseas counterparts.

MLS Transfer Happenings

Two big transactions took place in MLS yesterday. Beginning in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Timbers signed Brian Fernandez from Liga MX team Necaxa as the team’s newest Designated Player. Argentinian forward Fernandez had 18 goals in 32 appearances for Necaxa, and should add some more firepower to a Timbers team that will welcome additional help down the right side of its attack. Elsewhere, the Columbus Crew made a trade with the aforementioned Timbers to acquire David Guzman, a Costa Rican international who plays in the midfield. Guzman should bring some experience and steel to a Columbus team that has dropped five games in a row.

LeBlanc Praises Women’s Awards

It’s no secret that things aren’t exactly equal when it comes to men’s and women’s soccer. In recent times though, the wheels of change have slowly started to move and one of the ways that has happened is the introduction of two new awards for The Best FIFA Football Awards. The two new awards are the Women’s Best XI and The Best Goalkeeper in Women’s Football, two categories that have long been present in the men’s game but will be included for the very first time on the women’s side of things. Former Chicago Red Stars keeper Karina LeBlanc noted that the new awards will give more exposure to the women’s game and will hopefully help give young girls some female players to look up to, whereas all her idols as a kid were male players. Obviously there’s still a mountain of work to be done before equality is achieved, but every little bit counts.

Free Kicks
  • The Parley for the Oceans auction put up some good numbers.
  • Vincent Kompany almost burned a hole through the net.

Apparently lots of his teammates were telling him not to shoot.

  • If you ask me, John Aldridge a) shouldn’t be surprised by any antics performed by a man who’s bitten opposing players three times, and b) maybe needs slightly thicker skin. Players dive and try to rile up the opposition in literally every game of professional soccer. To quote Bruce Hornsby and The Range, “That’s just the way it is.”

It’s yet another busy week full of Orlando soccer. OCB and the Pride kick things off on Saturday with games against North Texas and the Portland Thorns, respectively, before Orlando City finishes things off with a road clash against Atlanta United on Sunday. Y’all stay safe out there.