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Lion Links: 1/14/19

Orlando City finishes draft with a familiar face, Urso unveiled, Lions add some GAM, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 06 MLS - Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. With the MLS SuperDraft coming to an end yesterday we’re now one step closer to the start of the new season. There are several pieces of important news to discuss this morning so let’s have at it.

OCSC Picks O’Callaghan

Orlando City used its third and eventual final pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Nick O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan is a defender from Florida International University who has close ties to OCSC. He came through the Orlando City Academy but will not qualify as a Homegrown Player since the club wasn’t yet in MLS during the time he was in the academy. He also played for the Orlando City U-23 team during its final season, and spent time in 2018 playing with SIMA Aguilas. Naturally a left back, O’Callaghan would likely back up Joao Moutinho if he makes the team, and could provide vital depth in an area the Lions need it. Orlando City, like most of MLS, passed in the fourth round.

Urso Unveiled

As The Mane Land has been reporting for some time now, Orlando City has completed the signing of Junior Urso from Corinthians, with the Lions announcing the deal yesterday afternoon. The 30-year-old Brazilian midfielder is estimated to have cost OCSC a $900,000 transfer fee, and while his roster designation has not yet been determined, we anticipate that he will be a Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) signing. Urso provides more reinforcement in the center of midfield, as well as the type of powerful box to box engine that is key over the course of the long MLS season. Welcome to Orlando!

GAM Acquisition for Lions

Yet more Orlando City news from yesterday came in the form of the team announcing that it had acquired some General Allocation Money (GAM). Specifically, the club picked up $100,00 of GAM from Los Angeles FC in exchange for the rights to Ecuadorian midfielder Jose Cifuentes. The Lions had Cifuentes on their Discovery List since before the 2019 U-20 World Cup, but with recent off-season midfield signings felt comfortable trading his rights to get some GAM, presumably to use it to strengthen other areas of the team. Don’t be surprised if a signing pops up in the nearby future that used GAM, or if there’s news of the club making a GAM for TAM trade.

From Last to First in the NWSL

The last link today is an interesting one as it discusses players picked in the last round of the NWSL College Draft who went on to earn professional contracts and are still playing in the NWSL today. One such player is the Orlando Pride’s Marisa Viggiano, who was picked No. 30 overall in last year’s draft. Viggiano provided some interesting insight into the draft process when someone isn’t necessarily a top prospect. She said she submitted her paperwork, made a highlight reel, and put it out for the world to see, and that was basically all. She also believes that there are now better avenues for college players to get advice and the perspectives of established NWSL pros — something that is especially beneficial when a player is coming from a smaller program. As Viggiano has already proven, value can be found even when going deep into the draft.

Free Kicks
  • Take advantage of your chance to win a signed Junior Urso jersey.

That’ll be all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.