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Lion Links: 1/21/20

Orlando focused as preseason opens, Robinho gets his green card, Bradley’s ankle injury, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday everybody. With the club announcing its preseason schedule a few days ago and the club opening preseason training yesterday, the start of the 2020 Major League Soccer season is getting closer and closer by the day. Before we get started on today’s news, let’s wish Pride defender Alanna Kennedy a happy 25th birthday and former Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson a happy 33rd birthday.

Lions Focused as Preseason Opens

Orlando City opened preseason training yesterday, kicking things off at the team’s new training facility in Kissimmee. Tesho Akindele took the time to bring his teammates up to speed on what they should expect from new Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja, considering the two spent time together at FC Dallas back when Pareja drafted the striker in 2014. Pareja spoke about his immediate objective being to build chemistry within the team, and then adding on to things after that foundation is established. His goal, and everyone’s goal, is for the team to make the playoffs for the very first time.

“I think when you aim average, then you may have the risk to be correct. For me, that’s not enough. I think we all have the capacity to aim high and see if we can make it.”

Robinho Gets Green Card

News dropped late yesterday that Orlando City winger Robinho has gotten his green card. To begin with, that’s wonderful news for Robinho as an individual and a person, and something to be celebrated in and of itself, so congratulations are in order for him! Beyond that though, it also means that Robinho will no longer be on Orlando’s roster as an international player, which frees up an international spot for the club. That international slot will help the Lions become roster compliant before the beginning of the 2020 season. Expect other green cards to drop in the coming weeks.

Bradley Suffers Ankle Injury

Michael Bradley reportedly suffered a serious ankle injury during the MLS Cup final back in November. After spending the last two months rehabbing the injury, surgery appears to be the only option, with the procedure slated to take place this week as a last resort. It’s now estimated that he will miss at least four months while recovering and rehabbing from surgery. Toronto FC and USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore is less than pleased at the way the injury was handled and seemed to criticize the way the team handled it.

“In my opinion, it was handled poorly...two months have gone by and now he’s having surgery and he’ll be out until June”.

Altidore also said that this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened, so it’ll be interesting to see how things progress with Toronto from here. Regardless, it means he’ll miss a couple big national team friendlies during March as well as the beginning of the MLS season.

MLS Comings and Goings

Several pieces of news dropped yesterday regarding MLS veterans and their status in the league. First, Kyle Beckerman has signed a new contract with Real Salt Lake, OCSC’s first opponents of the season. Beckerman will be back for his 21st season in the league and his 14th season with RSL. Even at 37 years old, he remained a key player for the club in 2019, and having him back will certainly be a boost for the team from Utah. Elsewhere, Romain Alessandrini will not be returning to the LA Galaxy for a fourth season. Surgery to repair a meniscus injury limited him to only five games last year. After sustaining the injury in April he didn’t return until the postseason, when he participated in two games.

Free Kicks
  • Listen to what Tom Traxler had to say after a rough loss for the Orlando SeaWolves in Lakeland on Sunday.

That’ll be all for me today. Take care and y’all stay safe out there.