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Lion Links: 1/7/20

Corinthians announces Urso sale to Orlando, Amanda Duffy to take on role with Orlando Pride, the Pride may be shopping No. 1 pick, and more.


Happy Tuesday, Mane Landers. With school back in session today is my first day back at work after several much needed weeks off and, to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not ready in the slightest. Luckily there’s a wealth of news today to distract us from any Tuesday blues, including some Orlando City personnel news! Let’s get into it.

Corinthians Announces Sale of Junior Urso to Orlando City

As originally reported in Brazil by GloboSporte, and confirmed by The Mane Land several weeks ago, midfielder Junior Urso will be a Lion. Brazilian Serie A giants Corinthians officially announced the news on Monday, meaning that things have pretty much gone final, although Orlando City has not yet made an official announcement of its own. A 30-year-old midfielder, Urso is of the box-to-box variety and will add a considerable amount of experience to the Lions’ midfield. His best qualities seem to be covering a lot of ground, distributing the ball from the center of midfield, and taking a crack at goal from range every now and then. Welcome to Orlando!

Former NWSL Commissioner Duffy to the Orlando Pride

An Orlando Pride bombshell dropped last night, as Steven Goff of the Washington Post broke the news that Amanda Duffy had stepped down as NWSL commissioner to take a position with the Orlando Pride.

Only days ago Duffy was the favorite to be named the league’s commissioner. However, Caitlin Murray reported on Twitter that Duffy did not have the support of the majority of the league’s owners needed to take that position. Duffy stepped down Monday from her role as NWSL president and will apparently be joining the Pride in some capacity. As Erik Ustruck was named the team’s GM in January, it could be that Duffy could hold a title of president or CEO of the Pride. We’ll have to wait for more information on this one.

Pride Shopping No. 1 Pick to Portland?

Yesterday was a big day in the NWSL. It may have ended with the Duffy news above but it started with a report that the Pride were discussing trading the No. 1 pick in next week’s NWSL College Draft to Portland.

It didn’t take long for some pretty interesting names to come up, with Emily Sonnett and Midge Purce both being mentioned as potential trade pieces.

In the end, nothing happened, but that doesn’t mean a deal won’t be struck. Some underclassmen have apparently indicated they may be willing to enter the NWSL draft but are more keen on joining the Thorns than the Pride. If Portland wants that pick, however, it will need to make it worth Orlando’s while. Sonnett and Purce would be a good price for that pick, although it would give the Pride an additional national team player in an Olympic year.

Other NWSL Happenings

Several pieces of news dropped regarding personnel moves and decisions in the NWSL. First and foremost was a trade involving the Chicago Red Stars and Houston Dash. Chicago sent defender Katie Naughton and the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NWSL College Draft to Houston in exchange for forward Kealia Ohai. Naughton was a stalwart on the Red Stars’ back line during their run to the NWSL final last season, appearing in 22 of the team’s 24 games. She will also bring international experience to the Dash, having represented the United States at various youth levels. Ohai meanwhile leaves Houston with the club record for goals scored, and has also notched 16 career assists. In other news, Utah Royals midfielder Erika Tymrak has announced her retirement from professional soccer. Tymrak was one of the players selected in the inaugural NWSL College Draft and retires as the 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year and a two-time NWSL champion.

NYCFC Names New Head Coach

New York City FC has named Ronny Deila as its new head coach. He most recently spent the last three years with Vålerenga in his native Norway. Before that he was with two other Norwegian clubs, Brodd and Strømsgodset, as well as Celtic FC in Scotland. Deila has a lot to live up to, as NYCFC’s previous manager, Dome Torrent, led the club to both the best Eastern Conference record in 2019, and a berth in the Concacaf Champions League for the very first time. Deila is currently waiting on his U.S. work permit, and will officially join the club once his paperwork is approved.

No Virtual Offside for MLS

For the time being Major League Soccer will not be using the virtual offside line technology that has proved so controversial in the English Premier League. Professional Referees Association General Manager Howard Webb confirmed the decision and also stated that while the technology was unofficially tested during the 2019 MLS season, it didn’t work as desired due to games not having enough television cameras. The news is likely to go over well for fans of soccer in America given the frequent controversial decisions that have been made in the Premier League thanks to the virtual line. However, Webb did say that the number and position of television cameras were, “not yet as extensive in some MLS games as it is in some other leagues,” leaving the door open for the introduction of the technology in the future.

USMNT Friendly News

The United States Men’s National Team will reportedly take on Wales in a friendly on March 30 in Cardiff. If true, it would make the Welsh the second European team for the Yanks to face in Europe during the month of March, with the team already scheduled to play the Netherlands on March 26 in Eindhoven. This confirms initial reports back in December that the USSF was looking to set up a friendly with Wales. The two teams will represent a very tough March window for the U.S., with Wales advancing to the semifinals of the 2016 European Championships and the Netherlands finishing runners-up in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

Free Kicks
  • Is the SheBelieves Cup returning to Exploria Stadium this spring?
  • Orlando City did some good work at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Christmas.

That’ll do it for me today, y’all stay safe out there.