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Lion Links: 11/18/20

Pareja passed over for MLS Coach of the Year, a chat with David Loera, Pride players make USWNT roster, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope the day finds you all well. Let’s go ahead and jump right into the links, shall we?

Pareja Snubbed for Orlando City Turnaround as Curtin Takes COY

2020 is a weird year, ya’ll. I thought for sure Head Coach Oscar Pareja would prevail as MLS Coach of the Year, but alas it has been awarded to Jim Curtin of the Philadelphia Union. Curtin led his team to the Supporters’ Shield and that’s often how voters decide who did the best job of coaching over the course of the year. But, by most objective metrics, Pareja did more with less and had more key players out at various times during the 2020 season without the Lions missing a beat.

Sit Down with David Loera

Pareja has made it clear that the best players for the job at hand will take the field, often rotating the young players and academy products into the lineup. In this Q&A session with academy product David Loera, the midfielder was asked how important it is to have a coaching staff that works together to give the young players an opportunity.

“Yeah, I think from what I’ve seen they’re very together. It’s very, very exciting. So what I mean by that is Marcelo [Neveleff] is the guy that really takes care of the Academy and OCB. Obviously before COVID, there were multiple Academy guys coming in and training with us. He sees potential and just knows that if you do well, playing games with OCB and in the Academy, there’s always that opportunity that you can come and train with the First Team and then just keep training with them here. I think Marcelo does a good job because he’s the one that watches these guys and these kids every single day. Oscar [Pareja] trusts his word and so far all the Academy kids that have come to the First Team have done well,” Loera shared.

Vlatko Andonovski names 23-Player Roster for USWNT Friendly

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski has named 23 players to begin training camp for the team’s final match of 2020 against the Netherlands. Orlando Pride stars Alex Morgan and Emily Sonnett have been called up. Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger were noticeably left off the roster having last trained with the team in October.

“This doesn’t mean Ashlyn is out of the picture by any means,” Andonovski said. “The process of selecting the team never stops. ... We’re gonna keep evaluating, keep analyzing, and in some ways keep everyone on their toes so they’re motivated to perform and be the best version of themselves.”

MLS to Charter Flights for International Players

In a move to bypass quarantine procedures and allow international players to be ready for playoff matches, MLS is chartering flights to speed up their returns. With so many players on international duty, it would leave teams unbalanced as the playoffs are set to begin this week. According to early reports, it’s unclear if all players will be accommodated, but the league will work to bring back as many players as possible.

Ken Griffey Jr. Joins Sounders Ownership Group

Baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr. and his family have been added to the MLS’ ownership group with the Seattle Sounders.

“Ken Griffey Jr. is a name that requires no introduction, whether in Seattle or across the sports world, and we couldn’t be more proud to welcome Ken and his family into our club,” said Sounders FC majority owner Adrian Hanauer. “As a lifelong resident of this great city, bringing someone like Ken into Sounders FC holds a special significance to me, as he is truly a part of Seattle sports’ heart and soul. We value the contributions that he will add as a partner in our club and welcome him and his family with open arms.”

This isn’t the first time Griffey made headlines with MLS. The Major League Baseball Hall of Famer was Orlando City’s 10,000th season ticket member for the Lions’ inaugural season in the league back in 2015.

Free Kicks
  • Our very own Sebas Mendez got booked, but I’m guessing it was worth it.
  • Orlando City unveiled the winning license plate design.
  • I think the USMNT had a week none of us will ever forget, but let’s hear it from rising star Nicholas Gioacchini.

That’ll do it for me today, everyone. Have a great day and stay safe!