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Lion Links: 12/15/20

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Orlando City releases protected list, Mason Stajduhar goes on short-term loan, MLS trade roundup, and more.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Today is a busy day with the MLS Expansion Draft and Concacaf Champions league matches all taking place. That means there’s a lot of news to cover, so lets get into it.

Lions Announce Protected List

Orlando City SC has announced its list of protected players ahead of today’s MLS Expansion Draft. New club Austin FC will select five players to help fill out its first ever roster, and each MLS club is able to protect players from being selected. The Lions have 18 players on their protected list, with six of those automatically protected due to either being a Homegrown or Generation Adidas player. Alexander Alvarado, Matheus Aias, Tesho Akindele, Joey DeZart, Kamal Miller, Kyle Smith, and Uri Rosell are the players who were not on Orlando’s protected list. The biggest potential loss for Orlando is starter Rosell, although his age and salary mean he probably won’t be selected. A possible selection could be Smith, as he’s a proven versatile quantity at the MLS level and doesn’t cost too much salary-wise. You can find the full list of MLS players available for selection here, with some of the best players available for selection here.

Mason Stajduhar Loaned to NYCFC

OCSC has loaned goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar to New York City FC ahead of the Pigeons’ Concacaf Champions League fixture(s). NYCFC will take on Liga MX side Tigres at Exploria Stadium tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET in the second leg of the CCL quarterfinals. Stajduhar will then return to the Lions after the completion of NYCFC’s Concacaf Champions League campaign. With Sean Johnson ruled out of the match due to a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, Luis Barraza will be getting the start tonight. That means that Stajduhar could be on the gameday roster for the Pigeons, who also signed Evan Newton from Indy Eleven of the USL Championship on loan.

MLS Trade Roundup

It’s been a pretty quiet off-season for Orlando City so far, but the rest of MLS has been busy tinkering rosters. Atlanta United picked up an international roster spot from Nashville SC in exchange for $175,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). NYCFC also got an international roster spot from the Portland Timbers for $160,000 in GAM. Elsewhere, the Colorado Rapids have re-signed five veterans and also sent $125,000 in GAM to the Chicago Fire in exchange for the sixth overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. Finally, the Columbus Crew acquired goalkeeper Evan Bush from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for $125,000 in GAM.

Former Navy Player Selected for NASA Mission

Former Navy women’s soccer player Nicole Mann has been named as one of 18 astronauts selected for the Artemis Team, NASA’s program intended to put astronauts back on the moon. Mann played four years of soccer at the Naval Academy, and was named to the All Patriot League First Team each of her four years, and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year during her junior and senior years. As a naval pilot she has more than 2,500 flight hours and flew 47 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congratulations to Nicole!

Gerard Houllier Passes Away

Former Liverpool, Aston Villa, and France manager Gerard Houllier has died at the age of 73. Houllier was the head man for Liverpool from 1998-2004, winning the League Cup, FA Cup, and UEFA cup during his time with the Reds. He was also in charge of the French national team, Lyon, and Paris Saint-Germain during his 38 years as a manager. After becoming the manager of Aston Villa in 2010, Houllier stepped down from his role after one season due to heart problems. The Aston Villa job was his final managerial role. Multiple current and former Liverpool players have expressed their sadness at his passing, with Sir Alex Ferguson and many others involved with the English game also doing so.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City’s Giftmas started yesterday, with fans able to win prizes every day until Dec. 25.
  • Have a look at the best goal from every MLS team during the 2020 season.
  • The Money Badger has a big day coming up very soon.

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