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Lion Links: 12/24/20

Orlando City transfer rumor, Emily Sonnett reportedly leaving Orlando Pride, Alex Morgan lauded for influence in England, and more.

Soccer: International Friendly Women’s Soccer-Sweden at USA Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As always, I hope you overcame your hump day with ease. Also, a Merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate! Hurry and get your last-minute gifts while you still can. May the odds be ever in your favor while doing so.

There has been a fair amount of happenings occurring within the soccer-sphere so let’s get right into the links.

Benfica Midfielder Franco Cervi Linked with Orlando City

Benfica midfielder Franco Cervi has been linked with a switch to Orlando City. The 26-year-old has also been said in the same breath as FC Dallas as well, however, Orlando was said to be the favorites by a report out of Portugal.

That said, sources close to The Mane Land have debunked the rumor and the Lions are not expected to be in the mix for the Argentine’s signature.

The Mane Land has learned that Orlando City is not in the mix for Cervi and that a possible team of interest is the LA Galaxy. Further, we do not expect the Lions to make a big splash in this transfer window. The club does have some needs it wants to address, primarily a left fullback, a wing player, a depth center back, a potential backup for Mauricio Pereyra, and maybe a striker if the right deal came along. There is a Designated Player slot open for the club, but that could end up going to a player who was on a TAM-level deal in 2020.

Akindele Called up to Canada National Team

Tesho Akindele has been called up to the Canada Men’s National Team camp in January. The 28-year-old is also joined by former Lions Kamal Miller and Richie Laryea. Ayo Akinola, who just played for the USMNT about two weeks ago, is eligible for the United States, Canada, and Nigeria as well. It will be fascinating to see which nation the Toronto striker chooses to represent at the international level. As for Akindele, the big man will not have to travel far at all. The side will have its training camp in Bradenton for the meetup that will contain no international matches. Nevertheless, all the best of luck to him on national duty!

Orlando Pride Trading Emily Sonnett to Washington Spirit?

Orlando Pride is reportedly trading Emily Sonnett to the Washington Spirit for the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft set to take place in January, a first-round pick in 2023, an undisclosed amount of allocation money, and midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard. Sonnett has not yet played for the Pride since joining from the Portland Thorns due to the pandemic but she is now on her way out of Orlando. The trade does raise some eyebrows, however the Pride may have a plan that could benefit the side in the long-run.

If the trade happens as reported, the Pride will get back into the first round in the 2021 NWSL Draft after trading their natural first selection in January to move up and select Taylor Kornieck at No. 3 overall. Orlando would also have a second first-round pick in 2023, which is never a bad asset to have. The unknown is the amount of allocation money that Orlando would reportedly receive, which could be used to great effect.

The Pride must improve in several areas to start to contend, and the assets coming back to Orlando in this reported move would be helpful in turning things around.

Bradley Wright-Phillips Moves to Columbus Crew

Bradley Wright-Phillips was signed by Columbus Crew from LAFC yesterday. The veteran had his contract option declined after the season by Bob Bradley’s side and because of that, the 35-year-old entered free agency. The Black & Gold took full advantage of the situation and snapped up the two-time MLS Golden Boot winner. The Englishman may help strengthen the Crew’s already potent attack even further by providing backup tp Gyasi Zardes. The MLS champions appear as if they are doing all they can to strengthen even further on the back of such a successful campaign. The Crew will be a force to be reckoned with going into next season.

Free Kicks
  • Nani named his five-a-side team from the best players he has played with. What a team that would be! Not sure about how the captain would fare as a coach though, maybe one day we’ll find out.
  • Speaking of Nani, the Portuguese veteran was acknowledged by the MLS Twitter page for his free kick against Nashville SC. Chris Mueller’s banger against Atlanta United was somehow forgotten in the compilation of best free kicks in 2020 though.
  • Alex Morgan’s stay in England was short, but she left a mark that will continue on in her absence, as she fought successfully to get Tottenham’s WSL side equal access to the club’s best training grounds.
  • Orlando received praise for serving as the venue for the SCCL finish. You’re welcome.

That’ll do, pig. That is all for this Thursday’s set of links. Happy Holidays and I’ll catch you on the flip side.