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Lion Links: 12/25/20

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Sonnett to Washington is official, LA Galaxy’s Cristian Pavon seems headed back to Boca Juniors, FIFA cancels U-17 and U-20 World Cups, and more.

Orlando Pride vs Washington Spirit Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Merry Christmas, Mane Landers. I hope today can bring you some happiness and joy during this challenging year. I will be working all day at Disney Springs but hope you all have a healthy and safe holiday weekend as we look forward to the New Year. We’ve got lots happening in the soccer landscape Today, so let’s get to the links.

Sonnett to Spirit Now Official

As first reported Wednesday, the Orlando Pride officially announced that the club has traded Emily Sonnett to the Washington Spirit. The Pride got back a treasure trove in return for the USWNT defender. The Pride received more than initially thought, including defensive midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard, who is a good NWSL receiver. Orlando also gets a 2021 first-round draft choice (No. 9 overall) and another first rounder in either 2022 or 2023 in addition to a whopping $140,000 in allocation money. While Sonnett would have helped the Pride, that’s quite a haul.

LA Galaxy Midfielder Cristian Pavon Set for Boca Juniors Return?

According to reports out of South America, Cristian Pavon will be returning to Argentina to play for Boca Juniors by the new year after the Galaxy were unable to reach an agreement to keep the attacking player in Los Angeles. Pavon’s future with the Galaxy was in question after his loan from Boca Juniors had expired. The Galaxy reportedly would’ve had to pay a $20 million buyout fee attached to his loan in order for him to return but the Galaxy were unwilling to pay. Pavon has been a standout contributor since arriving in 2019. In his first year, Pavon had three goals and eight assists and helped the Galaxy clinch a playoff berth. Despite the Galaxy struggling in 2020, Pavon still performed well, with 10 goals and seven assists in 22 appearances. His departure will leave a big void in the Galaxy’s attack and replacing his production will have to be a top priority for the front office.

FIFA Cancels 2021 U-20 and U-17 World Cups

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, FIFA has announced it has canceled both the 2021 U-17 and U-20 Men’s World Cups. The U-17 World Cup was originally slated to be held in Peru while the U-20 World Cup was to take place in Indonesia. FIFA released the following statement:

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for the hosting of international sporting events and to have a restrictive effect on international travel,” FIFA said in Thursday’s statement. ”FIFA has therefore regularly consulted the relevant stakeholders, including the host member associations as well as the confederations involved in both tournaments originally scheduled to take place in 2021.

“In doing so, it became clear that the global situation has failed to normalize to a sufficient level to address the challenges associated with hosting both tournaments, including the feasibility of the relevant qualification pathways.”

FIFA also announced that both Indonesia and Peru will remain as hosts for the tournaments in 2023.

Paris Saint-Germain Fires Manager Thomas Tuchel

PSG announced on Christmas Eve the club has dismissed manager Thomas Tuchel just four months after he led the club to the UEFA Champions League final, losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in August. The club is reportedly expected to hire former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, who played with PSG for more than two seasons and is a former club captain. PSG had won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles, won the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, and claimed the Trophee des Champions twice. Tuchel had come under increasing pressure in recent weeks with the Ligue 1 champions currently sitting in third place. He reportedly had a fractious relationship with sporting director Leonardo and criticized PSG’s lack of moves during the last transfer window. Tuchel had a similar dismissal with Borussia Dortmund in May 2017 after criticizing the club hierarchy.

Soccer Films to Watch in the Off-Season

We’ve got Christmas Day NBA games today as well as a big NFL match-up in New Orleans this afternoon, but no soccer games stateside for awhile. Now that we’re in the MLS off-season and with the Concacaf Champions League all wrapped up, what shows or movies will you be catching up on? Since many of us will most likely be home during the holidays there are plenty of soccer documentaries to help get your soccer fix during the off-season. On the MLS website they put together a starting XI of soccer documentaries and they have some really good ones on their list. Some of the soccer films on the list I’ve watched personally are HBO’s documentary on the late Diego Maradona, Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, and ESPN’s 30 for 30 film, The Two Escobars. They also have some classics on the list such as Bend It Like Beckham, Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, and Shaolin Soccer. What soccer films would you put in your starting XI? Let me know in the comments below.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City captain Nani helped some families with food and other essentials near his hometown in Portugal.
  • Despite being chilly this morning in Florida, for the Orlando Pride’s Ali Riley it’s nothing compared to Sweden.
  • Budweiser is celebrating Lionel Messi’s record-breaking 644th goal for Barcelona by sending bottles to every goalkeeper he has scored a goal on.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your holiday weekend, take care of yourselves, and I’ll see you next year.