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Lion Links: 12/28/20

Orlando City mentioned in transfer rumors, USMNT may start 2021 in Exploria Stadium, Santos FC denies Lionel Messi, and more.

Orlando City SC v Inter Miami CF Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! We’re so close to the finish line of 2020. By the next time I write Lion Links, we will finally be in the New Year. I’m of the mind that it will be a better year, but if 2020 has taught us anything it’s not to jinx anything, so I will not officially state that as my position.

Hopefully you had a safe and happy Festivus, Christmas, winter solstice, or whichever December holiday you observe. I was fortunate to be able to have my family close, and to have everyone happy, healthy, and full from our holiday treats. Let’s get to the links!

Another Winger Rumor Regarding Orlando

Orlando City could use some depth at fullback and striker this off-season. An unlikely addition would be a starting-quality winger, as Nani and Chris Mueller seem to have that position well in hand in my opinion. However, Orlando was linked with Argentine winger Franco Cervi earlier this week and has now been mentioned in regards to 23-year-old Ecuadorian winger Joao Rojas. According to a report from Ecuagol, Rojas received a proposal from an MLS side that already has an Ecuadorian player on the roster and Orlando City is one of only five MLS clubs that fit the bill. I would be surprised if he made it to Orlando though as Rojas has offers from clubs in Mexico and Spain. One of those offers is in the $4 million range, which might be more than the Lions are willing to spend on the position.

USMNT May Play in Exploria Stadium Next Month

While not confirmed, Serbian outfit Zurnal is reporting that the United States Men’s National Team will host Serbia in Exploria Stadium on Jan. 31. The last time the two teams faced each other was in the 2017 January camp held in San Diego. This would be the first camp for the USMNT in 2021 for Head Coach Gregg Berhalter and whichever players he calls up. Given the camp might take place in Exploria Stadium, we could see call-ups for Chris Mueller, Daryl Dike, and Andres Perea.

The Top Targets in USL Championship Free Agency

USL Championship clubs have been active in free agency since their off-season started, but a new crop of players will be available now that the MLS Re-Entry Process is complete. That means players who have been released from MLS clubs like former Orlando City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh are now available for USL Championship clubs to pick up. This is a golden opportunity for those players to continue their professional careers and for the clubs to pick up some quality players.

Santos FC Argues Messi’s Record

A week ago, I shared in Lion Links that Lionel Messi tied Pele’s single-club scoring record of 643 goals. When he scored a goal against Real Valladolid, he thought he’d broken the record. Now, it seems that Santos FC is saying the real record total is 1,091 due to goals Pele scored that were of lesser value and not included in the official totals. That means Messi is still 447 goals shy of surpassing Pele. If that is the case, it might be difficult to get the record as Messi isn’t sure if he will stay or go when his contract with Barcelona is over.

Free Kicks
  • Are you planning on any New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps getting back into shape? I submit a workout demonstrated by David Loera and Jordan Bender. Good luck.
  • Those who listen to The Mane Land PawedCast know I’m a Liverpool supporter. Like Jurgen Klopp, I was disappointed with the draw against West Bromwich Albion. However, I was able to watch the match with my dad, so it could have been worse. Though that might depend on how Joel Matip is doing after going off injured against the Baggies.
  • Klopp wasn’t the only frustrated English Premier League manager this weekend. Burnley boss Sean Dyche was pretty upset with the officiating in the club’s 1-0 loss to Leeds United. Evidently, poor officiating isn’t limited to PRO referees in Major League Soccer.

That will do it for me this morning. Enjoy your day and check back later for our final player’s Season in Review, and another Top 10 Moment of 2020.