Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As ever, I sincerely hope you overcame your hump day with ease. The season may be over for Orlando City, but an abundance of happenings are occurring behind the scenes for next time around. Along with the club’s roster decisions, there’s a great deal of news around the soccer-sphere as well. So, on that note, let’s get into the links.
Dom Dwyer Enters Free Agency as Orlando City Roster Decisions are Made
Orlando City released its roster decisions yesterday and confirmed who will be continuing with the club and also who will be saying goodbye. The most notable departure is that of striker Dom Dwyer, whose contract has expired. The Lions will not be renewing his deal and he will enter free agency. Furthermore, the options for Alex De John, Josué Colmán, Robinho, and Santiago Patiño were declined, so they will also not be with Orlando next season either. Additionally, 12 players saw their options exercised, including three players on loan who had the option to buy picked up — Rodrigo Schlegel, Andres Perea, and Alexander Alvarado. The only player that was not mentioned by the club by name was Brian Rowe. The club is in negotiations to retain the backup shot stopper
Gregg Berhalter Excited to see Daryl Dike at USMNT Camp
The USMNT manager is excited to see what Orlando City striker Daryl Dike has in his locker. Both Dike and Toronto FC striker Ayo Akinola will be fighting for the same position despite being different types of forwards. Berhalter stated that he is excited for both given the fact that each bring something different to the table. The manager had the following to say about Dike.
[Dike] is such a physical presence, and he’s a guy you need to get the ball to,” the U.S. manager said. “You saw what he did in [Orlando’s playoff] game against New England. He made it very hard for the center backs to play. He was very physical, very aggressive against them. And I felt like they just needed to get him the ball in the box more. So I could imagine that when he’s on the field, we would love to get it to him in the penalty box more, either back to goal or on crosses to draw the defenders and perhaps lay off or take them on himself.”
Let’s hope the 20-year-old can impress the manager in the training camp by doing what he does best, it’d be great to see a Lion leading the line for the national side.
Greg Seltzer: Orlando City Will Remain Eastern Conference Contenders
MLSSoccer.com writer Greg Seltzer said MLS darlings Orlando City and Nashville SC will be long-term, key contenders in the Eastern Conference. After both of the southern sides had solid seasons, it’s understandable why he holds such a belief. Seltzer stated that the keys to the Lions’ successes are the stellar flanks that are backed by a solid spine.
And yet, as good as the Lions are out wide, it’s their spine that really holds the team up. Pedro Gallese comes up big in goal. Now that they took up the buy option on Antonio Carlos, bad cop Robin Jansson has the perfect partner. With Mauricio Pereyra quickly re-signed, and the purchase option on Andres Perea also exercised, the midfield is very deep and versatile.
It’s great to see the side getting some deserved recognition. Now the side must continue to earn it going into next season too.
St. Louis City SC Unveils Soccer-Specific Stadium Plans
St. Louis City revealed renderings for its forthcoming, soccer-specific stadium. The expansion side set to join the league in 2023 has an open air stadium similar to Exploria and the club’s new home will hold 22,500 supporters. There will also be pitch-side suites, along with more restaurants and concessions for fans in attendance. It is quite a nice stadium, but seems like the newcomers may have been peering over at another, aesthetically pleasing, open air palace down south for inspiration. Curious, very curious.
- Reported yesterday, but now official (and with details), Utah Royals FC has received $75,000 of allocation for Kelley O’Hara from the Washington Spirit. Said payout is also accompanied by the first-round 2022 NWSL draft pick should certain performance stipulations be met.
- Four USMNT players started in yesterday’s Champions League fixtures, while an additional three played as substitutes. Konrad de la Fuente, Chris Richards and Tyler Adams were the subs that came on in the second halves of their matches. The Americans are taking over.
Kicking off at 3pm ET in #UCL:— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) December 2, 2020
@cpulisic_10 starts for @ChelseaFC at Sevilla
@sergino_dest starts for @FCBarcelona at Ferencvaros
Gio Reyna starts for @BlackYellow vs. Lazio
@WMckennie starts for @juventusfcen vs. Dynamo Kyiv
Listings: https://t.co/20sOKTWnxR pic.twitter.com/rtK3KsP750
- Ben Olsen is reportedly in the mix for the Toronto FC job. The 43-year-old has been manager at D.C. for 10 years and has a long history with the team as well. It will be fascinating to see who takes over for Greg Vanney.
- Olivier Giroud became the oldest player to score a Champions League hat trick after he scored four goals against Sevilla. The 34-year-old Frenchman is showing that when one is an old-fashioned number nine, age is just a number.
That’ll do, pig. That’s all for this Thursday’s set of links and until next time, I’ll catch you on the flip side.