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Lion Links: 2/7/20

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MLSPA agrees on new collective bargaining agreement, Orlando SeaWolves lose, USWNT ready, and more.

W-League Rd 10 - Melbourne City v Newcastle Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s our first Friday of February as 2020 keeps rolling on. I don’t have any specific plans for this weekend, but I can’t wait for it to get here nonetheless. This work week has been taxing on my end, but hopefully things have been going a bit smoother for you all. Now, let’s get to today’s links.

New Collective Bargaining Agreement Reached

After months of negotiations, Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association reached a new collective bargaining agreement that will last through 2024. Plenty of changes are coming and here is a great breakdown on how the increased spending for clubs across the league will shake out over the next few years. The agreement also put an emphasis on bringing in younger talented players to the league.

Another huge change is that every club must use charter flights for at least eight legs of travel in 2020 and that total will increase to 16 legs by 2024. All playoff and Concacaf Champions League trips will be done through charter flights as well. Plenty of teams, including Orlando City, had flight trouble in recent years and this should be a game changer across the board.

USWNT Close to Olympic Qualification

The United States Women’s National Team has never lost a game in Concacaf Olympic qualifying and looks to continue that trend tonight when it takes on Mexico in Carson, CA at 10 p.m. The team carries a 26-game unbeaten streak into tonight’s match, with Olympic qualification on the line for both nations.

The USWNT is certainly favored to qualify, but this match also gives the players a good chance to make their case for inclusion on the squad this summer. The Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger has stepped up in a big way after impressing from the center back position in the USWNT’s past two shutout wins and may have secured a spot on the limited Olympic roster because of it.

Pride Players in the W-League

While the W-League is on an international break, there has been plenty of time to reflect on the season so far as the postseason nears. The Pride’s Camila was noted as an important player in Canberra United’s system and could be a deciding factor as to whether or not Canberra can sneak into the postseason.

The Pride player having the best year is unquestionably Emily van Egmond. The midfielder was named to the Team of the Season up to this point, currently sits third in the Golden Boot race, and has the second most passes in the league with 601. Speaking of stats, Carson Pickett is second in both chances created (21) and crosses (61). Camila is also in the hunt for most crosses, placing third so far with 52. There are still plenty of games left to go and Pride players feature in the five most important matches left down the stretch.

Orlando SeaWolves Fall at Home

The Orlando SeaWolves’ tough season continues after an 8-5 loss at home against the San Diego Sockers. The SeaWolves were able to keep the game close in the first half, but allowed three quick goals after halftime and couldn’t claw their way back. However, the team did fight back and stayed within striking distance for most of the night. Head Coach Tom Traxler will continue to work on salvaging something from this season, but his time will now be split after being recently hired by the Central Florida Soccer Club Panthers in the National Premier Soccer League.

Big Change in U.S. Soccer’s Front Office

U.S. Soccer Chief Commercial Officer Jay Berhalter resigned from his position and is leaving the U.S. Soccer Federation after 15 collective years. Once considered a leading candidate for the USSF’s vacant CEO position, his decision to leave comes as a surprise, especially with his brother Gregg Berhalter coaching the United States Men’s National Team. The USSF’s annual general meeting takes place next week in Nashville, and filling Berhalter’s absence will likely be a priority moving forward.

Free Kicks
  • YouTube star and Orlando native Scooter Magruder hit the runway to show off Orlando City’s new look. Make sure to check out the number and name design on the back of the jerseys as well.

That’s going to do it for today, Mane Landers. I hope each and every one of you has a great Friday and an awesome weekend.