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Lion Links: 7/16/20

Orlando linked with Argentinean striker, Lions sign Michael Halliday to Homegrown contract, Chris Mueller feeling confident, and more.

Orlando City SC v New York City FC - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions, I sincerely hope you overcame your hump day with ease. Given the fact that the Philadelphia Union cruised past Inter Miami and the fact that Orlando City already has two wins of its own, Oscar Pareja’s men have officially qualified for the round of 16. With that, let’s get into the links.

Lions Linked with Club Leon Striker Leo Ramos

Always looking to improve the roster, Luiz Muzzi was thought to be looking at perhaps adding a striker heading into 2020. While the team addressed that need in the MLS SuperDraft, there was no veteran signing in the off-season at the forward spot. However, reports indicate that the Lions could be interested in bringing in Club Leon striker Leonardo Ramos from Liga MX. The Argentinean has scored six goals in 20 appearances with Leon since 2019, but previously struck 16 times in 23 appearances with Lobos BUAP. The Mane Land is looking into these rumors and will post something later today.

Orlando CIty Signs Michael Halliday to Homegrown Contract

Orlando City signed Michael Halliday to a Homegrown Player contract. The 17-year-old right back is the second youngest academy player the club has ever signed to a professional deal, with Tommy Redding being the only signing that was ever made at a younger age. The Apopka-born defender, who is apparently known for being pacey, is deemed a really exciting prospect by many within the club including the Orlando CIty’s Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi.

Michael is another example of the vision we have for the future of the Orlando City development pyramid, making the journey from the Academy to our MLS side,” Orlando City EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said. “After starting out in our academy and signing with Orlando City B, Michael has been able to train with our First Team, including during our time in Mexico this preseason. He has continuously showcased his potential and we are very excited to see him continue to grow as a member of our Club.”

Orlando City Round of 16 Date Announced

Orlando goes toe to toe with the Philadelphia Union on Monday. That date is not the only one that has been decided, the dates for the forthcoming round of 16 have also been announced as well. If the Lions win they will top the group and face the third place side from either Group C, D, or E. If they fall short and lose to the Union, Orlando City will take on the second place team in Group C.

Mueller Feeling Confident After a Red-Hot Start to MLS is Back

Chris Mueller is feeling confident in the return of soccer for Orlando City. After a goal in the first match of the MLS is Back Tournament against Inter Miami and a brace against NYCFC, the American 23-year-old is on cloud nine due to his excellent run of form. Mueller was sure to acknowledge and heap praise on Oscar Pareja, saying the 2016 manager of the year is hugely responsible for his and his teammates stellar performances. Pareja is always sure to let the players express themselves.

Obviously I’ve enjoyed working with Oscar, for sure. When a coach manages the players so well and gives you the confidence to go out and play your own game and show some personality on the field, I think that that’s all you can ask for,” Mueller said of Pareja. “I think that he’s done that really well, especially with me. I feel confident to go out and play my own game and just let the pieces kind of fall as they do and focus on playing my game.”

Orlando Pride’s Konya Plummer Nominated for 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year

Konya Plummer, the Orlando Pride’s 2020 no. 10 draft pick has been nominated for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The Jamaica-born central defender became the first Jamaican national to be drafted to the NWSL, and she also had a terrific season with the UCF Knights.

In her two seasons with the Knights, Plummer appeared in 25 matches and scored one goal. She started 16 of 17 regular season matches last season and anchored a UCF back line that allowed just seven goals on the year.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando CIty celebrated the hard-fought win over NYCFC with a relaxing putt-putt outing.
  • MLS has announced the reward Mueller — or someone — will be given if he wins the golden boot. To help the growth of soccer, MLS will grant the top scorer of the tournament an additional $10,000 for his academy club.
  • Here’s a quick preview of OCB’s League One season.
  • The Qatar-based 2022 World Cup will feature an unprecedented four games per day. The main goal of this is to grant each team more rest between fixtures.
  • FIFA has granted permission for the Premier League to keep the five subs rule until Aug. 2021. No decision has been made by the league as of yet.
  • Arsenal committed an incredible smash and grab against Liverpool to edge past the Premier League champions. After enduring 24 shots and only taking 3 of their own, the Gunners incredibly managed to win 2-1.

That’ll do, pig. That is all the links for this Thursday. Be sure to keep showing relentless support for Orlando City from the confines of your home. Clearly the Lions can feel the energy seeping out through the cameras at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It’s really important that the Lions maintain momentum and secure a win against the Philadelphia Union so a more favorable draw is achieved. Until then, catch you on the flip side.