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Lion Links: 1/20/21

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Exploria Stadium will host the USMNT, MLS SuperDraft predictions, NWSL International Women’s Cup coming in August, and more.

El Salvador v USMNT

Good morning, Mane Landers! I hope the day find you all well. Let’s go right ahead and jump into the links.

Exploria Stadium to host USMNT

I mean, just call it the national stadium already. The United States Soccer Federation announced yesterday that Exploria Stadium will host the United States Men’s National Team in a friendly vs. Trinidad & Tobago on Jan. 31. This match could easily see some Orlando City Lions wear Red, White & Blue at home in their fortress with Andres Perea, Daryl Dike, Benji Michel, and Chris Mueller all in the running to be available for Gregg Berhalter this game.

“It’s nice after an intensive training camp to get to compete,” USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said in a club press release. “The guys have been working hard and we welcome the opportunity to play against a regional rival like Trinidad and Tobago.”

MLS SuperDraft Predictions

Tomorrow is the MLS SuperDraft and if Orlando City has any kind of positive karma, we’ll see another amazing young player get snagged like Dike did last year. Matthew Doyle over at MLSsoccer.com has made a cheat sheet for each team’s greatest need. With first-round picks at 19 and 22, Doyle believes the Lions will look for left back and goalkeeper depth.

In a mock draft, Orlando City could go with Duke and Sporting KC II’s Aedan Stanley as its first-round pick. He’s a true left back that is right in line with the Lions’ needs. He is draft eligible, which means OCSC would be able to grab his rights as well.

NWSL Tournament Coming this August

The Chicago Red Stars announced plans for an inaugural International Women’s Cup. The tournament will be hosted by Racing Louisville FC Aug. 18-21. Racing Louisville and the Red Stars will compete, along with two as yet unnamed UEFA Campions League teams in a single-elimination competition.

“This is a financial opportunity for the league and its teams,” Red Stars owner Arnim Whisler said. “But frankly, I expect there will be some European teams who will decline to play in these kinds of tournaments. Because once you puncture this false supremacy of some of the European teams, the players won’t be there, and they know it.”

U-23 USMNT Roster Replacement

F.C. Dallas defender Bryan Reynolds will be leaving Bradenton and the USMNT training camp for personal reasons. The L.A. Galaxy’s Julian Araujo has been added to the U-23 roster in his place. Araujo earned his first cap with the senior team when he started against El Salvador in the 6-0 win last December. at only 19 years old, Araujo is the Galaxy’s only player under 25 to surpass 1,000 minutes.

Free Kicks

That’s going to do it for me, everyone. At this time in my life I’ve had to make the tough choice to leave TML. I love the team here and will continue to read all about the Lions and all things Mane Land. Thank you for accepting me for the last (almost) two years. I’ve learned and grown so much being a part of this amazing site. Be kind to one another and as always, stay safe!