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Lion Links: 1/21/21

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Orlando City preparing for SuperDraft, Paul Arriola could be on the move, Matthew Hoppe stays hot, and more.

MLS: SuperDraft Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Lionesses and Lions. As always, I hope you overcame your hump day with ease. As usual, there has been a fair amount of happenings occurring within the soccer-sphere so let’s get right into the links.

Orlando City Could Find Diamond in the Rough During MLS SuperDraft

Orlando City is preparing for the SuperDraft set for today and Evan Weston stated that the club could find a “diamond in the rough.”

“...Orlando City’s first draft pick is not in the top part of the first round. In fact, the Lions won’t pick until No. 19, and they only have that pick through a trade with Philadelphia. Their natural first round selection is at No. 22.”

Despite that being the case, there is no need to be alarmed. Players such as Kamal Miller and Joey DeZart were picked 27th and 31st, respectively, over the past two years, so a hidden gem could be found. Talent can certainly be acquired in the later stages of the SuperDraft. Let’s hope an under-the-radar talent is uncovered. It’s always great to see players drafted into MLS prosper. especially when the success comes as a surprise.

Weston McKennie Wins Supercoppa Italiana with Juventus

Weston McKennie became the first American to win the Supercoppa Italiana yesterday, doing so with Juventus. Last year’s Serie A champions pipped Napoli to the cup by a margin of 2-0.

“Pirlo is not the only one celebrating their first trophy success, American midfielder Weston McKennie is also registering his maiden career title after going all 90 minutes at Stadio Mapei. The 22-year-old was a CONCACAF Gold Cup runner-up in 2019 but starts his collection with this as his first domestic win to go alongside his U.S. Soccer player of the year award from last year.”

Let’s hope McKennie can continue to shine in Italy. This could be just the start of a very good career loaded with silverware for the player.

Matthew Hoppe Scores in Third Straight Bundesliga Match

American striker Matthew Hoppe has been a revelation since joining Schalke. The side has struggled massively this season and still sits rock bottom in the Bundesliga. Despite the hardships, the youngster has been brilliant, individually, since going to Germany.

“The 19-year-old American found an equalizer in the 57th minute, responding to FC Köln’s first-half opener. The strike appeared to earn Schalke a much-needed point, but a stoppage-time winner saw Koln walk away with an important win.”

Unlike Schalke as a whole, Hoppe has been fantastic recently and appears to be somewhat of a bright spot within the side, scoring in his last three matches for the relegation battlers. The 19-year-old’s side is currently 10 points off of guaranteed safety and 15th-place Arminia. Die Konigsblauen has accumulated just seven points from its 17 fixtures. Maybe Hoppe can get them out of the sticky situation.

Paul Arriola Drawing Serious Interest from Swansea

Jordan Morris may not be the only USMNT player headed to Swansea City this month. The Welsh side has also reportedly shown interest in Paul Arriola as well.

“According to MLSSoccer.com, the winger is “expected to be granted a work permit” and would likely be deployed as a wingback in the club’s up-tempo 3-5-2 formation. Swansea is currently in second place in the Championship with 46 points from 24 matches, in line for an automatic promotion spot. The Swans are also reportedly acquiring fellow national team member Jordan Morris on loan.”

A move for the D.C. United player could also be a loan move as with Morris. Can the dynamic pair of Americans help Swansea secure promotion?

Free Kicks

That’ll do, pig. That is all for this Thursday’s set of links. I’ll catch you on the flip side.