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Lion Links: 1/23/21

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Orlando City acquires Brandon Austin on loan, USWNT wins at Exploria Stadium, the Orlando Pride sign Phoebe McClernon, and more.

Orlando Pride v North Carolina Courage Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope everyone had a good week as we head into a sunny weekend. I will certainly take advantage of the warm weather by walking around my apartment complex or maybe playing some golf with friends. We have lots of soccer news to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Goalkeeper Brandon Austin Loaned to Orlando City

Orlando acquired goalkeeper Brandon Austin on loan from Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. The loan is for six months, with an option for an additional six months after that. The 22-year-old goalkeeper is part of the England Youth National Team pool, but has dual citizenship and won’t take up an international spot.

Austin has been part of Tottenham’s youth system and joins the Lions after his recent loan spell with Danish side Viborg FF. Pedro Gallese will be busy this year with the Peruvian National Team during international breaks and Austin will most likely compete with Mason Stajduhar for the backup position. Considering Austin’s loan and Andrew Pannenberg’s selection in the MLS SuperDraft, it’s unlikely Brian Rowe will return to Orlando next season.

USWNT Shuts Out Colombia in Exploria Stadium

Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger started in the United States Women’s National Team’s dominant 6-0 win over Colombia in Exploria Stadium. Krieger played at right back and helped the USWNT earn yet another shutout while also delivering the cross for the team’s first goal, although she wasn’t given credit for the assist.

Megan Rapinoe had a brace in the match while Catarina Macario and Midge Purce scored their first USWNT goals. Lynn Williams and Lindsey Horan scored the USWNT’s other two goals and Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris made the roster but didn’t feature. The USWNT has won all four of its games played at Exploria Stadium and will aim to continue that trend in next month’s SheBelieves Cup.

Orlando Pride Sign Phoebe McClernon

The Pride signed defender Phoebe McClernon to a two-year contract. The Pride selected the 23-year-old in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, but never signed her to a full contract until now. After the team withdrew from the NWSL Challenge Cup, McClernon went on loan to Växjö in the Swedish League and made 12 appearances. McClernon will provide much needed depth when fellow defenders Ali Riley, Ali Krieger, and Konya Plummer are called up to their respective national teams. Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner shared his thoughts on bringing McClernon back.

“We’re very excited to welcome Phoebe back to Pride. She has gained valuable experience playing in the Damallsvenskan and this will only help with the maturity of her performance,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “Phoebe possesses many skills that will make her an excellent defender for our team and, already knowing her character, I believe she will offer a lot of quality and help us build a solid foundation for the Club moving forward.”

Carrie Lawrence Reflects on First Season With the Pride

The Orlando Pride’s season was much shorter than planned in 2020. Since the team had to pull out of the NWSL Challenge Cup and wait until September for the NWSL Fall Series, many rookies had to wait longer than expected to make their debuts for the Pride. Lawrence discussed her professional debut for the Pride in the match against the North Carolina Courage on Sept. 19.

“To make it and step on that field for the first time – it was surreal,” said Lawrence. “I was definitely nervous – playing North Carolina in my first game was intimidating. But I tried to keep my mind calm and let the anxiety in my body subside. I knew the one thing that I could control was keeping my mind calm. If I let the adrenaline get to my head, then that could affect my performance. I think that definitely helped and that’s something that, going forward, I’ll continue to control.”

Lawrence trained with the club in 2019 and was signed as a supplemental player last January. The Orlando native and UCF soccer alumna will return to the Pride this season and likely participate in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.

Jordan Morris Signs Loan Deal with Swansea City

The Seattle Sounders officially loaned winger Jordan Morris to Swansea City for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season. The 26-year-old will join the Welsh club, which is in second place in the EFL Championship, and help boost its promotion hopes for the English Premier League. Morris has been a successful Homegrown Player since joining the Sounders in January of 2016 and had 35 goals and 20 assists in 105 MLS games, winning two MLS Cups with Seattle. Morris now looks ahead towards his next challenge.

Free Kicks
  • Major League Soccer released an update regarding negotiations with the MLS Players Association.
  • United States Men’s National Team youth left back Chris Gloster plays at PSV Eindhoven but has been drawing interest from Newcastle United.
  • Concacaf confirmed its schedule for the 2021 Concacaf Champions League. The draw for the competition will be on Feb. 10, with the tournament starting in April.
  • There was some history made during the first round of this year’s NWSL draft.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your weekend, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.