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Lion Links: 10/13/21

Daryl Dike among top 22 Under 22 MLS players, potential MLS players on the move, Orlando Pride take on the Red Stars tonight, and more.

SOCCER: OCT 02 MLS - DC United at Orlando City SC Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers, I hope all is well down in Florida. I’ll be visiting Orlando this weekend to catch up with friends and seeing the theme parks. We’ve got lots to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Daryl Dike Ranked Second in MLS 22 Under 22

Orlando City forward Daryl Dike has had a solid 2021 season and he has been ranked second in MLSsoccer.com’s annual 22 Under 22, featuring the league’s top players under 22 years of age. Last season, Dike was ranked at the number 10 spot during his rookie year. Dike began 2021 in England with Barnsley FC on loan in the EFL Championship, helping lift the Tykes from 12th place to fifth place and scoring nine goals in 22 appearances. Dike also got some attention from the U.S. Men’s National Team, and even though he wasn’t featured much in the Concacaf Nations League, he was still part of the team that defeated Mexico in the final. Dike did play in this summer’s Gold Cup in the group stage, scoring two goals before he suffered a shoulder injury. Dike has returned to the Lions after rehab, scoring in Orlando’s last three matches, including the game-winning header against D.C. United on Oct. 2. FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi was the top ranked player. NYCFC defender James Sands finished third.

Orlando Pride Take on the Red Stars Tonight

The Orlando Pride travel to Chicago to take on the Red Stars tonight at 8 p.m. at SeatGeek Stadium as both teams try to stay in the NWSL playoff race. In their last match-up on Aug. 8, Jodie Taylor and Sydney Leroux were the goal scorers to help the Pride defeat the Red Stars, 2-0. The Red Stars lost 3-2 to the OL Reign over the weekend despite goals from Mallory Pugh, giving them the lead early before giving up three unanswered goals. The Pride enter this match after losing to NJ/NY Gotham FC, 3-2. Erika Tymrak and Marta scored for the Pride, while Alex Morgan got her first assist of the season. Morgan currently has 99 regular-season NWSL appearances.

Potential MLS Players on the Move

Speaking of transfers, the latest speculation is that Ricardo Pepi could be leaving FC Dallas after the season. He was linked to FC Bayern Munich and Ajax, but it looks like VFL Wolfsburg is in the lead.

Another potential target could be Orlando’s Dike. Early in the summer, Dike was linked with many English Premier League clubs, but nothing materialized. With Dike back in form, it will be interesting to see what attention he draws from Europe after the conclusion of the 2021 MLS season.

USMNT Looks to Bounce Back vs. Costa Rica

The USMNT will be looking to rebound tonight as the Yanks take on Costa Rica at 7 p.m. at Lower.com Field in Columbus. The USMNT lost 1-0 on Sunday against Panama, while Costa Rica had to come back from 1-0 to defeat El Salvador 2-1 to get their first Octagonal win. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Antonee Robinson, and midfielder Weston McKennie missed the previous match. No decision has been made on McKennie and Robinson. The Yanks will be hoping Columbus becomes their fortress once again as the team is 7-1-2 all-time in Ohio’s capital.

Free Kicks

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