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Lion Links: 12/1/21

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Rumor surfaces on Marta’s future, Jarrod Dillon joins Orlando’s front office, New England Revolution eliminated, Sam Mewis traded, and more.

Racing Louisville FC v Orlando Pride Photo by Jeremy Reper/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. We made it to the last month of the year. I hope everyone is doing well down in Florida. Not much is happening up here in Chicago besides enjoying some warm weather while I can before the snow hits. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Rumor Surfaces About Marta’s Future

There is a rumor floating around that Orlando Pride star Marta could reunite with Brazilian former Santos teammate Gabi Zanotti at Corinthians in 2022.

Former Corinthians Director Tomas Lico Martins mentioned in an interview that the club is close to an agreement with the six-time FIFA World Player of the Year. Marta has been with the Pride since 2017 and has scored 27 goals in 78 league appearances for the club during her five years in the NWSL.

Jarrod Dillon Joins Orlando as President of Business Operations

Orlando City SC and the Pride hired Jarrod Dillon as president of business operations to manage front office strategies for both clubs. Dillon heads to Orlando after six years with Vinik Sports Group working with the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, which was named ESPN’s 2016 Franchise of the Year during his tenure. Dillon will report directly to the team’s ownership and shared his excitement in being a part of OCSC .

“My family and I are extremely grateful to Mark Wilf and the Wilf family for offering us the opportunity to join this great organization. We are excited about the Orlando community and about getting involved in such a special, diverse and thriving region,” Dillon added. “The Wilf family has a tremendous reputation, and their passion and commitment to professional soccer and to Orlando were driving forces in our decision to join them. I look forward to working with our great team of staff, supporters, fans, partners and community leaders to continue to build a world class franchise and create great experiences of which we can all be proud.”

This news comes after the Pride announced that Amanda Duffy would depart as executive vice president of soccer operations earlier this week.

New England Revolution Eliminated from MLS Playoffs

The New England Revolution had to wait 23 days to play in the playoffs only to be eliminated in a penalty shootout at home against New York City FC. The match got off to a hot start as Santiago Rodriguez scored for NYCFC in the third minute before Adam Buksa equalized in the ninth. But neither team could find another goal until extra time when NYCFC’s Valentin Castellanos gave his team a late lead before picking up his second yellow card minutes later. The Revolution capitalized on playing with an extra man as Tajon Buchanan scored to send the game to penalties. NYCFC converted all five of its attempts while goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved Buksa’s kick to knock the Revolution out of the playoffs.

NYCFC will hit the road to take on the Philadelphia Union this Sunday in the Eastern Conference final, but will be without Castellanos. But first, the Portland Timbers will welcome Real Salt Lake to Providence Park for the Western Conference final on Saturday. With the Revolution’s exit, the Timbers will host the MLS Cup final should they beat RSL. If not, then whichever team advances out of the Eastern Conference will host.

Sam Mewis Traded to the Kansas City Current

The Kansas City Current acquired United States Women’s National Team midfielder Sam Mewis from the North Carolina Courage in exchange for defender Kiki Pickett and a first-round draft pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft. Mewis has won three NWSL titles during her time in North Carolina, while also winning a World Cup with the United States Women’s National Team in 2019. She also played for Manchester City and scored to help her team win in the 2020 Women’s FA Cup final.

The Courage will receive 22-year-old defender Pickett, who finished second in tackles and possessions won with Kansas City this past season. Another trade was completed between the two clubs as the Current received the Courage’s natural first-round pick in next month’s draft in exchange for Malia Berkely’s discovery rights.

USWNT Draws With Australia in Friendly

In its final game of 2021, the USWNT drew 1-1 against the Pride’s Emily van Egmond and Australia in Newcastle. Yet again, Ashley Hatch scored an early goal to give the USWNT a lead in the opening minutes of the match. But Australia found its equalizer late in the match as Kyah Simon’s strike took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy performed well in goal again and was one of the standouts from the pair of friendlies alongside Hatch, forward Margaret Purce, and defender Emily Fox. The USWNT’s depth was on full display during these friendlies as the team earned some experience playing in Australia before the World Cup there in 2023.

Free Kicks

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