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Lion Links: 12/15/21

Orlando City linked with Brian Ocampo, Nani draws interest from Brazil, Alex Morgan thanks the Pride, and more.

Orlando City SC v New England Revolution Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’m doing well up here in Chicago and went downtown to check out all the Christmas decorations in the city with friends. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Reports Connect Orlando City With Brian Ocampo

You’ll need Google Translate to read ESPN’s Brazilian site as reports surfaced that talks have cooled down between forward Alexandre Pato and Orlando City have cooled off. The 32-year-old’s first season in Orlando was marred by an injury suffered in the team’s season opener, although he showed flashes of skill when he returned late in the season.

Orlando was also linked with Uruguayan forward Brian Ocampo, who currently plays for Nacional in Uruguay’s Primera Division. Ocampo is just 22 years old and comfortable playing out wide, which lines up with Orlando’s needs this off-season after the departures of Nani and Chris Mueller. His profile is similar to fellow young Uruguayan Facundo Torres, who has received interest from Orlando in recent weeks according to rumors.

Nani Draws Interest From Brazil

Speaking of Nani, rumors surfaced that Brazilian club Fluminense is interested in the Portuguese winger after Orlando City declined his contract option following the 2021 season.

Nani is coming off of his third season and final season in Orlando, helping the team reach the playoffs for the second time as he scored 10 goals and had eight assists. Nani could certainly boost a Fluminense side that finished seventh in Brazil’s top-flight league and only scored 38 goals in 38 games. If Nani does decide to take his talents to Rio de Janeiro, it would be his first time playing in South America.

Alex Morgan Bids Farewell to Orlando

The Orlando Pride traded Alex Morgan to San Diego Wave FC and the star forward posted a thank you letter as she heads to California for the next stage of her career. Morgan thanked fans, teammates, and the Pride staff for her past six years in Orlando.

She was also nominated for the 2021 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 alongside Pride star Marta. Other players who made the shortlist as forwards include the OL Reign’s Megan Rapinoe and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr.

Charlotte FC Makes Its Expansion Draft Selections

In the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, Charlotte FC continued to build its roster in preparation of its inaugural season in 2022. Orlando City was exempt after Kamal Miller was chosen by Austin FC in the previous expansion draft. Charlotte chose Austin forward Orrinze Mckinzie Gaines with its first selection before choosing Atlanta United center back Anton Walkes and D.C. United left back Joseph Mora.

With its third selection, Charlotte chose LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon and traded him to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for $350,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) for 2022 and $125,000 in GAM for 2023. Charlotte added even more allocation money with its final pick by selecting NYCFC forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and trading him to LAFC for $400,000 in GAM for 2022.

Free Kicks
  • Former Lion Justin Meram was spotted at Orlando City’s training facility, prompting rumors of a return to the club. If he does come back to Orlando, it will be interesting to see what his role would be.
  • The Florida Tropics are offering free tickets to those who pay for parking this season.
  • Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was stripped of his captaincy and won’t play in today’s match against West Ham United following a disciplinary breach.
  • FC Barcelona forward Sergio Aguero is expected to address his future today at a press conference. The 33-year-old may announce his retirement as he continues his treatment for a heart condition.

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