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Lion Links: 12/22/21

Daryl Dike linked with Crystal Palace, Uri Rosell rejoins Sporting Kansas City, MLS off-season moves, and more.

Montreal Impact v Orlando City SC

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida as we approach Christmas in a few days. I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and family over the holidays and started looking for a new full time job here in Chicago. There is plenty to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Daryl Dike Transfer Rumors Persist

With 2022 right around the corner, transfer news is in full swing as the transfer window opens on Jan. 1. Orlando City forward Daryl Dike has been a popular transfer target since doing well on loan with Barnsley FC in the English Football League earlier this year. West Bromwich Albion is interested in Dike but is reportedly insistent that the American join on loan due to the EFL team’s budget. Dike is also reportedly drawing interest from Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. However, Crystal Palace is crowded at the striker position after adding Odsonne Edouard this summer and a move for Dike could hinge on selling one of its forwards.

Uri Rosell Returns to Sporting Kansas City

After announcing his departure from Orlando City SC on Monday, midfielder Uri Rosell decided to return to Sporting Kansas City on a two-year deal with an option for a third. Rosell originally joined SKC in 2012 and played three seasons, helping the team win MLS Cup in 2013. The 29-year-old is coming off of four seasons with Orlando City after joining in 2018, making 73 appearances across all competitions with the Lions. The Spaniard had a hard time finding playing time during this past season due to injuries and the emergence of Sebas Mendez as a defensive midfielder.

MLS Clubs Continue Making Moves

It’s another day in the MLS off-season as MLS teams announced some moves before heading into 2022. Let’s start with the new team on the block as Charlotte FC acquired Ecuadorian midfielder Alan Franco on loan from Brazilian Serie A champions Atlético Mineiro with an option to buy after the 2022 season. Franco will reunite with Charlotte Head Coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez after they previously worked together at Independiente del Valle to win the 2019 Copa Sudamericana.

The Houston Dynamo re-signed forward Darwin Quintero for the 2022 season, with an option for 2023. Quintero will no longer be a Designated Player after being signed with Targeted Allocation Money by the Dynamo. The Chicago Fire also added experienced goalkeeper Spencer Richey to back up Homegrown Player Gabriel Slonina.

COVID-19 Surge Affects European Soccer

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading quickly, it’s beginning to feel like deja vu all over again with the surge causing havoc in the sports world here and abroad. In European soccer, the English Premier League plans to stay the course despite having to postpone multiple matches recently. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spoke out against the idea of targeting unvaccinated players as COVID-19 cases rise in the United Kingdom. In Italy, a match between Udinese and Salernitana was abandoned due to travel restrictions as two players tested positive for COVID-19. In Spain, Real Madrid now has eight players out due to COVID-19 safety protocols. David Alaba and Isco both tested positive and will miss today’s match against Athletic Bilbao as they will have to self isolate for 10 days.

Here in the U.S., MLS may be in the off-season but COVID-19 has still impacted sports. The NFL and NBA have had to reschedule games this past week while the NHL paused its season until after Christmas and players will not participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Free Kicks
  • Here are the top moments from some of MLS’s youngest stars during the 2021 season, including Dike’s goal against Nashville SC in the playoffs.
  • The USL Championship announced its league format for the 2022 season. The league will return to a two conference setup featuring 14 teams in the east and 13 in the western conference.
  • More bad news may be coming for Salernitana as the Italian side could be kicked out of Serie A if it is unable to find a new owner by the end of the month.
  • A Germany 3. Liga match between VfL Osnabrück and MSV Duisburg was abandoned due to a racist incident caused by a fan that forced both teams to walk off the pitch.

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