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Lion Links: 12/30/21

Orlando City in advanced talks with Pato, Lions receive 2021 season grade, Pride draftee says hello, and more.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers, I’m back again for a second straight day of Lion Links. This should come as no surprise since this is my normal day. Before we get into the news of the day, let’s wish loaned-out Orlando City forward Matheus Aias a happy 25th birthday.

Now lets get you to those links.

Report: Orlando City In Advanced Negotiations With Alexandre Pato

If you were wondering how negations with Alexandre Pato were coming along, GE, one of Brazil’s leading sports media outlets, is reporting that Orlando City and Pato are in advanced negotiations. This could mean the Brazilian forward is closer to a return with the Lions. The article also states that Pato has received offers from other Brazilian clubs but he is prioritizing Orlando City first. It would be nice to see Pato make up for lost time in purple as he would be another solid attacking option, assuming he can stay fit for most of the season and play up to the level of MLS competition.

Orlando City Receives 2021 Season Grade

MLS.com writer Greg Seltzer went through every MLS team’s 2021 season and handed them a grade based on their performance. Our Orlando City Lions came out with a B- score for remaining a top 10 side in the league. Although Seltzer points to a regression from the 2020 season due to being shorthanded because of injuries and absences, he believed the Lions still played with enough heart and that the small drop-off in production isn't as bad in the overall picture. Make sure to check out the other grades on the list to compare where Orlando City ranked against the rest of the league.

Pride Draftee Julie Doyle Introduces Herself

There hasn’t been a lot of Pride news in the off-season other than the week of the Draft. In the meantime, one of the Orlando Pride’s newest additions from the 2021 NWSL Draft, Julie Doyle, gave Pride fans a video shoutout on Wednesday via the Pride’s social media (see it below). Doyle was the No. 11 overall selection in the draft, and the Pride’s third pick in the first round.

MLS Transfer Roundup

In-state rival Inter Miami is reportedly finalizing a loan deal to send Rodolfo Pizarro back to Monterrey of Liga MX. The Mexican international scored seven goals in 46 appearances in his time with Inter Miami. This move will free up a DP slot for Miami and save the Herons a large sum of money as the 27-year-old forward is priced at $3.35 million per year at the club.

A report out of Real Salt Lake says RSL and former Lion Justin Meram have verbally agreed to a new deal. Meram will be extending his stay in Salt Lake to a third year once this goes through. In his time with Real Salt Lake, Meram has appeared 52 times with five goals and eight assists.

In a season where James Sands was part of New York City FC and USMNT winning titles in MLS Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, respectively, reports are saying that his recent success has drawn interest from Scottish side Rangers, with the club interested in a loan deal with an option to purchase.

Austin FC is staying busy as the club has verbally agreed to send Tomas Pochettino to River Plate on a one-year loan deal with a purchase option. If this report comes together, it will also open up a DP spot for Austin FC. In the inaugural season for Austin, Pochettino struggled offensively as he only scored two goals and added two assists in 23 starts and 31 appearances.

Free Kicks

Thats all from me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your day.