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Lion Links: 12/6/21

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Facundo Torres rumors heat up, NYCFC advances to MLS Cup final, Jesse Marsch out at Leipzig, and more.

SOCCER: NOV 23 MLS Cup Playoffs - Orlando City at Nashville SC Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! There’s a certain freedom to watching MLS when you’re no longer personally invested in the outcomes. Plus, we get to focus on all the off-season trades, rumors, and signings. If you can’t tell, I’m trying to put on a good face, as I’d much rather Orlando City was still in the playoffs. Regardless, we can look forward to the holidays and the season to come. Let’s get to the links.

Facundo Torres Rumblings Grow Louder

As reported yesterday, Orlando City is rumored to be targeting 21-year-old Uruguayan winger Facundo Torres from Peñarol. Nothing is certain yet, though the rumors are heating up.

Facundo’s release fee is reportedly $20 million, though the above tweet puts the fee at just over $11 million. Supposedly, Facundo’s agent is currently in Europe hoping to find an offer better than the one from Orlando City. We will continue to update you as more information comes to light.

NYCFC Advances to MLS Cup Final

The Philadelphia Union had their work cut out from them when 11 players entered into the MLS’s health and safety protocols, including Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake, Sergio Santos, the whole starting back line, and former Lion Joe Bendik. The result was a lot of “who is that guy” when watching the match, though they also added former Lion and MLS pool goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh as an emergency option off the bench. Surprisingly, Philly was able to get to halftime by being aggressive and disrupting New York City FC with the chaos hammer. The Union actually went up a goal in the 63rd minute on an own goal by Alex Callens. Unfortunately for Philly, Maxi Morales pulled a goal back two minutes later, and Talles Magno gave the Pigeons the win in the 88th minute. NYCFC will face Portland in the MLS Cup final next Saturday at 3 p.m.

FC Cincinnati may be looking to swipe Jim Curtin from the Union, but until then he is maintaining his sense of humor regarding the loss.

Marsch Out at RB Leipzig

Jesse Marsch moved up the Red Bulls ladder, landing at the head coach position of RB Leipzig about four months ago after stints at New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg. His arrival was much heralded, given that he was an American coaching at a top flight Bundesliga club. Now, that time has come to an end. Leipzig’s front office and Marsch “mutually agreed to part ways” and let Marsch go effective immediately. The decision follows a fourth loss in a row, and Leipzig sitting in 11th place in the league. Both parties are saying all the right things as they move on. Leipzig is looking to replace Marsch in the near future, and assistant coach Achim Beierlorzer will lead the team for the next match against Manchester City. No word yet on where Marsch might land, but with his resume he will most likely not be out of a job for long.

NWSL Seeks Collective Bargaining Agreement

The trade window in the NWSL just ended, and for some it highlighted the need for a collective bargaining agreement for the players. There are players who have the latitude to request transfers, but it’s not the same for all the players. The reality is that, like many U.S. sports leagues, clubs have the ultimate decision-making power over whether to trade or retain a player. Tori Huster, president of the NWSL Players Association, is looking to create the NWSL’s first CBA. A collective bargaining agreement could result in better salaries, and more say in where or when a player is moved. For players who don’t make Alex Morgan money, the costs and effort of moving to a new city fall squarely upon the player alone. Additionally, without free agency to let players take offers from other clubs or leagues, it limits player options.

Free Kicks
  • The nominations for the U.S. Soccer 2021 Player of the Year awards are out. The usual suspect like Christian Pulisic, Carli Lloyd, and Weston McKennie are joined by newcomers Jaelin Howell, Gianluca Busio, and Ricardo Pepi.
  • You may not have recognized all of the player names in the USMNT December camp. Luckily, there’s a primer to fill in that information for you.
  • Chicago Red Stars supporter group Chicago Local 134 released a statement regarding controlling owner, Arnim Whisler. Whisler was allegedly aware of the abuse perpetrated by former coach Rory Dames.
  • FIFA really wants the whole bi-annual World Cup thing. Supposedly, it will help smaller nations, though I suspect it will help FIFA more than anyone else.

Have a great week, and vamos Orlando!