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Lion Links: 12/7/21

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Harris & Krieger leave Pride, Morgan trade rumors, MLS Next Pro teams announced, and more.

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Chicago Red Stars v Washington Spirit Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The MLS season will draw to a close this weekend, but soccer never stops and there’s plenty of things to discuss today. With that being said, lets get to the links.

Harris & Krieger Depart Pride

Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris have officially been traded to NJ/NY Gotham FC. In exchange, Gotham sent Orlando a first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft, a third-round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, and $50,000 in Allocation Money. Harris made 89 appearances with the Pride in all competitions, notching a 1.53 goals-against average during her time with the team. Her wife, Krieger, made 86 appearances for the club and sits second in all-time appearances right behind Harris. The trade signals the first step in a big rebuild for Orlando, and while the return seems paltry for Harris in particular, we won’t truly be able to grade it until we see what the Pride are able to do with the assets that they acquired. Regardless, here’s wishing the best of luck to the duo on their new team.

Alex Morgan to San Diego?

Big name departures from the Pride may not be stopping there. The San Diego Wave are reportedly working towards a deal that would see the team complete a trade for Orlando’s Alex Morgan. The Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported that multiple sources ($) have said that a deal is in the works. It’s worth noting that no paperwork for the trade has been filed yet as the deal was not done before the trade window deadline last Friday. However, it’s expected that negotiations will be finished by the time the window reopens next Thursday, Dec. 17. after the NWSL Expansion Draft. It’s also yet to be reported what sort of compensation the Pride could be looking at in exchange for Morgan, but with the small size of the Wave’s current roster it’s unlikely to be a player-swap deal.

MLS Next Pro Announces Teams

MLS Next Pro has announced the 21 teams that will take part in its inaugural season, which will start play in 2022. The wonkily named development league was launched by Major League Soccer back in June, and its first season will feature 20 teams affiliated with MLS, and one independent professional team based in Rochester, NY (the former Rochester Rhinos) which is part owned by Jamie Vardy. Eight further MLS-affiliated teams will join in 2023, with additional independent teams also joining that year and in the future. Orlando will be one of the MLS-affiliated teams that begins play next year although its unclear if it will be under the Orlando City B moniker or something different. Whatever branding the team goes with, it will likely play games at Osceola County stadium, which is next to the club’s training ground and operated by the club.

Also, if you haven’t seen the logo for MLS Next Pro it’s...just the worst. Observe:

North Carolina Courage Acquire Pinto from Gotham FC

The North Carolina Courage have traded for Gotham FC midfielder Brianna Pinto. In exchange, the Courage sent Gotham $125,000 in Allocation Money. Pinto was drafted in the first round of the 2021 NWSL Draft as the third overall pick after three excellent seasons at the University of North Carolina. Things didn’t quite pan out the same way in her first professional season though, as Pinto made 10 appearances totaling 195 minutes on the field without recording any goals or assists. Pinto grew up in Durham, NC and this move is a homecoming as she’ll be playing games in Cary.

Free Kicks
  • Ricardo Pepi has apparently requested a move away from FC Dallas.
  • Minnesota United’s Emmanuel Reynoso might be in hot water.
  • Major League Soccer has a new ball.
  • Rangers fans will not be allowed into the stadium for the team’s Europa League match in Lyon this week due to concerns about strains that would be placed on the city’s police force.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.