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Lion Links: 12/9/21

Orlando City transfer rumors continue, Orlando Pride announce roster updates, Exploria Stadium voted best pitch, and more.

Orlando Pride v NJ/NY Gotham City FC Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

It’s finally Thursday, Mane Landers! I don't know about you all, but this week has gone by fast. Let’s finish out strong and get the day started with some Lion Links!

Rumor Links Orlando City With Colombian Fullback

The off-season rumor mill is in full swing as rumors surfaced that Colombian left back Alvaro Angulo has piqued Orlando City’s interest.

The 24-year old currently plays for Aguilas Doradas in Colombia’s top flight and appeared in 18 games for the club this past season, scoring three goals. Angulo has great acceleration and strength at his size and is capable of providing balls into the box from the outside, which is how the Lions like to attack. It will be intriguing to see how this rumor develops as the Lions could use the depth at left back considering injuries to Joao Moutinho the past two seasons and Emmanuel Mas’ departure.

Orlando Pride Announce Roster Update

The Orlando Pride announced their roster decisions following the 2021 season. The club exercised the contract options on nine players, including Marta, Erika Tymrak, and goalkeeper Erin McLeod. As for players leaving the club, defender Konya Plummer had her contract option declined and forward Crystal Thomas’ contract expired. New contracts were offered to Taylor Kornieck, Ali Riley, Jade Moore, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Kaylie Collins, and Parker Roberts. Forward Alex Morgan remains on the Pride’s roster as a 2021 Federation Player and her status for 2022 will be announced at a later date.

Exploria Stadium Voted Best Pitch

The MLS Players Association unveiled the results of its first Player Voices Poll and Orlando’s Exploria Stadium was noted as having one of the best pitches in the league. The league’s players decided that Exploria Stadium tied with Red Bull Arena for the top spot in the category.

Exploria Stadium’s grounds crew does a great job keeping the field up to par over the course of the Lions’ and Pride’s seasons. The players voted on various topics in the thread, including underrated players, and which road cities they like to play in.

Champions League Action Continues

Benfica, RB Salzburg, and Lille all won to book their tickets to the Champions League knockout stage. As a result of Benfica’s 2-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv, FC Barcelona needed to win against Bayern Munich but was shut out 3-0 as Thomas Muller scored his 50th Champions League goal. Barcelona is heading to the Europa League for the first time in 17 years following that loss.

In Group G, Lille won 3-1 against Wolfsburg to finish one point ahead of Salzburg, which won 1-0 against Sevilla to send the Spanish club to the Europa League as well. Manchester United used a heavily rotated squad to earn a 1-1 draw against Young Boys while the match for the final knockout stage spot between Atalanta and Villarreal was rescheduled for today at 1 p.m. due to heavy snow.

American midfielder Christian Pulisic had an assist as Chelsea drew 3-3 with Zenit St. Petersburg to finish in second behind Juventus, which won 1-0 against Malmo. The draw is set to take place on Monday and here is a nice breakdown on how it could shake out.

Free Kicks

That will wrap things up for today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Thursday and let’s make the most of the day!