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Lion Links: 2/1/21

The USMNT dominates, MLS negotiations are extended, Yanks make waves abroad, and more.

SOCCER: JAN 31 USA v Trinidad & Tobago Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! This is the first Lion Links of February and there is plenty of news to get to. The MLS season is just two months away and it’s a great time to join The Mane Land staff as we get ready for a very exciting Orlando City season. Being a member of the staff is both fun and informative, and I encourage you all to take a chance. Now, let’s get to the links!

Trio of Lions Feature in USMNT Win

The United States Men’s National Team hosted Trinidad & Tobago at Exploria Stadium, and the magic of U.S. teams in Orlando continued as the USMNT defeated T&T, 7-0. Despite the friendly being played in front of an Orlando crowd, Gregg Berhalter decided against starting any of the four Orlando City players on the roster.

However, Andres Perea did come on to start the second half to make his USMNT debut. Then in the 64th minute, Daryl Dike made his USMNT debut as he and Chris Mueller were subbed into the match. Unfortunately, Perea committed a penalty immediately after his Orlando City teammates came on. But, just as he did against Orlando in the MLS playoffs, New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner made the save on the penalty kick. It’s unfortunate that the Lions on the team weren’t able to have more playing time and Benji Michel didn’t make an appearance in his hometown, but a win is a win.

MLS Extends Deadline on Negotiations

The statement from Major League Soccer regarding negotiations with the MLS Players Association is very telling. The two parties agreed to a one-week extension of the 30-day negotiating period, but MLS stated that the parties are very far apart. MLS proposed a two-year extension of the current collective bargaining agreement through the 2027 season. The pandemic has affected the revenue of the league, and while one might think that is a sticking point, another issue is that that extension would last through two World Cups. If the two sides can’t figure something out, it would be mutually assured destruction. A work stoppage would be ill-advised for all parties. I expect an agreement will be made, but what it will look like is still to be determined.

U.S. Players Abroad

There are rumors that Liverpool is looking to bring Aaron Long in on loan from the New York Red Bulls. Liverpool has been plagued by injuries on the back line, including Virgil van Dijk. Long is an inexpensive, short-term option to address the defensive woes of the defending champs. However, NYRB is reportedly rejecting bids for Long from European clubs. The truth will come out today, as the transfer window in Europe closes tonight.

Meanwhile, Chris Richards may be loaned from Bayern Munich to Hoffenheim. The move will allow Richards to get more playing time, and he will once again be under the direction of former Bayern reserve team manager Sebastian Hoeness. Richards was the first American to start for Bayern Munich in its 120-year history.

Finally, Julian Green is putting in the work with Greuther Fürth in Germany’s second division 2. Bundesliga. While Green hasn’t seen much time with the USMNT lately, he has been making the most of his time in Germany, and his efforts may catch the eye of Berhalter.

USWNT News and Updates

There is a bit of bad news as Tobin Heath will be out 10-12 weeks with an ankle injury. Heath has been playing for Manchester United, but the injury also means that Heath will miss the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando.

Speaking of the SheBelieves Cup, the USWNT roster for the tournament should be out later today. The Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, and Alex Morgan could all make the cut.

Former USWNT skipper Jill Ellis reportedly has a new front office position with Sacramento’s NWSL team. Ellis will work with both the NWSL and MLS expansion sides in Sacramento.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando Pride draftee Mikayla Colohan scored two goals and managed three assists in BYU’s exhibition win. That is the type of stuff we love to see.
  • OCA (Opportunity, Community, Ability) founder Silvia Haas was surprised with a well-earned gift from Orlando City, the Orlando City Foundation, and Exploria Resorts.
  • Congratulations to former England player Karen Carney as she became the first woman to feature as a co-commentator for an English Premier League match.
  • Manchester United is sending Jesse Lingard on loan to West Ham United for the remainder of the EPL season. The move will allow Lingard to get first team minutes, and try to impress enough to get a look for the England National Team.
  • I know I am biased as a Liverpool supporter, but good grief what a counter attack this was.
  • Lastly, congratulations to former Lion Joe Bendik as he and his lovely wife, Anne, are expecting another girl. That’s three future USWNT players from the Bendik family.

What a way to start the month, eh? I hope you didn’t miss us too much this past weekend, and that this will start your week off right. Go Lions! Go USMNT!