How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s Friday, so we can all let our hair down a bit as we get ready for the weekend. I don’t have many plans beyond work and finishing off some rum punch from the Super Bowl. If you have Valentine’s Day plans, I wish you the best of luck and hope all of it is without rain or stress. Now, let’s hop right into today’s links from around the soccer world.
Daryl Dike Debuts for Barnsley FC
Orlando City forward Daryl Dike made his Barnsley FC debut in the club’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup. Dike didn’t start, but came on in the 59th minute to boost Barnsley’s offense when the match was still scoreless. A goal from Tammy Abraham gave Chelsea the lead in the 64th minute, but Barnsley fought back. Dike had a blocked shot, made a key pass, and sent a header wide in a play that was offside but could pass as a renaissance painting.
Barnsley wasn’t able to equalize, but still had a solid performance against one of the best teams in England. As for Dike, he could get his first start in Barnsley’s next game on Feb. 14 against Brentford FC. It’s a tough match-up as Brentford sits atop the English Football League Championship, but it will be interesting to see how Dike performs in his first league game in England.
Alex Morgan Gets Support from Sydney Leroux
Between pregnancy, the birth of her daughter, minor injuries during a stint in England, and testing positive for the coronavirus, 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year for Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan. In a press conference, Morgan detailed her symptoms while she and her family recovered from COVID-19 and the difficult decision to leave Tottenham to return to the Pride.
Now, after a week of preseason training with the Pride, Morgan is training with the United States Women’s National Team in Orlando ahead of the SheBelieves Cup next week. Although the pandemic still casts a shadow of uncertainty on future games this year, Morgan is making the most of her training. The 31-year-old also appreciates the guidance from Pride teammate Sydney Leroux as she balances both training and motherhood.
“I’m really happy to have Syd on the team just to be able to help guide me,” Morgan said. “She has been here quite a few years with kids, and this is kind of really my first go-around into a full season. ... I feel like having Syd on my team, having another mom to be able to lean on in certain times is really important for me.”
MLS Clubs Make Moves
Austin FC added a key piece to its plans by signing attacking midfielder Tomas Pochettino as the team’s second Designated Player. It will be the Argentine’s first time playing outside of his home country after he managed seven goals and 10 assists in 62 matches with Atletico Talleres.
Staying out in the Western Conference, the LA Galaxy are trying to bring forward Cristian Pavon back with a reported offer of $6 million for 60% of his rights. Pavon was one of the league’s best wingers with 13 goals and 15 assists in 33 games for the Galaxy. Elsewhere, the Portland Timbers hope Sebastian Blanco is fully recovered from his ACL tear in time for the season and Concacaf Champions League.
In the Eastern Conference, Frankie Amaya requested to be traded from FC Cincinnati but the club has no interest in doing so. Inter Miami hired former Manchester United scout Mark Prizant to be the club’s director of scouting.
Bayern Munich Wins FIFA Club World Cup
In a result that was expected, but impressive nonetheless, Bayern Munich defeated Tigres UANL to win the FIFA Club World Cup. The trophy is Bayern’s sixth in 12 months and manager Hansi Flick now has more trophies than losses since taking over in November 2020. French World Cup champion Benjamin Pavard scored the game’s only goal and Canadian left back Alphonso Davies played all 90 minutes against the Concacaf side. With a historic sextuple claimed, Bayern aims to do it all again this year.
- Orlando City gave a shoutout to Director of Performance Nutrition Rikki Keen for International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
It's International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Thank you to Rikki Keen, our Director of Performance Nutrition, for all the work with our Lions. pic.twitter.com/0s9h9kkfng— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) February 11, 2021
- Pride players competed in a soccer tennis tournament for training. You can see Gunny Jonsdottir and Jade Moore’s skills below, but the trophy went to Marta and Ali Riley.
- Here is a great guide breaking down each MLS team’s path in the Concacaf Champions League.
- Gregg Berhalter’s call-ups have illustrated the direction the United States Men’s National Team is headed, along with the players left in its dust.
- After experiencing their first loss of the season, the Florida Tropics look to bounce back on the road against the Dallas Sidekicks today at 8:30 p.m.
- Neymar is out for four weeks with a hip injury and will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s clash against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
- Burnley detailed its long-term plans to make its women’s side professional.
- Toronto FC could be temporarily headed to Florida, with Tampa as a possible destination for the 2021 season during the pandemic. As a Tampa resident, it would be exciting having an MLS team back after the Mutiny disbanded and Orlando City would basically have home-field advantage over a tough Eastern Conference foe. On the other hand, this could all be a chess move for Toronto to get its hands on whatever has made Tampa’s sports teams so good lately.
What do you all think? Would you be fine having another MLS team down here in Florida or is three a crowd? Let me know in the comments below and have a great weekend.