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Lion Links: 2/12/21

Daryl Dike debuts for Barnsley FC, Alex Morgan leans on Sydney Leroux, Bayern Munich wins again, and more.

China v United States Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

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.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City gave a shoutout to Director of Performance Nutrition Rikki Keen for International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  • 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.

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.