Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day regardless of whether you’re attached to someone or not. Sometimes, it’s great to just have time to yourself... with chocolate! I had the best of both worlds. I had alone time before the house woke up, and then got to spend time with the family playing board games and riding bikes. I know, it wasn’t a traditional Valentine’s Day, but it was still a good one. Enough about my day, let’s get to the links.
Dike Starts For Barnsley
Daryl Dike got his first start for Barnsley FC in a 2-0 win over Brentford. That might not seem like a big deal until knowing it snapped Brentford’s 21-game unbeaten streak. I’m not saying that the win was because of Dike, but he did almost have an assist on Barnsley’s second goal.
While he might not have scored any goals in his first start, he had a decent match in his first league game in the Championship, just a few days after his debut in the FA Cup. Much like it was in MLS, the big man’s presence was felt.
Brentford are struggling with his physicality for sure. He has been unlucky with the referee calling a few questionable fouls. Certainly doesn't look out of his depth!— British MLS (@britishmls) February 14, 2021
The Duck Becomes a Lion
As reported here at The Mane Land, Alexandre Pato officially signed with Orlando City on Saturday. The man known as the Duck is now a Lion. Pato was also considering an offer from Argentinos Juniors in Argentina, but decided to come to Orlando because he felt there was a better opportunity to contend for a trophy. Let that sink in. The 31-year-old forward has had a rollercoaster of a career with stints at AC Milan and Chelsea, among others. Pato has dealt with a rash of injuries over the years, but his signing fills a position of need for Orlando City. Given how young the Lions’ other strikers are, apart from Tesho Akindele, having a veteran with a nose for goal can help in multiple ways. Pato will also be reuniting with a current Lion.
Villacorta Tears Her ACL
The Pride’s first round draft pick, Viviana Villacorta, sustained an injury in the 44th minute of the UCLA Bruins’ season-opening match against Pepperdine. Like all four of the Pride’s draft picks, Villacorta decided to finish her last season at college. Unfortunately, the worst case scenario happened and Villacorta will stay in California to undergo surgery from a torn ACL and recover before reporting to the Pride.
MLS Preseason Schedule Updates
As expected, Major League Soccer adjusted the start of the season due to the extended talks between the league and the MLS Players Association. Players will report on March 1 for a seven-day quarantine period, though they can opt to report sooner and begin that quarantine up to seven days prior. The actual start of the season is scheduled for April 17, allowing for six weeks of training.
- The Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament is now scheduled to start on March 18 and end on March 30. The big news is that fans will be allowed, although the exact number of people allowed has not been announced.
- I don’t have the energy to write about racist and sexist social media comments regarding the soccer community. Fortunately, I don’t have to this time thanks to this feature on the effect its having on the sport in England.
- Finally, in what is definitely some of the best news of 2021, a big congratulations to Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris on their new baby, Sloane.
Did it just get really dusty in here or something? We’ll end our links on that very high note. Have a great Monday.