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Lion Links: 3/17/21

Brandon Austin settles in with Orlando City, Benji Michel’s chance to impress, USWNT will face France, and more.

Royal Antwerp v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Mane Landers! Don’t forget to wear your green today. I’ll be out shooting live standups for a project at UCF and enjoying the nice weather. We have plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Brandon Austin is Settling in at Orlando City

Orlando goalkeeper Brandon Austin is finding his footing with the Lions during the preseason. Austin has been with Tottenham Hotspur’s youth development system since he was 14. While there, Austin was mentored by French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and learned how to play out from the back in a way similar to Orlando’s system under Head Coach Oscar Pareja. The 22-year-old’s physicality caught Pareja’s eye and Austin will compete with Mason Stajduhar for time in goal when Pedro Gallese is on international duty. Although new to the team, Austin was with the Lions during all of the preseason camp in Bradenton and is fitting in well with the Lions.

“The culture here is really strong” Austin said. “This is a very supportive, very collective, very collective culture as a team.”

MLS Players Have Opportunity During Olympic Qualifying

Concacaf Olympic qualifying begins tomorrow when the U-23 United States Men’s National Team takes on Costa Rica in Mexico. Both teams will aim to be one of the two to punch their ticket to Tokyo this summer. Orlando’s Benji Michel is one of many players with a chance to make a splash during the tournament. Michel is likely to fill in at the right wing position for the U.S. during this tournament. The 23-year-old has been a super sub coming off the bench to score goals in clutch moments for Orlando City. This will be a big opportunity for Michel to show what he can do on the international stage.

Sam Vines of the Colorado Rapids is another player to keep an eye on. Many young players on this team are in roles where they need to establish their game, but that’s not the case for Vines. He’s already established as the starting left back for the U.S. U-23 team and can put some pressure on Sergino Dest in the future if he has a strong tournament.

Americans Abroad and At Home

Orlando’s Daryl Dike is in action today as Barnsley FC takes on Wycombe Wanderers FC at 3 p.m. Dike isn’t the only American playing in Europe today as Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tim Weah should all see some playing time in exciting games.

As for the Americans playing in the U.S., plenty of players have been on the move recently as we approach the 2021 MLS season. Midfielder Wil Trapp is with Minnesota United after a year with Inter Miami, while Djordje Mihailovic was traded from the Chicago Fire to CF Montreal. Nick Lima brings experience to the new expansion team Austin FC and you should also keep an eye on Sebastian Berhalter, USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s son. The 19-year-old was loaned by the Columbus Crew to Austin FC for more playing time and development.

USWNT Will Take On France in Friendly

On April 13, the United States Women’s National Team will take on France for the first time since the two sides clashed in the 2019 FIFA World Cup. The match will take place in Le Havre, France and is the USWNT’s second match in Europe next month as the U.S. plays Sweden on April 10. Given the talent on both sides, it should be a good match for the USWNT as Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski gets the team ready for the Olympics. For the Orlando Pride, Alex Morgan will likely make the trip to Europe and only time will tell if Ali Krieger or Ashlyn Harris will be called up.

Fort Lauderdale CF Names Darren Powell as Head Coach

Former Orlando City Academy Director Darren Powell was named head coach of USL League One side Fort Lauderdale CF. Powell will replace former Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis, who recently became an assistant coach with Inter Miami. Powell was an assistant coach with Fort Lauderdale last season and was also Inter Miami’s Director of Player Development. Powell’s assistants also have Orlando ties (naturally). Original MLS Lion Martin Paterson will assist Powell and former OCB assistant and OCSC academy coach Chris Barocas will be Fort Lauderdale’s goalkeeping coach.

Free Kicks
  • The Orlando Pride’s Marta showed why she is still the greatest.
  • Two European Leagues are looking into joining forces.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.