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Lion Links: 3/2/21

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Orlando City gets back to work, USMNT will face Jamaica & Northern Ireland, Neville will have two former OCSC coaches as assistants in Miami, and more.

Trinidad and Tobago v USMNT Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Monday everyone. The beginning of March means we’re that much closer to the start of the MLS season, and if you’re getting impatient to see some soccer played by familiar faces, our first piece of news should be very welcome to you. Let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Back at Work

Orlando City players got back to work yesterday. Oscar Pareja spoke to the team about how he wants to continue on from last season, and treat the upcoming year as an extension of what was already built. Papi spoke about the team’s ultimate goal of winning the MLS Cup, and how building that continuity will be key.

The team seemingly got a lot of training done yesterday, and you can check out some of the scenes below.

USMNT to Play Jamaica, Northern Ireland

The United States Men’s National Team has announced a pair of games that will take place this month in Europe. First up, it will play Jamaica on March 25 in Austria at 1 p.m. Just three days later the Yanks will travel to Belfast to play Northern Ireland at 12 p.m. Those two matches do fall inside FIFA windows, and with Major League Soccer not beginning play until mid-April, Gregg Berhalter will be able to call in a full complement of both domestic and foreign-based players. The March games will be part of the buildup to a very busy 2021 for the national team that includes the Gold Cup, Concacaf Nations League, and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Two Ex-OCSC Coaches on Neville’s Staff in Miami

Inter Miami CF has announced Phil Neville’s technical staff for his first season in charge of the team. A few familiar faces are Jason Kreis and Anthony Pulis as assistant coaches, continuing a tradition of former Orlando peeps at the team down south. Kreis has been elevated after coaching Miami’s USL League One side last year, while Pulis continues in his position as an assistant coach. Neville has also brought over Mark Mason from his time with the England Women’s National Team to serve as the team’s goalkeeping and set piece coach.

Austin FC Relying on South American Talent

Being an expansion team in Major League Soccer is rarely an easy task, but Austin FC is looking to repeat the success of teams like Atlanta United and LAFC by following their blueprints. Specifically, the team has invested in young South American talent, with 25-year-old Argentine Tomas Pochettino signed as a Designated Player. Diego Fagundez, Jhohan Romana, and Cecilio Dominguez are also expected to play large roles for the team. Whether that strategy works out for the newcomers or not remains to be seen, but for now they’re all in on talent from the continent to the south.

Jiangsu FC Folds

In a shocking move, Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu FC announced that the club is ceasing operations effective immediately. In addition, all soccer clubs owned by the Suning Group will cease operations. Suning Group also owns Inter Milan, a hugely historic club currently sitting top of Serie A, four points clear of second place AC Milan. There is no word yet about the moves affecting the Italian team, but the news is shocking nonetheless. In its statement, the team expressed hope in finding a new owner, but if that doesn’t happen it will prove chaotic when the AFC Champions League starts in April.

Free Kicks

That’ll be all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.