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Lion Links: 4/13/21

Flavio speaks on Exploria capacity, USWNT granted settlement, Don Garber has high hopes for Daryl Dike, and more.

MLS: New York City FC at Orlando City SC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s a good week to be an Orlando soccer fan with both the Orlando Pride and Orlando City playing their home openers this week. I’ve got my tickets all set and ready to go and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s lots to talk about today, so let’s hop in.

Ownership Optimistic on Filling Exploria Stadium Soon

Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva is hopeful that Exploria Stadium will return to 100% capacity sooner than most people expected. Da Silva said on Instagram that while the team’s first two home games will be held at 50% capacity, the Lions’ following matches are scheduled to be played at 100% capacity. However, a club official has said that the club is making its decisions on capacity limits on a game-by-game basis, so don’t take da Silva’s word as law just yet. Returning the stadium to full capacity by early-to-mid May does seem a bit ambitious, with roughly 21% of Floridians fully vaccinated as of April 11, according to the New York Times.

USWNT Granted Settlement

The United States Women’s National Team has been granted a settlement from a judge after a partial deal was agreed by the team and the U.S. Soccer Federation over unequal working conditions. Some of the inclusions in the partial deal include charter flights for travel, the amount of support staff, and venue selection. With the working conditions part of the issue resolved, the way is now clear for an appeal to be lodged regarding equal pay. Judge R. Gary Klausner had previously sided with the USSF over the equal pay aspect of the lawsuit, but the USWNT is committed to appealing that decision.

Garber Has High Hopes for Dike

During his media availability Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber waxed lyrical about OCSC’s Daryl Dike. Garber spoke about Dike’s talent saying:

“That’s a $20 million player,” Garber said. “That’s a guy that I hope we could even set new records ... that go beyond what we achieved with Alphonso Davies.”

Davies is currently the most expensive U.S. or Canadian player ever to be sold from MLS after the young fullback was bought by Bayern Munich for roughly $22 million back in 2018. Based on the current numbers floating around, there is every chance that Dike will indeed go for more than Davies did whenever he eventually leaves Orlando City.

D.C. Hires Rushton as GM

D.C. United has hired Lucy Rushton as the team’s new general manager. Rushton becomes only the second female general manager in Major League Soccer history, following the San Jose Clash naming Lynne Meterparel to the role in 1999. Rushton is taking over for Dave Kaspar, who is stepping up to become the team’s new president of soccer operations. Rushton knows her stuff, having previously served as the head of technical recruitment and analysis for Atlanta United for the past five years. She will look to help D.C. achieve similar success after having a rough year in 2020 that saw the team finish second-to-last in the Eastern Conference.

Free Kicks
  • The Pride are back at work ahead of tomorrow’s home opener.
  • NJ/NY Gotham FC is entering a joint-partnership to start a Women’s Premier Soccer League team.

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