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Lion Links: 4/2/21

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Rumor links Orlando City with Brazilian left back Henrique, Matheus Aias aims to impress, Daryl Dike attracts more interest, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Montreal Impact Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all are having a nice Friday morning as we get prepared for the weekend. Both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have preseason games tomorrow as they get ready for real competition later this month. Tomorrow is also Rodrigo Schlegel’s birthday, so make sure to carry some extra confidence this weekend in his honor. If a center back can go in goal during a penalty shootout and make a save to help his team advance in its first playoff game, you can do anything. Now, let’s get to the links!

Report: Lions Have Interest in Brazilian Left Back

With left back João Moutinho still recovering from his hip surgery, rumors surfaced that Orlando City is keeping an eye on Vasco da Gama’s Henrique. The 26-year-old defender has been with the Brazilian club since 2013, but will not renew his contract when it expires in August. Even if brought on after Moutinho is fully recovered, a left back is needed for future depth at the position and Henrique could fit that bill.

Matheus Aias is Ready to Score

Although signed back in August of last year, a delayed arrival prevented Orlando forward Matheus Aias from making much of an impact last season. Aias only featured in four games last year and each occasion was as a late substitute, scoring once when a shot deflected off his body and into the net. Now, the 24-year-old has been able to center himself and looks forward to showing Orlando supporters what he’s capable of.

“I want to show that hard work brings success and that’s who I’m about,” Aiás said. “We’re going to go out there and work hard, we’re going to show effort. Hopefully we’re going to score some goals and dance for these fans.”

Aias brings a fearlessness to Orlando’s offense, not shying away from distant shots or acrobatics in order to score. He pairs well alongside the Lions’ other forwards to give Head Coach Oscar Pareja a versatile attack to work with this season.

Daryl Dike Keeps Turning Heads

Scouts from various English Premier League club are keeping a close eye on Dike while he plays with Barnsley FC in the English Football League Championship. Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton, Leeds United, and others are reportedly all interested in the 20-year-old striker, according to TEAMtalk. A bidding war could be brewing, but Orlando City is reportedly holding firm on a $20 million price tag for Dike. With the March international break now over, Dike is back with Barnsley for the team’s match against Reading today at 12:30 p.m.

Erin McLeod Called Up for Friendlies

Orlando Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod will join the Canadian Women’s National Team for a pair of friendlies this month in Europe. Canada will first take on Wales on April 9 and then England on April 13 to prepare for the Olympics this summer. This means McLeod will miss out on the Pride’s first two matches of the NWSL Challenge Cup at the very least, although Ashlyn Harris and Brittany Wilson will be with the team. Former Orlando Pride players Shelina Zadorsky and Jordyn Listro were also called up for the friendlies.

Free Kicks
  • It looks like Silvester van der Water is finally on his way to Orlando.

That’s going to be it for today, Mane Landers. I’ll be spending the rest of my day doing some chores and grocery shopping for some tacos tonight. The last time I tried to make them, the smoke alarm went off in my house so hopefully tonight is a bit smoother. Have a great Friday and go Lions!