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Lion Links: 4/5/21

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Rio Hope-Gund is on his way to Orlando City, U.S. players contribute abroad, MLS transfer news, and more.

Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! You may not know this, but I received my second vaccine shot last week, and it did take me out for about a day and a half. It was like being sick without being sick, but I’m better now and excited for the upcoming Orlando City and Orlando Pride seasons. I do urge you to get vaccinated as soon as you can manage to get an appointment so we can all watch matches together in Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City Draft Pick On His Way

Orlando City selected two players from Georgetown University in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. You’re most likely familiar with striker Derek Dodson, but the Lions also selected defender Rio Hope-Gund in the first round. Hope-Gund is officially on his way to Orlando following his last match with the Hoyas in a 5-1 victory over Connecticut. Although he isn’t expected to start anytime soon, Hope-Gund will add depth to Orlando City’s center back position. The more time the 21-year-old has in Oscar Pareja’s system, the better prepared he’ll be if pressed into service.

U.S. Players In Action Abroad

Although he didn’t score this weekend, Daryl Dike came off the bench in the second half as Barnsley FC drew 1-1 with Reading FC. He will likely take the field again today when Barnsley faces off against Luton Town at 10 a.m.

As for other Americans abroad this weekend, Christian Pulisic found the back of the net for Chelsea for the first time in 2021 in a rather shocking 5-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion. However, the injury bug seemingly bit the young American once again as he tweaked his hamstring. Weston McKennie returned to Juventus’ lineup following a suspension for breaking national COVID-19 protocols.

Brenden Aaronson is already making a name for himself in Europe. His latest assist is one of the reasons the former Philadelphia Union player is getting attention from clubs like Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and Manchester City. Take a look.

MLS Transfer News and Updates

Former Orlando City goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh signed with the Philadelphia Union. Ranjitsingh joins a crowded goalkeeping unit where he will compete for playing time with Matt Freese and fellow former Lion Joe Bendik when Andre Blake is gone on international duty.

Real Salt Lake signed American forward Bobby Wood through 2023. Wood has been playing in Germany since 2010 and will join the team in July when the contract begins. The Portland Timbers added defender Ismaila Jome and midfielder Jorge Gonzalez. Former Lion Aurélien Collin re-signed with the Philadelphia Union. Raul Ruidiaz received his green card and will join the Seattle Sounders preseason training camp.

Valencia Walks Off Pitch After Alleged Racial Abuse

I get so incredibly incensed every time racism is involved in the sport that I love. Sometimes it’s the supporters behaving badly, and other times it’s a player saying something repugnant to an opposing player. That was allegedly the case in Valencia CF’s match against Cadiz CF in La Liga. Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby reported that racial abuse was directed at him by Cadiz’s Juan Cala. Following the incident, Valencia captain Jose Luis Gaya led his team off the pitch in support of Diakhaby. Valencia was informed they had to finish the match or would lose the three points. After 20 minutes, Valencia returned to finish the match and Cadiz subbed Cala off at halftime. There’s no room for this discrimination in soccer or society.

Free Kicks

That’s going to be it for today, folks. I hope you all have a great Monday and rest of your week!