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Lion Links: 6/1/21

Copa America moved to Brazil, Jozy Altidore’s future to be decided over break, Jasmyne Spencer joins Houston, and more.

SOCCER: MAY 30 NWSL - Kansas City at Orlando Pride Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It’s the first day of June, which means that the first international break of the MLS season is sadly upon us. Fortunately, the Orlando Pride’s season will keep on rolling, which is an especially good thing considering the hot streak the team is on at the moment. As usual there’s lots to talk about today, so let’s get into it.

Brazil to Host Copa America

The Copa America is now headed to Brazil. The tournament was originally set to be jointly hosted by Colombia and Argentina, but several eventful weeks in both countries mean that is no longer the case. Colombia pulled out of hosting the tournament on May 20 following weeks of social unrest, protests, and subsequent police violence, while Argentina was removed as a host just a few days ago following a spike in the country’s COVID-19 cases. Brazil will now take over hosting duties on extremely short notice, with the tournament set to start on June 13 and CONMEBOL loath to cancel or postpone an event that brought in $118 million in revenue when it was last played in 2019. Brazil may not be the best option though, as the country will need to navigate complications presented by its current league season and its own COVID-19 numbers.

Altidore’s Future to be Decided Soon

According to Ali Curtis, general manager of Toronto FC, a decision will be made regarding Jozy Altidore’s future during the current international break. Altidore was told to train on his own last week following an argument with head coach Chris Armas, with the basis of the disagreement reportedly stemming from Altidore being subbed off for Ayo Akinola during the team’s 1-0 loss to Orlando City two weeks ago. Altidore has been with the team since 2015 and has largely justified his spot as one of the team’s three Designated Players by recording 75 goals and 26 assists in 160 matches across all competitions since his arrival. Should TFC decide to part ways with him there will almost certainly be no shortage of suitors.

Dash Acquire Spencer

The Houston Dash have signed former Orlando Pride player Jasmyne Spencer, following a trade with OL Reign. The Dash sent a third-round draft pick in next year’s NWSL Draft as part of said deal, and Spencer is now wearing orange. The Dash will be hoping she brings some added firepower to the club, and the winger certainly has the experience to do just that. The Dash have had a decent enough start to the season and currently sit in the sixth and final playoff place with a record of 1-1-2. Scoring hasn’t been the biggest problem for Houston as its five goals are good for fourth-best in the league, but a little extra offensive punch never hurt anyone. Spencer was with the Pride from 2016 to 2017 and we wish her all the best with her new team.

Aguero Joins Barcelona

Sergio Aguero has officially joined FC Barcelona on a free transfer, following his participation in the UEFA Champions League final. Aguero was unveiled yesterday and has been given a two-year contract which includes a buyout clause set at an eye-watering $122 million. While Lionel Messi is out of contract this summer, Aguero believes (and also probably desperately hopes) that he will stay at the Catalan club, the only team he has ever played for. Even if he doesn’t, Aguero will have plenty of help around him with Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, and Georginio Wijnaldum all expected to join the club as free transfers.

Free Kicks

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