It’s July! It’s crazy to me that we’re over halfway done with 2021, but alas here we are and we’ve got things on the docket. Orlando City and the Orlando Pride have games this weekend, all the while the European transfer window opens today and the Olympics are around the corner. Lots to get into, so let’s discuss.
Nani Fifth in MVP Ladder per MLSSoccer.com
It’s hard not to feel like there’s an anti-Orlando bias in Major League Soccer circles sometimes. In MLSSoccer.com’s MVP power rankings, Orlando City talisman and captain Nani ranked fifth, just past the honorable mentions. Antonio Carlos actually received votes — the only defender featured — so Orlando got some love, but the Nani disrespect is infuriating. The folks ranked ahead of him were, in order, Sporting Kansas City’s Dániel Sallói, Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz, the Galaxy’s Chicharito, and New England’s Carles Gil.
Since this award is entirely stat driven, that’s a sound top five, but to have Nani fifth within that group is just wrong. Only Chicharito and Sallói have more goal contributions (goals plus assists), while Nani’s per-90 goal contributions are noticeably the best in the league. Nani is on the same or better level in terms of production, while playing for a top three team in the league, all the with 300 fewer minutes played than his contemporaries. There’s no rational reason Nani shouldn’t be top three in this ranking, and the “wearing down over the course of a season” shouldn’t apply to a here-and-now ranking. Let’s see how he does when it’s not a pandemic-condensed season trying to make up for lost months or when he’s in the second season played back-to-back consecutively.
MLS Transfer Needs
The content team at MLSSoccer.com kept busy Wednesday. Aside from the suspect MVP power rankings, Tom Bogert listed transfer needs for each MLS team. For Orlando City, he noted a need at striker, assuming a potentially imminent sale of Daryl Dike. While that’s an easy narrative around Orlando, is it the most warranted? Even without Dike, Pato is set to return from injury soon while Tesho Akindele is having an excellent season thus far. Add in SuperDraft pick Derek Dodson and Orlando City has options at center forward, especially when you consider that a lot of Orlando’s offensive production comes from the wingers, not necessarily the strikers.
Morgan Criticizes IOC For Lack of Clarity Around Bringing Children to Olympics
Orlando Pride and U.S. Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan shared her frustrations around the IOC’s lack of clarity around bringing children to the Olympic Games.
Still not sure what "when necessary" even means. Is that determined by the mother or the IOC? We are Olympic mothers telling you, it is NECESSARY. I have not been contacted about being able to bring my daughter with me to Japan and we leave in 7 days. #Tokyo2020 #USWNT #TeamUSA https://t.co/cNGMt8w0Ss— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 30, 2021
While the IOC announced that nursing mothers will be able to bring their children, the specific guidelines are still hazy. Morgan is one of many Olympic stars in this state of limbo, with the potential of missing out on Olympic dreams a harsh reality for some.
European Transfer Shenanigans
The summer transfer window is nothing but chaos in the soccer world. Yesterday was particularly eventful, with a potentially massive transfer coming to fruition. Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho is set to join Manchester United, per Fabrizio Romano.
Jadon Sancho to Manchester United... HERE WE GO! #MUFC #Sancho— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 30, 2021
Done deal confirmed. Agreement reached between Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.
€90m with add ons. Agents fee and personal terms agreed, contract until 2026.
Medicals pending - then it’ll be official. pic.twitter.com/VBto2JqbtK
The move has been in the works for weeks but should now be set, pending medicals. In other transfer news, Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain is now all but announced while Leicester City announced the signing of striker Patson Daka from Red Bull Salzburg.
On the managerial end, two big Premier League openings were filled, with Everton hiring former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, and Tottenham Hotspur turning to former Wolverhampton manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
- Orlando City’s clash with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday will feature post-game fireworks.
- The Orlando Pride will be down several players Sunday night, with Marisa Viggiano and Phoebe McClernon both seen nursing injuries in training, while Alex Morgan and Erin McLeod are off with their national teams. Good news though: Marta and Ali Riley will be available as they haven’t yet left for their national teams.
- DAZN announced a huge four-year deal to broadcast the UEFA Women’s Champions League worldwide.
- The Euros were linked to a COVID outbreak in Scotland, with almost 2,000 cases linked to fans who traveled to London for the England vs. Scotland match.
- The U.S. Men’s National Team Gold Cup roster announcement was delayed to today. Orlando’s Daryl Dike, Chris Mueller, and Andres Perea were all on the preliminary roster.
- Austin FC announced the signing of striker Moussa Djitté from French side Grenoble Foot 38. He was brought in under the U-22 initiative and isn’t a Designated Player.
That’s all I have for today Thank you all for reading. Have a great day!