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Lion Links: 7/20/21

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Jodie Taylor ready to contribute for Pride, Gold Cup allows medical changes to rosters, Inter may bring small squad to Florida Cup, and more.

SOCCER: MAR 07 SheBelieves Cup - USA v England Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It wasn’t the best weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, but a couple down games simply provides a chance to bounce back and start another run of good form. There’s plenty to talk over today, so let’s get right into it.

Taylor is Ready to Contribute

The Orlando Pride signed English striker Jodie Taylor at the beginning of July, two months into the NWSL season. It’s never an easy ask for a player to join a team in the middle of the season but it doesn’t seem to have fazed Taylor. Part of the reason for that is that she’s plenty familiar with playing stateside. This season is her fifth in the NWSL and seventh playing in the United States as a whole. The veteran says that she missed the competitiveness of the league, and it’s part of the reason why she’s back. While she has yet to play for her new team, she will hopefully add some more bite to an attack that’s been carried by Sydney Leroux with Alex Morgan and Marta away getting ready for the Olympics.

Gold Cup Allows Medical Changes

Concacaf has made the announcement that the teams that advanced to the knockout rounds of the Gold Cup will be allowed to make medical changes to their 23-player rosters. All medical replacement players must be selected from a team’s provisional roster, and all roster changes are subject to approval by the Concacaf Medical Committee. Finally, all proposed changes need to be sent to Concacaf for review no less than 24 hours before the the start of the quarterfinal. This potentially opens the door for Chris Mueller to be called into the U.S. Men’s National Team if Paul Arriola is unable to recover from the injury he sustained in the team’s opener against Haiti; although Mueller is not the only name that Gregg Berhalter could turn to.

Inter Might Bring Small Squad to Florida Cup

The heaviest hitter of the Florida Cup might bring a reduced squad to the competition due to concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19. Inter Milan is unable to pull out of the tournament but doesn’t want to risk exposing players to the Delta variant of the virus. The original plan was for players who participated in the Euros and Copa America to join up with the squad in Florida, but those plans are now up in the air as the team looks to minimize its risk.

At present, the plan is for the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, and Matias Vecino to join up with Romelu Lukaku and the rest of the squad in Florida as the three South Americans are now finished with their post-Copa America vacations.

The last players set to join the squad are Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni, and Lautaro, each of whom were involved in the finals of the Euros and the Copa America respectively.

Heinze Firing Reasons Emerge

New reports have emerged regarding the reasoning behind the firing of Gabriel Heinze, and they are...something. Worst among them are the reports that Heinze and his coaching staff placed limits on the amount of water players were permitted to drink during preseason practices, with things getting so bad that the team’s medical staff intervened. He also did not give players their guaranteed days off and mandated that players’ phones be on at all times so they could answer and report to the training facility at the drop of a hat. The overall situation deteriorated to the point that the MLS Players Association filed a grievance with the league office due to multiple violations of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Even if the team’s record hadn’t been dismal at the time of his firing, he could have been sacked simply for the violations of the CBA, and the manner in which he violated the agreement is inexcusable and put his players’ well-being at risk.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City dropped eight spots to 11th in ESPN.com’s MLS Power Rankings.
  • Y’all ain’t gonna believe this, but Ashlyn Harris is up for NWSL Save of the Week for yet another stop on a penalty kick. Vote early. Vote often.

That does it for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.