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Lion Links: 8/10/21

Nani honored again, Josh Sargent transfer finalized, Javier Perez named Toronto coach until the end of the season, and more.

Orlando City SC v Toronto FC Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It should be an interesting week for Orlando City as the Lions will take part in the Leagues Cup for the first ever time. As usual, there is a lot to discuss today, so let’s get straight into it.

Nani Honored Again

Once again, Nani was recognized for his performance in Orlando City’s most recent game with his inclusion in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week. Orlando’s captain was named to the bench of this week’s squad after a substitute appearance that helped the Lions rescue a point on the road at FC Cincinnati. Barely a minute after entering the game Nani latched onto a wildly questionable flick in midfield from FCC’s Allan Cruz, drove at the Cincy defense and coolly slotted past Kenneth Vermeer from the edge of the area. Congrats and keep up the good work!

Sargent Transfer Complete

It was announced yesterday that Josh Sargent has completed a transfer to Norwich City from Werder Bremen. The $11 million fee takes the young American to the Premier League as opposed to playing in the 2. Bundesliga after Bremen was relegated at the end of the 2020-2021 Bundesliga campaign. The move is a bit of a risky one for Sargent. On the one hand, he’ll be playing against some of the best opposition in the world, which means he’ll certainly be forced to grow and get better if he’s going to survive. If he does survive and thrive then he’ll be poised for even bigger and better things. On the flip side though, he’s joining a newly promoted club with an established first choice striker in Teemu Pukki, all ahead of World Cup qualifying about to start. Either way, it’s an exciting opportunity and I’m interested to see how he adapts.

Perez Given Toronto Job through 2021

Toronto FC announced yesterday that Javier Perez will take charge of the team as head coach until the end of the 2021 season, removing the “interim” moniker from ahead of his name. Perez replaced Chris Armas in the top job on July 7 and while the team has only taken 10 points from seven games, the Reds have also only lost one game and nabbed an impressive road win over the New England Revolution. Perez has also brought Jozy Altidore back into the fold and has managed to get him scoring and assisting again — an important difference from the end of the Armas era.

Octagonal Dates Confirmed

The dates for the final round of matches in Concacaf World Cup qualifying have been confirmed by the regional federation and FIFA itself. The “Octagonal” will begin on Thursday, Sept. 2 with the United States kicking off its campaign on the road against El Salvador. Matches will be played during the FIFA windows scheduled during September, October, and November of 2021 and January, February, and March of 2022. This more or less confirms what we already knew, but now things are set in stone, so to speak. Each of the eight nations in the Octagonal round will play each other home and away, and the top three teams at the end will directly qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the fourth placed team advancing to an Intercontinental Playoff.

Free Kicks
  • Erika Tymrak spoke about the Orlando Pride’s identity.
  • Ashlyn Harris is again a finalist for NWSL Save of the Week. Get your votes in!

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