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Lion Links: 1/20/22

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Orlando City signs Schlegel to new contract, Pride announce assistant coaches, Exploria Stadium to host USMNT World Cup qualifier, and more.

SOCCER: JUL 22 MLS - Philadelphia Union at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you are keeping warm with this cold winter weather we have been getting lately here in Florida. Grab yourself a warm beverage and get caught up on some soccer news with today’s Lion Links.

Lions Sign Schlegel to New Deal; Alvarado Reportedly Going on Loan

The hero of the 2020 MLS playoffs will be staying in Orlando as Rodrigo Schelgel signed a new two-year contract with two additional club option years. Schlegel had his option year picked up after the 2021 season but the club made it a priority to lengthen his stay. The Argentinian has been a solid defensive depth piece for the Lions since arriving in 2019. He has proven his worth to Orlando City and will continue to stay with this new deal.

With one player staying, it appears Orlando City might be losing a player to a loan deal. Although the Lions have yet to make an official announcement, Ecuadorian side LUD announced that it has acquired Alexander Alvarado on loan for the 2022 season with an option to buy. After being buried on the depth chart for most of the 2021 season, hopefully this loan move will mean more minutes for Alvarado’s development if he is to continue his career, whether he’s in Orlando or elsewhere.

Michelle Akers Part of Amanda Cromwell’s New Coaching Staff

The Orlando Pride announced the club’s assistant coaches joining Head Coach Amanda Cromwell’s staff, and among those named was UCF’s own Michelle Akers. Being a two-time World Cup champion with the USWNT, Akers will no doubt bring a wealth of experience as a player development coach and as an assistant. Also joining the coaching staff is Sam Greene, who is familiar with Cromwell, as they spent nine years together as part of the UCLA coaching staff. Returning to the Pride staff is former Orlando City defender, Seb Hines.

Exploria Stadium to Host USMNT World Cup Qualifier

Exploria Stadium will be the site for the USMNT’s final home World Cup qualifier match in this cycle. U.S. Soccer announced that the Red, White & Blue will face off against Panama on March 27 at 7 p.m. in Orlando. This will be the second meeting between the two sides in Orlando as the USMNT beat Los Canaleros at Exploria Stadium 4-0 back on Oct. 6, 2017. The USMNT has played a total of four matches and has never lost in the home of Orlando City and the Pride. Make sure to show up for this match as the city of Orlando continues to make its case to be a viable home stadium for the USMNT and a host city for the 2026 World Cup. Tickets for the game go on presale beginning Jan. 24.

MLS News and Notes

Former Lion Brek Shea re-signed with Inter Miami. The deal is for one year and will include a club option for 2023.

Sporting Kansas City acquired Robert Voloder on a three-year contract with an option for 2025. The 20-year-old German youth international center back comes to MLS by way of NK Maribor in the Slovenian first division. Voloder will also occupy an international spot for Sporting KC.

Bryan Acosta joined the Colorado Rapids on a two-year deal with a club option for an additional season. Acosta joins the Rapids as a free agent and was selected by the club in the 2021 MLS Re-Entry Draft. This brings an end to the 28-year-old’s three seasons with FC Dallas.

LAFC is in discussions to acquire goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau from the Vancouver Whitecaps. The trade would likely only include allocation money. The only goalkeeper on the LAFC roster is Tomás Romero.

Sources are saying D.C. United has received multiple potential MLS record-setting trade offers from Charlotte FC and FC Dallas for USMNT winger Paul Arriola. Club America of Liga MX has also made bids and is continuing to chase his services.

Free Kicks

That will be all for me today, Mane Landers. I hope you all enjoy your Thursday and I’ll see you for the next one.