Welcome back to another edition of Lion Links! Orlando City fans have cried out for new signings. Reports this weekend indicate their prayers will soon be answered.
Report: Orlando City Signing All But Official
Orlando City is reportedly on the cusp of adding significant firepower to its attack. On Friday night, the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Gramajo reported that Peñarol forward Facundo Torres has put pen to paper for the club for a club-record $7.5 million fee and $1.5 million in bonuses for 100% of his rights. Gramajo said the signing will be announced “later next week” but the club teased Torres’ arrival with this tweet featuring crows (his nickname is Cuervo, or “crow”):
Torres posted a lengthy farewell on Twitter to Peñarol, the club he joined when he was 10.
-— Facu Torres (@facutorresss) January 21, 2022
Llegó el momento más difícil de estos últimos 12 años. Porque Peñarol fue el club que con 10 años me invitó a recorrer un camino con muchos sueños por cumplir. pic.twitter.com/sFrBp4Dw6X
Report: Lions Closing in on Austrian Striker Ercan Kara
Transfermarkt’s Manuel Veth reported striker Ercan Kara of Austrian first division side and Europa League participant Rapid Wien will soon sign with the Lions as a Designated Player now that the clubs have agreed on a transfer fee. The 6-foot-4 Kara has notched nine goals and three assists in 17 Austrian Bundesliga matches (16 starts) this season after tallying 17 goals and six assists in 38 matches across all Rapid Wien competitions last season. The 26-year-old has also appeared in seven matches (two starts) in the Austrian national team’s current World Cup qualifying campaign. Transfermarkt estimates Kara’s current market value is $3.4 million.
Although the Kara deal’s transfer fee is yet unknown, the reported signing of Torres and the interest in Kara — two players valued in the millions — indicate the Wilf family, Orlando City’s new owners, are willing to open the coffers to land valuable attacking talent wherever General Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi can find it.
Lions’ First Scrimmage Canceled
Orlando City announced today’s preseason scrimmage against reigning MLS champs New York City FC has been canceled. NYCFC simultaneously announced the cancelation and said the club would instead play New York Red Bulls, which suggests the cause of the change comes from Orlando’s end. The Lions’ next scheduled preseason scrimmage is set for Feb. 3 against Adrian Heath’s Minnesota United.
USMNT’s Musah Scores in Valencia Loss
One day after U.S. Men’s National Team coach Gregg Berhalter named him to the upcoming three-game World Cup qualifying campaign roster, Yunus Musah scored Valencia’s first goal to propel the La Liga side to a 2-0 lead at the half against Atlético Madrid. Diego Simeone’s reigning champs stormed back, scoring two stoppage-time goals to complete a stunning 3-2 comeback win.
Chicago Fire Acquire Kacper Przybyłko from Union
The Philadelphia Union shipped Polish striker Kacper Przybyłko to Chicago in exchange for $1.15 million in General Allocation Money (GAM) split across two seasons. Przybyłko spent the past three seasons with the Union, ringing up 35 goals and 14 assists in 83 appearances (77 starts) there. Since making his MLS debut in 2019, Przybyłko’s 35 goals are tied for the third-most in the league, behind only Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez (38) and Seattle Sounders attacker Raúl Ruidíaz (37).
- USMNT striker and former Lion Daryl Dike made his first start for West Brom Albion yesterday in the English Championship. Unfortunately, he left the game early in the second half with a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out for two weeks.
- Fomer Lion goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh signed with Toronto FC and Inter Miami CF promoted former Orlando City forward Martin Paterson to first-team assistant coach.
- Southampton snapped league-leading Manchester City’s 12-game winning streak by holding the Cityzens to a 1-1 draw.
- Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea looks for its fifth straight win against London rival Tottenham today.
- Today’s Nigeria-Tunisia match-up highlights the opening day of AFCON’s win-or-go-home stage.
- Liverpool teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will face off when Egypt and Senegal play in the next round of Africa’s World Cup qualifiers.
- Fourth-tier Kelty Hearts stunned cupholder St. Johnstone in yesterday’s Scottish Cup fourth round action.
- All the feels for Devin Plank.
Thanks for checking out today’s Links. Online reports of the Torres signing have appeared for weeks. However, yesterday’s report linking Ercan Kara to Orlando City was the first of its kind. What more surprises await Orlando City fans? Stay tuned to The Mane Land to find out.