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Lion Links: 1/26/22

Oscar Pareja expresses confidence in Facundo Torres, OCSC acquires international roster spot, Spice World named official partner for OCSC and the Pride, and more.

Orlando City SC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all are doing well down in Florida. I’ve been busy trying to stay warm up here in Chicago while making the most of the slow time by catching up on shows and movies lately. We got lots to cover today so let’s get to the links.

Oscar Pareja Expresses Confidence in Facundo Torres

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke about the impact winger Facundo Torres will make once he joins the team next week. Torres is with the Uruguayan national team for its World Cup qualifiers and he will have a few weeks to adjust in Orlando before the home opener on Feb. 27.

“First he’s very technical, I think fans will see a player who has a lot of creativity,” said Pareja during Tuesday’s media availability at Osceola Heritage Park. “His fitness and his generosity with the team are remarkable, too. He’s a first-team player who can contribute his individual attributes to make a difference, and I hope that things come quickly. Any player needs some period of adaptation and we will have to be patient with it, but I think he’s already had important scenarios in his career that can help speed these things up.”

Pareja also discussed the team’s leadership after Nani’s departure and he expects Mauricio Pereyra to play a big role in that alongside other veterans such as Junior Urso, Pedro Gallese and Alexandre Pato.

Orlando City Acquires International Roster Spot

Orlando City traded away $200,000 in General Allocation Money and its natural third-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft to CF Montreal in exchange for an international roster spot. This international roster spot may be used on Austrian forward Ercan Kara, who reportedly traveled to the U.S. for a medical and is expected to join Orlando as a Designated Player.

The Lions have also been linked with Argentine winger Gastón González, although reports suggest he won’t join Orlando until May, which allows the Lions some time to either acquire or free up another international roster spot for him should he sign.

Spice World Named Official Partner for OCSC and the Pride

Orlando-based company Spice World was announced as the official herb and spice partner of Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride. Spice World will work with Spectra to offer enhanced dishes for the West Club at Exploria Stadium and will also sponsor a new content series. OCSC President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon expressed his excitement in this new partnership.

“Entering into an exciting year, we are happy to have Spice World come aboard as our newest partner,” Orlando City and Orlando Pride President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon said. “As a locally-based company, Spice World understands the importance of having a strong presence within the Orlando community and we look forward to working with them to enhance our impact as a club at the local level. We’re excited about the opportunities this partnership brings, and look forward to all the great work we will do together.”

Daryl Dike Will Be Out Eight Weeks

Former Orlando City forward Daryl Dike will miss eight weeks due to a hamstring injury he sustained during his first start for EFL Championship side West Bromwich Albion this past weekend. This injury will likely prevent Dike from being called up for the United States Men’s National Team’s final qualifying window in March as he recovers. Despite this setback, Dike is staying positive and motivated to get back soon.

USMNT keeper Zack Steffen could be out with back injury

Manchester City and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen is reportedly dealing with back tightness and he has not arrived in the U.S. for the team’s qualifier tomorrow against El Salvador.

New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner will likely be in goal for the Americans to fill in for Steffen. Turner started in the first five Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, including the scoreless draw against El Salvador on Sept. 2. The two nations meet again tomorrow as the USMNT will face an El Salvador team in need of points near the bottom of the table. The USMNT sits in second place behind Canada, which it will play on Sunday. The USMNT will then close out the window against Honduras in St. Paul on Feb. 2.

Free Kicks

That will do it for me, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.