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Lion Links: 10/18/2023

Papi proud of Orlando City’s season, MLS salary guide released, Orlando Pride have four free agents, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at CF Montreal David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. While Orlando City’s season didn’t end the way we hoped it would, this past year still gave us a lot to be grateful for. Despite all Orlando’s teams’ seasons now being over, the world has not stopped turning, and there’s a lot of things to talk about today. Let’s get going.

Papi Proud of Orlando City’s Season

Despite a tough loss on the road in the first round of the playoffs, Oscar Pareja is proud of what Orlando City accomplished this season, and rightly so. Pareja noted that despite the playoff exit, the team is growing and already looking forward to what it can accomplish next year. Papi also highlighted Orlando’s first piece of silverware since joining Major League Soccer, while also expressing disappointment that OCSC wasn’t able to deliver the MLS Cup to its fans. Still, between the U.S. Open Cup trophy, a third straight season of qualifying for the playoffs, and a berth in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League, the Lions have plenty to be proud of in 2022.

MLS Salary Guide Released

The Major League Soccer Player’s Association has released the salary guide for the 2022 season. There are some unsurprising things, like Lorenzo Insigne being the highest paid player at a whopping $14 million per year, nearly twice as much as the next closest man. Orlando City only has two players making more than six figures, with Ercan Kara the team’s highest earner and Mauricio Pereyra next on the list. With a base salary of $180,000, Cesar Araujo has to be in the running for the bargain signing of the year. All things told, Orlando has one of the tighter wage bills in the league and is getting a pretty good return compared to teams like Chicago and Columbus, which have significantly higher numbers but finished outside the playoff places. No one has the Philadelphia Union beat when it comes to bang for buck though.

Orlando Pride Have Four Free Agents

An impartial arbitrator has determined that any National Women’s Soccer League player with six years of service in the league and a contract that expires in 2022 is eligible for free agency. That means that the Orlando Pride have four free agents, including Marta, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Erika Tymrak and Toni Pressley. We are now in the midst of the league’s first-ever free agency period, and it’ll be very interesting to see how that shapes rosters this off-season. Following the 2023 season the free agency requirements will get a little more lax, as players with five years of service will qualify for unrestricted free agency and players with three years will qualify for restricted free agency. The full list of free agents is below.

Charlotte and Portland Announce Roster Decisions

Charlotte FC and the Portland Timbers have each announced their end-of-year roster decisions. The biggest pieces of news for Charlotte on that front concern Christian Fuchs and Alan Franco. Fuchs had his option declined by the club but is in talks over a potential return to the team. Meanwhile, Franco’s one-year loan expired and the club did not pick up his option, so he has departed the team.

For the Timbers, there wasn’t too much in the way of eye-catching decisions. The most notable was the end of Josecarlos Van Rankin’s two-year loan deal, with the Timbers declining to pick up his option.

With the first round of the playoffs now completed, more and more teams will begin to announce their roster moves, so keep an eye out as they continue to drop.

Free Kicks

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