Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I just returned from there after catching up with my former Disney coworkers this past weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.
Orlando City's Off-season Decisions
MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert posted his thoughts on the biggest off-season questions for Orlando City following the conclusion of the Lions’ 2022 season. Even though the Lions ended up losing to CF Montreal 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs, it was not all bad. The Lions won the 2022 U.S. Open Cup and clinched a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League, so that’s something they can build on next season. One area of interest will be which players will leave the club this off-season. Pedro Gallese, Joao Moutinho, Mauricio Pereyra, Benji Michel, and Alexandre Pato all have expiring contracts, so it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. If Pereyra leaves or is bought down, the team could bring in another Designated Player for 2023 as well. Another thing to keep an eye on is if more young players in Orlando’s system can step up and make an impact.
Jesus Ferreira Wins 2022 MLS Young Player of the Year
FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira has done well for FC Dallas this season and won the 2022 MLS Young Player of the Year award. A year ago, Ricardo Pepi won the same award with FC Dallas before moving to FC Augsburg. Ferreira scored 18 goals and added six assists across 33 matches, tying the club’s single-season goals record. None of those 18 goals came from the penalty spot. Ferreira is also competing for a spot on the United States Men’s National Team’s roster for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next month. Ferreira beat out Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada and FC Cincinnati’s Brenner for the award.
Americans Abroad This Week
There are many Americans in action this week as they compete across Europe and make their cases to join the USMNT in Qatar. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath helped Luton Town shut out Josh Sargent and Norwich City in a 1-0 win. Yunus Musah played 75 minutes for Valencia in a 1-1 draw against Sevilla. Joe Scally’s Borussia Monchengladbach side lost 2-1 to SV Darmstadt in the DFB-Pokal’s second round. Today includes more DFB Pokal action as Hannover 96 hosts Giovanni Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund. Pepi looks to stay in good form for Groningen as the Dutch club travels to take on Dordrecht. Christian Pulisic will also be in action today as Chelsea battles Brentford in a midweek Premier League match-up. Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok could also play today. He picked up a knock over the weekend, but it doesn’t seem to be too serious.
World Cup Rosters Are Taking Shape
The World Cup is just a little over a month away and we are starting to see a clearer picture on who will play in Qatar and who will be left off their nation’s roster. A strong weekend from American attackers such as Sargent, Tim Weah, and Haji Wright has helped bring some optimism to the USMNT ahead of the tournament. However, center backs Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long were eliminated from the MLS playoffs and won’t see much action until training camp.
While players across the world are impressing with their clubs to prepare for the World Cup, injuries have ruined the aspirations of a few players. Portuguese forward Diogo Jota won’t be headed to Qatar after a calf injury this past weekend and French midfielder N’Golo Kante is officially out for four months after undergoing an operation on his hamstring. Some good news for France though is that midfielder Paul Pogba is back in training with Juventus following his knee surgery.
- After only scoring 39 goals in the regular season and missing out on the playoffs, Chicago Fire Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson is looking for a proven striker to bring in as a Designated Player.
- Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen gave his insight on his journey back to football after suffering cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 and how reaching the World Cup with Denmark was always his goal.
- EA Sports agreed to be a sponsor for the Women’s UEFA Champions League on a three-year deal. This deal also grants EA Sports the video game licensing rights to the women’s club competition.
- Look who tops the list for the highest-paid goalkeeper in MLS.
According to the MLSPA, St. Louis goalkeeper Roman Burki is earning $1.63 million in guaranteed comp.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) October 17, 2022
That makes him by far the highest-paid MLS GK. Andre Blake barely pulls in half of that amount.
This sort of thing is why hiring a sporting staff with MLS experience matters.
That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.