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Lion Links: 10/25/22

Candidates emerge for Houston Dynamo job, USMNT players struggling for club minutes, new managers for Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, and more.

MLS: New England Revolution at D.C. United Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday everyone. My weekend absolutely flew by, but with all the soccer in store this week, I have a feeling that it’ll be Friday evening again before I know it. Before we get started, today is the 12-year anniversary of Orlando City being announced as a USL team all the way back in 2010! How far we’ve come. Now then, as usual, there’s plenty of stuff to talk about today, so let’s get going.

Candidates Emerge for Houston Dynamo Job

Two names have emerged as candidates for the Houston Dynamo coaching job. Ben Olsen and Hugo Perez have reportedly been interviewed for the role, which has been vacant since early September. The talks with Olsen have apparently progressed pretty far, while there are no further details about Perez’s situation. Olsen has 10 years of coaching experience in Major League Soccer and won the U.S. Open Cup in 2013 and MLS Coach of the Year in 2014. While his record of 113-137-84 isn’t the most impressive, it’s fair to say that he may have been hamstrung by a D.C. United ownership that wasn’t in the habit of splashing the cash in the transfer window. If he takes the job, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with a Houston team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2017.

United States Men’s National Team Players Hurting for Playing Time

With the start of the World Cup getting closer and closer, there are several players on the United States Men’s National Team who have found it difficult to get playing time lately. Most notable is Christian Pulisic, who has only started two matches for Chelsea all season long. Matt Turner is backing up Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal, and while Zack Steffen and Ethan Horvath have been getting minutes in the lower English divisions at Middlesbrough and Luton Town, respectively, there is no clear no. 1 goalkeeper heading into the tournament. Add in the fact that the MLS-based players, whose teams have been eliminated from the playoffs, won’t play a competitive game for over a month, and things could be a little better on the playing time front.

New Managers for Middlesbrough and Aston Villa

Speaking of Steffen, he will be playing under a new manager, as Michael Carrick has been appointed the new boss at Middlesbrough. The former Manchester United player hung his boots up in 2018, and spent several years as a coach for the Red Devils under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Carrick has quite the challenge ahead of him as Middlesbrough sits 21st out of the 24-team EFL Championship, and has taken a meager 17 points from 16 games this season.

Up in the Premier League, Unai Emery has replaced Steven Gerrard as the manager of Aston Villa, after Gerrard was let go by the club last week. Emery has left his post at Villarreal to take his first job in English football since he was sacked by Arsenal in November of 2019, although he was courted by Newcastle in October of last year. Emery also faces an uphill battle as Villa is currently 15th, with 12 points from 12 matches.

Shaktar Donetsk Wants Iran out of World Cup

Ukrainian club Shaktar Donetsk has called on FIFA to remove Iran from the World Cup as a result of Iran’s alleged military support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Shaktar team executive Sergei Palkin asserted that Iran has been directly involved in the invasion and has called for Ukraine to take the Asian confederation’s place at the tournament. There is no precedent for an Asian team being removed and replaced with a European one, but Palkin’s accusations are not without merit, as the White House said last week that it has evidence of Iranian troops being on the ground supporting the invasion. Palkin joins groups of Iranian activists who have also called for their country’s removal from the tournament over actions towards protestors and the country’s treatment of women, which we covered in yesterday’s Lion Links.

Free Kicks
  • The Beefy Swede has a message for the Orlando City faithful.

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