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Lion Links: 11/12/22

Lions lose Nicholas Gioacchini in Expansion Draft, Orlando Pride promote Seb Hines to head coach and part ways with GM Ian Fleming, and more.

MLS: US Open Cup-New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, Mane Land fam. Yesterday was filled with both positive and negative club news. Hopefully, we can make it through the rest of the weekend without any additional surprises. Aside from that, I hope you all are taking time to fill out your 2022 FIFA World Cup brackets. I have completed mine now, and since I’m a self-proclaimed expert, you should follow my advice and have France in the final. The rest is up to you! Let me know in the comments who you have for this year’s main soccer event. Now, on to the links!

Lions Lose Nicholas Gioacchini to St. Louis City

When Orlando City chose to leave USMNT forward Nicholas Gioacchini off of the protected list for the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft, the front office was crossing its fingers he would not get selected. However, Gioacchini was the first player selected by St. Louis City SC.

Gioacchini was brought in to strengthen a struggling Orlando City attack. However, he made only a few appearances across the back half of the season as Head Coach Oscar Pareja often opted for the services of Jake Mulraney or Iván Angulo. With only two starts in six MLS games and another appearance off the bench in the U.S. Open Cup, Gioacchini’s tenure in Orlando has come to a premature close.

Seb Hines Named Pride Head Coach; Team Parts Ways with GM Ian Fleming

The Orlando Pride announced the promotion of Seb Hines to head coach on Friday, removing his “interim” tag. Hines has signed a multi-year contract to lead the Pride, although the length of the contract is undisclosed. At the time of his interim appointment, Hines became the first Black head coach in the NWSL and now makes history as the league’s first-ever Black full-time head coach.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and look forward to leading the Pride ahead of the 2023 NWSL season. Orlando is a diverse and dynamic city, and I’m excited to build a team identity that reflects the values of our club and our community—a team that Pride fans can be proud of,” Hines said. “It’s an inspiring time to be a part of this organization. We’re creating a competitive environment where players feel heard and supported to succeed. Our ownership group is deeply committed to building a world-class, winning culture, and I’m thrilled to work alongside them to make it a reality.”

The Pride also parted ways with now-former general manager Ian Fleming. The organization will look to increase investment in the Orlando Pride’s staff and resources while the front office will see an overall restructuring of the soccer operations department. As part of the organization’s soccer operations restructure, the GM position will expand and directly report to ownership.

“We are appreciative of the dedication Ian has shown to our organization over the last two seasons and, on behalf of the Pride, wish him the best of luck in his next chapter,” Wilf added. “The NWSL is growing at an incredible and exciting rate, and as we move forward it is important that our Club remains at the forefront of that trajectory to best position ourselves for success in the future. As an ownership group, we are dedicated to investing in Pride soccer operations more than ever before, including the evolution and hiring of new, key positions on the technical staff.”

More from the Newest MLS Expansion Team

Here is how the rest of the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft played out. Following the draft, St. Louis City sent Jake La Cava to Inter Miami in exchange for up to $250,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). In addition, the expansion side acquired defender Tim Parker from the Houston Dynamo — a player who was eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft — in exchange for $500,000 in GAM split over the next two seasons. However, Houston is giving St. Louis some relief on Parker’s salary, eating a chunk of the defender’s budget charge in 2023 and 2024. St. Louis City SC has already signed two Designated Players for the team’s 2023 season debut — German midfielder Eduard Löwen and Brazilian forward João Klauss, but it will not use the allotted third.

EPL News and Notes

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has told national team managers hopeful of having their World Cup players rested this weekend: “Don’t call me!”...Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will miss today’s Premier League match after being given a one-match touchline ban by the Football Association for clashing with the assistant referee during last month’s win over Manchester City...Erik ten Hag is intent on offloading Harry Maguire in the summer to help fund his overhaul of the Manchester United squad.

Free Kicks

That is all I have for you today. I hope you take time for yourself this weekend. Catch up on your favorite shows, read a good book, sit on the porch with an ice cold beverage, or go for a long walk. Whatever it is that makes you happy, I wish you the best in enjoying it today. Until next time — vamos Orlando!