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Lion Links: 11/18/22

Lions learn Champions League schedule, NWSL announces 2023 schedule format, MLS transfer news, and more.

MLS: US Open Cup-Philadelphia Union at Orlando City FC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? This cool weather should be a nice reminder that the holidays are right around the corner. I haven’t done any shopping yet, but am looking to get some of that done over the next few weeks before it becomes too difficult to get some gifts. It’s kind of crazy that we only have about six weeks left of this year. Before we turn our attention to today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B goalkeeper Javier Otero!

Orlando City’s Concacaf Champions League Schedule Announced

Orlando City’s first ever Concacaf Champions League match will take place on the road when the Lions play Tigres UANL on March 7 at 10 p.m. in Monterrey, Mexico. The two teams will then face off again at Exploria Stadium on March 15 at 8:15 p.m. for the second leg. If the Lions manage to get past Tigres, they will then play either Pachuca or Motagua in the quarterfinals in April. You can check out the full schedule and see when the other MLS teams will be playing as well.

NWSL Challenge Cup Will Take Place During NWSL Season

Unlike in previous years, the NWSL Challenge Cup will take part throughout the 2023 NWSL season rather than before it. The tournament will start in April with a group stage and then conclude with its final on Sept. 9. As for the regular season, it will once again have a balanced schedule, with each team playing each other twice. The 22-game season will also take the 2023 World Cup into account to minimize conflicts for players who play at the club and international level. It all kicks off on March 25, with clubs able to start their preseason between Jan. 23 and Feb. 6. The playoffs will start in late October, with the final set for Nov. 11.

MLS Transfer News and Reports

The New York Red Bulls are reportedly finalizing a deal to sign Jamaican forward Cory Burke to a two-year deal. Burke is a free agent after five seasons with the Philadelphia Union and would fit in well with the Red Bulls considering his defensive work rate, skill in the air, and experience in the league.

In other MLS transfer news, the Union officially transferred American midfielder Paxten Aaronson to the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt. The 19-year-old will join the German club in January. LAFC re-signed defender Ryan Hollingshead to a three-year contract after a strong first season there. FC Dallas also acquired young Colombian forward Jose Mulato from Deportivo Cali.

Austin FC selected Sofiane Djeffal after trading up for the top spot in the 2022 Re-Entry Draft. Toronto FC then chose goalkeeper Tomas Romero with the second pick and the Vancouver Whitecaps selected defender Karifa Yao with the 12th pick. The second stage of this year’s Re-Entry Draft will take place on Tuesday.

USMNT Settles In Before World Cup Opener

While other World Cup participants are playing other nations to prepare for the tournament, the United States Men’s National Team set up a closed-door training session with Qatari club Al-Gharafa SC. While the USMNT won’t have much time to get used to playing in Qatar before its first match against Wales on Monday, it at least won’t have to travel much due to the tournament taking place in one city. DeAndre Yedlin is the only player on the roster with World Cup experience and has been giving tips to his younger teammates. The team has many leaders and it’s not clear yet who will wear the captain’s armband.

Free Kicks
  • Senegalese forward Sadio Mane will officially miss out on the World Cup due to a leg injury. Senegal’s first match will take place on Monday against the Netherlands.
  • Canada beat Japan 2-1 in a friendly, with former Lion Richie Laryea winning a late penalty that Lucas Cavallini converted.
  • Argentina called up Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada as a replacement player for the World Cup.
  • Moroccan forward Hakim Ziyech scored from his own half in a friendly against Georgia.
  • Ghana scored twice in the second half to beat Switzerland 2-0. I’m really interested in how Ghana’s group plays out considering the African nation will go up against Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea.
  • If you don’t have a team to root for in the World Cup, or just want another one to cheer on, try this quiz to find the best fit.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!