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Lion Links: 11/8/22

Orlando City’s Concacaf Champions League draw, Morgan Reid Allen’s story, MLS roster updates, and more.

SOCCER: SEP 17 MLS - Toronto FC at Orlando City Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a busy Monday in the soccer world with the MLS Trade Window opening, three different continental competitions holding their drawings, and former Lion Daryl Dike returning from injury in a rare Premier League 2 appearance.

Let’s get to the news of the day.

Orlando City Gets Concacaf’d in Champions League Draw

The Concacaf Champions League draw took place Monday night, meaning that Orlando City knows its opponent for its first ever time in the competition. The draw was not kind to the Lions, as they will face Tigres UANL of Liga MX in their round of 16 match-up. Tigres was originally drawn against fellow Liga MX side Pachuca — a match-up that wasn’t allowed in the first round. That meant a new team had to be selected to face Tigres after it had been drawn and that’s when Orlando’s name came up. It’s undoubtedly the toughest draw of any of the Major League Soccer sides, as Tigres won the CCL two years ago, and is a constant presence near the top of the Liga MX table.

Former Pride Player Morgan Reid Allen Shares Why She Left NWSL

Some of you might remember Morgan Reid Allen (then just known as Morgan Reid), who made several appearances for the Orlando Pride during the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season. You might remember that she missed most of that season through injury, and was waived at the end of the year. She’s now spoken about her experience, and how a hip labrum tear that went undiagnosed for two years derailed her soccer career and affected her life. Fortunately, she recently had surgery to repair the injury, and she’s on the mend. Her story is absolutely incredible, and I encourage you to take the time to read about her long road to finding her medical answers.

MLS Transfer News

There were multiple moves made in Major League Soccer in conjunction with Monday’s opening of the trade window. FC Cincinnati signed 15-year-old Stiven Jimenez to a Homegrown Player deal, making him the youngest-ever signing in the club’s history. Minnesota United acquired Homegrown forward Cameron Dunbar from the LA Galaxy in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick and $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) if performance-based incentives are met.

In expansion team news, St. Louis City SC made a pair of signings, the first of which saw Aziel Jackson join the newbies from Minnesota United in exchange for $150,000 in 2023 GAM and up to $75,000 in conditional GAM. St. Louis also sent $100,000 in GAM to Austin FC in exchange for midfielder Jared Stroud.

In non-trade news in the West, FC Dallas signed Sebastian Lletget to a three-year deal that includes an option year for 2026, cementing his stay in Texas for the foreseeable future.

MLS Roster Updates

Three teams announced their end-of-season roster updates Monday, and there are a few noteworthy things to cover. Inter Miami did not renew the contract of former Lion Brek Shea, and while Alejandro Pozuelo is out of contract, talks are reportedly being held about a new deal. On the staffing side of things, Miami also signed Head Coach Phil Neville to a contract extension.

The Houston Dynamo picked up the options for Corey Baird and Ethan Bartlow, and other players, but another former Lion, Darwin Ceren, is out of contract. The Dynamo are seemingly waiting on rumored new coach Ben Olsen’s arrival to make decisions about the futures of Darwin Quintero and Fafa Picault, among others.

Finally, Austin FC declined options on Danny Hoesen, Felipe Martins, and several other players, and while the team said discussions are ongoing with a number of players about returning, the Western Conference finalists currently only have 20 players under contract for next season.

UEFA Champions/Europa League Draws

The draws were also held Monday for both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League playoff round, and there are some tasty match-ups to look forward to. In the Champions League, the pick of the bunch sees Liverpool taking on Real Madrid and Bayern Munich squaring off against Paris Saint-Germain. United States Men’s National Team fans will get to see Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea face Gio Reyna and Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile, in the Europa League playoffs, Manchester United will face Barcelona after the latter’s elimination from the Champions League. Roma vs. Red Bull Salzburg also has the makings of a sneakily good match, as Salzburg has proved to be a tricky out in European competition.

Liverpool May Go Up for Sale

Fenway Sports Group is reportedly ready to sell its controlling stake in Liverpool FC. Just 12 years after purchasing the team, FSG has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help solicit potential buyers for the team. While FSG bought the team for £300 million, the club’s current valuation may now be upwards of £4 billion. If completed, Liverpool’s sale would be yet another high profile Premier League team changing hands recently, after Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital bought Chelsea in the summer, and Newcastle United was sold to Saudia Arabian-based Public Investment Fund around this time last year.

Free Kicks
  • Former Lion Daryl Dike scored a penalty kick for West Brom’s Premier League 2 side in a 5-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in his return from injury.

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