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Lion Links: 12/13/22

The return of Daryl Dike, MLS transfer roundup, Gio Reyna speaks, and more.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! The World Cup is back at last, and not a minute too soon. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any soccer news happening in the tournament’s absence though — quite the opposite, in fact. With that in mind, let’s jump into the links.

Daryl Dike Comes Up Big in West Brom Return

Former Lion Daryl Dike made his long-awaited return from injury for West Brom on Monday, and he did so in style. Dike entered the match as a substitute in the 64th minute, with the Baggies trailing 1-0 to Sunderland. Dike promptly assisted on the equalizing goal just six minutes later, but he wasn’t done there. The big striker attacked a cross in the 82nd minute and powered it into the ground and past the goalkeeper for the winning goal.

It’s fantastic to see the former Orlando City star back on the field and amongst the goals, and hopefully there are many more to come.

MLS Transfer Roundup

There are several notable pieces of MLS transfer business to cover. First up, Toronto FC has signed Jonathan Osorio to a new contract. The midfielder inked a three-year deal that contains an option year for 2026, and was signed using Targeted Allocation Money.

Not to be outdone, Austin FC signed Gyasi Zardes. Like Osorio, Zardes joins Austin on a three-year deal with an option for the 2026 season, bringing his one-year stay with the Colorado Rapids to an end.

Finally, Minnesota United claimed defender Doneil Henry off waivers. Henry is a Canadian international but did not represent the side in Qatar due to injury, and will provide added strength across the Loons’ back line.

Gio Reyna’s Reply

The Gio-gate situation continued to spin on Monday, as Reyna issued a statement on his Instagram. He disparaged reports of him almost being sent home from the World Cup, and expressed disappointment that details of what happened during the team’s time in Qatar were not kept within the team. The most interesting nugget of information is that he was told before the World Cup began that his role would be a limited one, which resulted in his behavior. Regardless of what you believe and what side you land on, there’s a good chance this story isn’t dead quite yet.

FOX Reportedly Gets MLS TV Rights

FOX Sports has reportedly landed the TV rights for Major League Soccer, starting with the upcoming 2023 season. ESPN will reportedly no longer broadcast games, with FOX paying $7 million for the right to exclusively do so. While Apple’s deal with MLS means that the company owns exclusive streaming rights to the league, it had been reported that some games will still be broadcast on television, although it was unclear which network(s) would be doing so. That question seems to have been answered, although it will be interesting to see how many games are broadcast and what sort of resources the network devotes to doing so.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!