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Lion Links: 12/22/22

Ruan traded to D.C. United, Orlando City drafts two forwards and two defenders, Martin Ojeda linked with Orlando, Marta re-signs with the Orlando Pride, and more.

Sacramento Republic FC v Orlando City SC Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been a busy week for Orlando City and a busy week for me as well as I try to knock out all of the shopping I have left. I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend’s festivities, so that I can kick back, enjoy some sugar, and relax. But for now, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world!

Ruan Traded to D.C. United

Before the 2023 MLS SuperDraft took place, Orlando City traded right back Ruan to D.C. United in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. It was a surprising move, considering Ruan has held down the starting job at right back for the Lions since joining the team in 2019. Although his crossing has been lackluster, his speed was one of Orlando’s best weapons when attacking and this will likely change how the Lions hunt for goals in the future. He recorded four goals and 15 assists across four seasons with the Lions and now joins a D.C. United side coached by Wayne Rooney. Personally, I think this was a good move, as Orlando has Homegrown Players Mikey Halliday and Alex Freeman waiting in the wings behind Kyle Smith. However, I will miss the energy and personality Ruan brought to the team, especially considering Junior Urso won’t be in Orlando next year either.

Orlando City Drafts Two Forwards, Two Defenders

As a result of the aforementioned trade, the Lions had three picks in the first round of this year’s draft. With the second overall pick, Orlando chose forward Shakur Mohammed, one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. While Ruan is a hefty price to pay, and Mohamed will require an international spot, the Duke forward is a Generation Adidas player and has enough talent and versatility to make an impact sooner rather than later for the first team. He’s also already given his greetings to Orlando fans and I can’t wait to see what he can do in purple.

Orlando continued to bolster its attack a few picks later, choosing Creighton forward Duncan McGuire with the sixth overall pick. This was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of depth at fullback, but McGuire scored 23 goals during an impressive campaign this past season that included a trip to the College Cup.

The Lions then addressed their back line with the 17th overall pick, selecting defender Abdi Salim out of Syracuse. He’s 6-foot-1, right-footed, and reportedly capable of playing at fullback or center back. He’s apparently also ready to enjoy some warmer weather in Orlando.

A busy draft day for the Lions ended in the second round when they chose German center back Luis Grassow. He has spent the past four seasons with Kentucky and may end up providing some relief to the defense depending on his development.

Reports Link Orlando City with Martin Ojeda

Multiple reports surfaced indicating that Argentine winger Martin Ojeda is set to become Orlando City’s third Designated Player. In Argentina’s top flight, the 24-year-old has scored 23 goals in 56 games since 2020 for Godoy Cruz. If this move comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see how another young South American winger would fit into Orlando’s offense alongside Facundo Torres, Gaston Gonzalez, and Ivan Angulo. Ojeda’s inclusion would certainly elevate Orlando’s offense and give Head Coach Oscar Pareja plenty of options to work with throughout the season.

Marta Re-Signs With the Orlando Pride

The Orlando Pride re-signed Brazilian legend Marta to a two-year contract, keeping her in purple through 2024. The 36-year-old has been with the club since 2017 and missed the majority of the Pride’s 2022 campaign due to a knee injury in the NWSL Challenge Cup. She provides plenty of experience, leadership, and technical ability to help guide a young Pride team that is in the midst of a rebuild. It will be interesting to see how Marta performs over the next two years, as she still has the vision and skill on the ball to bring an opposing defense to its knees.

Orlando City Announces Community Events in February

Orlando City will host events in the lead-up to the Lions’ 2023 season opener, including the unveiling of the team’s new primary jersey on Feb. 18 at Exploria Stadium. More details on that reveal will be provided in the future and I’m sure we’ll get a few teases and clues before the event takes place. OCSC will also welcome students to Exploria Stadium on Feb. 4 for the Orlando Regional Spelling Bee, hosting the event for the second-straight year. Registration is also open for the eighth-annual edition of the Purple Pride 5K on Feb. 11, with a new course planned for the runners.

Trades Made for a Wild MLS Draft Day

Phones were ringing off the hook during the MLS SuperDraft as clubs made trades and fielded calls. St. Louis City traded away the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to Charlotte FC in exchange for the No. 20 pick and $400,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). Charlotte then selected Clemson defender Hamady Diop with the top pick to strengthen its back line. After the Colorado Rapids chose defender Moise Bombito with the third pick, the New England Revolution traded up to take midfielder Joshua Bolma with the fourth pick. The Vancouver Whitecaps then moved up in the draft order to select midfielder J.C. Ngando. St. Louis made its first draft pick in franchise history by trading for the ninth overall pick and selecting Owen O’Malley.

CF Montreal Hires Hernan Losada as Head Coach

Following the departure of Wilfried Nancy, CF Montreal has brought in Hernan Losada as the club’s next head coach. Losada was fired as D.C. United’s head coach early into this past season, lasting just 15 months as the helm. Known for his high-pressing style, Losada’s preferred formation of three in the back lines up with what Montreal used during a strong 2022 season. Montreal has undergone plenty of change this off-season, so only time will tell if Losada will be able to replicate that success.

Free Kicks
  • It looks like Lionel Messi isn’t headed to Miami anytime soon, which is pretty good news for Orlando and the other Eastern Conference teams.

That’s going to be all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!