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Lion Links: 12/6/22

Orlando City re-signs Kyle Smith, Orlando Pride re-sign Carrie Lawrence, how Sebas Mendez’s season finished, and more.

SOCCER: AUG 31 MLS - Seattle Sounders at Orlando City Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, everyone. I’ve now been sick for just over a week and I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say morale was beginning to dip slightly. Fortunately, I’ve not only had the World Cup to distract me, but everything else going on in the soccer world as well. Since there’s quite a lot going on, let’s get into today’s links.

Orlando City Re-Signs Defender Kyle Smith

Orlando City has signed Kyle Smith to a new contract that will keep him at the club through the 2023 season, and includes an option year for 2024. Smith has made 109 appearances across all competitions in his first four years as a Lion, with 68 of those coming as starts, and has nabbed three assists and three goals in that time, two of which were game-winners during the 2022 season. While he hasn’t been one of the first-choice fullbacks, he has ably deputized at both left back and right back, as well as center back during his time with OCSC, and has come to be known as a steady and reliable presence on the back line. Welcome back, Kyle!

Orlando Pride Re-Sign Carrie Lawrence

The Orlando Pride have announced the re-signing of defender Carrie Lawrence on a two-year deal. Lawrence had been one of several Pride players out of contract at the end of the season, but her new contract will now keep her in Orlando until the end of the 2024 season. The defender was one of the bright spots on a Pride back line that had its struggles in 2022, so it’s good to have her locked down for the next couple years. Lawrence is also from Orlando and played three of her four years of college soccer at UCF, and it’s always nice to keep local players at home. The roster rebuild will only pick up speed from here, and we’ll bring you all the updates as they roll in.

Following Up on Sebas Mendez’s Season

After losing his place to Cesar Araujo, Sebas Mendez became surplus to requirements at Orlando City and was traded to LAFC, where he went on to win the MLS Cup. He didn’t play a ton in Los Angeles, only logging 225 minutes across all competitions with one start, and it’ll be interesting to see what he decides to do next as he’s a free agent. Interestingly, if he doesn’t re-sign in LA, then the club won’t owe Orlando $225,000 in Allocation Money in 2023 and $225,000 more in 2024, which had been agreed upon as part of the terms of the trade. That will be something to keep an eye on, as the midfielder staying with LAFC vs. walking away is the difference between two mini paydays for the Lions.

World Cup Roundup

The established order came back to the forefront in Monday’s World Cup Round of 16 games. Japan was dangerous and inventive for much of the Samurai Blue’s match against Croatia, but things were all level at 1-1 after 120 minutes of open play. Croatia’s experience showed through in the penalty shootout though, as the Japanese saw three penalties saved to bring their tournament to a close.

In the afternoon game, Brazil started fast and never looked back, bagging four goals before 40 minutes had been played before going on to win 4-1. The scoreline could have been worse at halftime too, and it took a couple very good saves from Seung-Gyu Kim to keep things from getting worse before the break. Brazil and Croatia join Argentina, the Netherlands, England, and France in the quarterfinals.

Free Kicks
  • Former Orlando Pride goalkeeper Lainey Burdett has joined Vittsjo GIK in the Swedish top flight.
  • The Portland Timbers have broken the club’s transfer record to sign Brazilian midfielder Evander from FC Midtjylland as a Designated Player.
  • Tom Bogert has reported that FC Charlotte has a verbal agreement with Racing Club to sign forward Enzo Capetti. An official deal has not yet been inked with the 26-year-old, but it sounds like a deal is only a matter of time.
  • Sebastian Ibeagha has joined FC Dallas from LAFC, further strengthening a Dallas team that will be looking to improve on a season that ended in the conference semifinals.
  • The San Diego Wave have signed midfielder Danielle Colaprico on a two-year contract.
  • Finally, a move that was close to completion when we discussed it Monday morning is now completed, as Ismael Kone has joined Watford from CF Montreal in a club record deal for the Canadian team.

That’s all for me today, y’all stay safe out there.