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Lion Links: 2/15/22

Orlando City Media Day, USWNT World Cup qualifiers set, MLS transfer happenings, and more.

Orlando City SC v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. We are officially under two weeks until Orlando City kicks off its 2022 Major League Soccer season, and personally I’m more excited by the day. As usual, there’s lots to discuss today so let’s get straight into things.

Orlando City Media Day Highlights

Orlando City had its annual Media Day yesterday and there are some important nuggets to take from the day. First up, Ercan Kara said that he got back to training on Monday and he aims to be part of the season opener.

On a more concerning note, Luiz Muzzi said that Antonio Carlos is having visa issues, and while the team expected him to join up two weeks ago, the issues have persisted and there currently isn’t an answer. To go back to a brighter subject, Muzzi also said that Pedro Gallese is part of the team’s plans this year, and that a contract renewal for El Pulpo is in the works. Oscar Pareja also spoke about the team’s work on new tactics to try to take the team deeper in the playoffs, and Papi is optimistic that fans will be happy with what they see on Feb. 27.

USWNT World Cup Qualifiers Set

The United States Women’s National Team now knows what it will need to do in order to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the Olympics. For the first time, the Concacaf Women’s Championship will serve as the qualification tournament for both events, and it will take place from July 4-18 in Monterrey, Mexico. The top four finishers in the tournament will qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the winner will automatically qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The second- and third-place teams will compete in a playoff in September 2023 for the second and final spot in the Olympics. This will be the first time in almost a decade that the USWNT will have to qualify for a World Cup in a foreign country, after the last two qualification tournaments were both held in the United States.

MLS Transfer News

Two deals that were reported on over the weekend have been made official. The first one is Jozy Altidore’s move to the New England Revolution, and the terms of the move are...interesting. Jeffrey Carlisle reported that Toronto FC bought out Jozy’s contract, meaning that he joins the Revs as a free agent, and the Canadian club will pay part of his salary during the 2022 and 2023 season. In addition, the Revs will pay Altidore $5 million over the next three years. It seems like an odd choice for a team that didn’t lack in the firepower department last year, but there you go.

The second official transfer is confirmation of what we covered in yesterday’s Free Kicks, as the transfer of Jamiro Monteiro to the San Jose Earthquakes on a Designated Player deal has been made official. In exchange for Monteiro, the Philadelphia Union will receive $250,000 of 2022 General Allocation Money, a 2022 international roster slot, and up to $200,000 of performance-based GAM in 2023.

Brazil vs. Argentina Set for Replay

FIFA has determined that the Sept. 5 World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina will be replayed after it was abandoned due to reported COVID-19 breaches. The original match was called off by the referee after only seven minutes with the score tied at 0-0 after Brazilian health officials entered the field to remove four Argentinian players who had allegedly not complied with COVID-19 guidelines. Both federations were fined by FIFA and the four Argentinian players removed back in September, Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, have been given two-match bans for international games. The date and location of the game is yet to be decided.

MLS Teams Dropping New Kits

With the Major League Soccer season just a couple of weeks away, teams are starting to release their jerseys for the upcoming season. League newcomers Charlotte FC dropped another kit that it will wear during the 2022 season after already releasing its “Carolina Kit” back in December. The most recent release, dubbed the “Newly Minted Community Kit” is black with mint green lettering, trim, and accents. Staying closer to home, Orlando City’s new away jersey will be released this Friday at the City Art jam. The launch will feature a speed painting competition by local artists, who will duke it out to create depictions of the club we all love.

Free Kicks

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