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Lion Links: 2/22/22

Orlando City releases two draft picks, a preview of the Lions’ back line, USMNT youth roundup, and more.

New York City FC v Orlando City SC: Round One - MLS Cup Playoffs Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. There’s less than a week to go until the start of the new Major League Soccer season, but the days feel like they’re moving slower than ever as creep towards the home opener. As usual, there’s lots of interesting things to discuss, so let’s jump in.

Orlando City Releases Two Draft Picks

Austin David reported yesterday that Orlando City released Nick Taylor and Nathan Dossantos and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds officially announced the signing of Dossantos.

The pair were two of Orlando City’s three picks in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, leaving Jack Lynn as the only one of the three selections to be signed by the club. Best of luck to both in their careers!

Previewing the Lions’ Back Line

With the 2022 MLS season breathing right down our necks, it’s a good time to take stock of the state of the team. Orlando City broadcaster Evan Weston got things started with the defenders. The first-choice back four should remain unchanged from last year with Antonio Carlos and Robin Jansson anchoring the center back positions, flanked by Joao Moutinho and Ruan on the left and right, respectively. There’s tons of depth behind Ruan with Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday and Alex Freeman all occupying that position. Rodrigo Schlegel is the first center back off the bench and would probably start on some teams, with Homegrown center back Thomas Williams slotting in behind him. With that being said, there isn’t any MLS-proven depth behind Schlegel, and while Kyle Smith spent time deputizing at left back last year, there is no natural backup to Moutinho, so depth could prove to be an issue.

USMNT Youth Roundup

There were plenty of young United States Men’s National Team players in action over the weekend, and our friends over at Stars and Stripes FC have your roundup of how they fared. Topping the list is Brenden Aaronson, who had an assist against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League last week, and then scored a goal in the Austrian league on Sunday. Josh Sargent had an assist against Liverpool, Konrad de la Fuente did a little bit of everything in Marseille’s UEFA Conference League win against Qarabag, and Jonathan Gomez made his debut for Real Sociedad B.

Xavi Praises Sergino Dest

Not all that long ago, Sergino Dest was being linked with a move away from Barcelona. That talk seems to have been put on the back burner for now, especially after Barca boss Xavi had good things to say about the fullback after a great performance against Valencia.

“Let’s take Sergino as an example. When we got here, he wasn’t doing so well, but now he is doing great. I thought he was spectacularly good , both with the ball and without it. I am really happy with his progress.”

Dest has started three of Barca’s last four league games while Dani Alves serves a two-game red card suspension, and he’s come on strong. If Barcelona can advance past Napoli to the next round of the Europa League, Dest will feature prominently in their plans as Alves is not registered to play in the competition.

Free Kicks
  • Great news for Gio Reyna as the injury that forced him off over the weekend isn’t as bad as originally feared, and he could be back in training in two weeks.
  • The team hashtags for the upcoming MLS season have been released.

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