Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s a match weekend! The long, dark off-season is over and Major League Soccer games resume today. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to get your first look at this year’s Orlando City team under competitive match conditions.
Before we jump into the news of the day, let’s all wish Orlando Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod a happy birthday.
Gonzalez is Coming
As the Little River Band once sang, “Hang on, help is on its way.”
Paul Tenorio of The Athletic confirmed reports from a month ago that Unión Santa Fe winger Gastón González will be joining Orlando City in May. While the deal isn’t completed yet, once Paul starts reporting something, you can feel pretty secure with that news.
Sources confirm @CLMerlo reporting from last month that Orlando City and Unión de Santa Fe have agreed terms for Gastón González. It is not 100% finished, still some paperwork and signatures to be done, but the expectation is for the 20-year-old to join Orlando in May. pic.twitter.com/LbjfuALopj— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) February 25, 2022
The 20-year-old Argentinian is expected to sign under the MLS U22 Initiative and will provide some additional coverage on the wing in the wake of the losses of Nani and Chris Mueller this past off-season. Tenorio further reported that a source of his has confirmed that Orlando City has the flexibility to buy down Mauricio Pereyra and add another DP later in the year. This is something I’ve been discussing on The Mane Land PawedCast this year and have been assuming since Pereyra was re-signed.
On an unrelated topic, I am concerned that Paul has hit his head or has been oxygen deprived recently, as he has picked Orlando City to win MLS Cup in 2022 on his Allocation Disorder podcast. Get well soon, Paul.
Magic Mo Named Orlando City’s 2022 Captain
Speaking of Pereyra, the Uruguayan midfielder will follow such standout players as Kaká and Nani as Orlando City captain. The club dropped the news of Pereyra’s captainship on Friday.
Pereyra has worn the armband on occasion in the past, so it’s not a huge surprise to find out he’s earned the primary captain honor for the upcoming season. Congratulations to Magic Mo. I can’t wait to see how many sick passes he threads through the defense this year.
Orlando Pride Blank South Florida in Preseason Action
New Pride forward Darian Jenkins scored two goals, while non-roster invitee Thais Reiss and Erika Tymrak also added goals to lead the Orlando Pride to a 4-0 win over the University of South Florida in a preseason scrimmage on Friday in Tampa.
The next Pride preseason match is open to the public, as Orlando hosts the Kansas City Current at Exploria Stadium this Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Here are some photos of Friday’s match the USF soccer Twitter account was kind enough to share:
Orlando City Names Broadcast Team, Schedule for 2022
The Lions will remain on FOX 35 Plus and the LionNation application for local broadcasts in 2022. The club dropped that news Friday, along with the full broadcast team for this season. Returning to call Orlando City’s matches are play-by-play broadcaster Evan Weston, color analyst Miguel Gallardo, and sideline reporter Gabrielle Amado. FOX 35 Plus will air 28 of Orlando’s 34 regular-season matches. If you’re a cord cutter in the Orlando area, I highly recommend getting an antenna for local games. They’re cheap and work great. I live in Sanford and haven’t had any issues.
Radio coverage for Lions games will again be provided in both English and Spanish. English coverage will again be split between FM 96.9 The Game and Real Radio 104.1 FM with Scott Harris on the call and Paul Shaw providing commentary. The Spanish flagship will once again be Acción 97.9 FM/810 AM with Sergio Ruiz and Israel Heredia.
- ESPNFC published its keys to success for every MLS team in 2022. It’s no surprise that Orlando City’s key is how well Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara replace Nani and Daryl Dike, respectively.
- The Lions have been given a 3% chance of winning MLS Cup and a 57% chance of making the playoffs by FiveThirtyEight. [/insert “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!” meme here]
- Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony is repping Orlando City with his Sunshine Kit.
- The Champions League final will take place in Paris rather than Saint Petersburg in light of the recent Russian attack on Ukraine.
That’s all I have for you today. Enjoy your Saturday and get everything you need today for your tailgating needs tomorrow. You won’t want to be scrambling with an early kickoff.