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Lion Links: 2/9/22

Ruan could be the x-factor for OCSC, MLS transfer news, Michele Kang takes over the Washington Spirit as owner, and more.

Orlando City SC v New England Revolution Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. How is everyone doing so far? We just have a few more weeks to go before the 2022 MLS season kicks off. We’ve got plenty to cover so let’s get to today’s links.

Could Ruan Be Orlando’s X-Factor?

Every team needs a player to make an impact throughout the season and MLSsoccer.com’s Joseph Lowery detailed every Eastern Conference team’s player who could be “Mr. Reliable” in the 2022 MLS season. For Orlando City, defender Ruan was chosen. Ruan played in 24 matches last season, scoring two goals and adding four assists for the Lions and will look to be a key threat for Oscar Pareja for the upcoming season. Other notable mentions were Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, the Columbus Crew’s Darlington Nagbe, and D.C. United’s Julian Gressel.

MLS Transfer Updates

D.C. United announced the signing of forward Michael Estrada from Toluca on a loan with an option to buy. Estrada had 17 goals and five assist for Toluca in 66 appearances while also being a regular starter for the Ecuador national team. The purchase option is reportedly set at $5 million dollars.

Another move that looks to be official soon is Xherdan Shaqiri joining Chicago Fire FC. Olympique Lyon and the Chicago Fire FC have already reached an agreement on Shaqiri transfer at $7.5 million and he has been in the states to complete his medical and is reportedly expected to be announced by the club later this week. Meanwhile Jozy Altidore and Toronto FC continue to work on a buyout agreement. Once it is agreed, Altidore is reportedly set to join the New England Revolution. Finally, former Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco has return to Italy and has signed a 6 month deal with Sampdoria.

Y. Michele Kang Takes Over as Washington Spirit Owner

After months of wondering how this ownership battle will end in our nation’s capital, the Washington Spirit announced that Y. Michele Kang will acquire the interests of outgoing majority owner Steve Baldwin and former majority owner Bill Lynch to take over the club. The players supported Kang throughout this process and demanded the previous owner sell the club to her. Kang was able to get several non-voting, non-equity investors in the Spirit to convert their promissory notes to become full shareholders, forming a new majority ownership group. The NWSL approved the conversion of those investments last month, which left Washington Soccer Properties to decide who would serve as the Spirit’s controlling owner. Now that the ownership situation is resolved, the Spirit can now focus on the upcoming Challenge Cup and defending their NWSL title for the 2022 NWSL season.

European Results

Yesterday in the Premier League, Paul Pogba scored his first premier league goal in over a year for Manchester United. However United was held to a 1-1 draw on the road at Turf Moor against last place Burnley. Manchester United dropped to fifth place in the Premier League. Frank Lampard’s league coaching debut did not go well for Everton as it lost 3-1 on the road to Newcastle United and the Toffees now sit just one point above the relegation zone. West Ham United defeated Watford 1-0 and moved into the top four.

In Italy, Jose Mourinho made his return as an opposing coach to the San Siro to face his former club, Inter Milan, in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals. Despite receiving a hero’s welcome from the fans, Inter Milan dominated this match with goals from Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez to shut out AS Roma 2-0.

Free Kicks
  • The production for hit Apple TV series Ted Lasso has hit a snag and looks like we’ll have to wait a few more months before we get to watch season 3.
  • Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech has reportedly quit the Moroccan national team after fallout with coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
  • Barcelona Chief Executive Officer Ferran Reverter has resigned after reportedly having disagreements with President Joan Laporta over club’s sponsorship deal with Spotify.
  • Former Belgium and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele plans to retire from the game after he finishes his contract with Chinese Super League club Guangzhou City.

That will do it for me, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.