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Lion Links: 3/22/22

Pedro Gallese makes TotW bench, no draws in MLS NEXT Pro, Brenden Aaronson out with knee injury, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was a good weekend for Orlando soccer fans as Orlando City and the Orlando Pride combined to take four points out of the six available between them. There’s a jam packed week of soccer ahead of us, with the Pride and Orlando City B playing on Saturday, and Orlando City and the United States Men’s National Team playing on Sunday. That means there’s plenty to talk about today, so let’s get to those links.

Gallese Makes TotW Bench

Pedro Gallese has been named to the bench in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week. El Pulpo was excellent in Orlando City’s 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy last weekend. The goalkeeper only made three saves but each one of them was vital to Orlando City keeping its narrow lead over the host team. His best of the day was a very good shot from Chicharito that Gallese saw late after it came through traffic. Gallese now has two clean sheets to his name through two games, and hopefully there’s plenty more to come.

No Draws in MLS NEXT Pro

MLS NEXT Pro will have an interesting wrinkle in its first season of play, as there will be no draws, and matches will go straight to a penalty shootout if tied at the end of regulation. Teams that win during regulation will be awarded three points, while if tied at the end of regulation, each team will receive one point. The winner of the penalty shootout will then receive an additional point. The league is intended to serve as a bridge between MLS academies and the first team, and will also serve as a testing ground for rules and concepts that could one day be deployed in MLS itself. The league has its first game on Friday, when St. Louis City2 takes on Rochester New York FC.

Aaronson Out With MCL Injury

While it was reasonable to conclude after he was excluded from Red Bull Salzburg’s lineup at the last minute on Sunday, it has now been confirmed that Brenden Aaronson will not play for the United States Men’s National Team in the upcoming World Cup qualifying window.

Taylor Twellman reported that he suffered an injury to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in one of his knees. Early yesterday there was some hope that Aaronson would still travel to be with the team and potentially feature, but the those chances have now been squashed, and the midfielder is set to miss two to four weeks of time. The MCL is a ligament located on the inside part of the knee and is important for providing structure and stability to the knee complex as a whole. At the time of writing, no replacement has been named on the roster.

Centricus Joins Chelsea Bidding Race

Another name has been added to the mix of suitors lining up for their chance to buy Chelsea FC. Centricus, a global investment firm based in London, confirmed yesterday that it too has joined the hunt to buy the team. It’s anticipated that preferred bidders will be zeroed in on in the coming days after the deadline for offers passed last Friday. Centricus CEO Garth Richie and co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam hold season tickets at Stamford Bridge and they teamed up with Jonathan Lourie of Cheyne Capital and Bob Finch of Talis Capital to submit a more attractive bid. There are now a number of heavy hitting groups and individuals interested in the sale, and it’ll be interesting to watch how it unfolds over the next several weeks.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City rose one place to 18th in ESPN.com’s MLS power rankings.
  • Don’t forget that Orlando City B kicks off its season this Saturday!

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