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Lion Links: 4/19/22

Facundo Torres makes Team of the Week, Ercan Kara up for Goal of the Week, Matias Almeyda fired by San Jose, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was a great weekend for Orlando City after the team got yet another result on the road. Attention now turns to the U.S. Open Cup and a date with an old enemy when the Tampa Bay Rowdies come to Exploria Stadium tomorrow. There’s lots of good stuff to talk about today, so let’s get into it.

Facundo Torres in Team of the Week

Facundo Torres has been named to the starting lineup of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week. Orlando City’s Uruguayan winger had a great performance in the Lions’ 2-0 road win over the Columbus Crew, notching an assist on each of OCSC’s goals. His involvement in the second goal was particularly impressive, as he played the final pass to cap off an absolutely spectacular move that put the game away for the good guys. Torres continues to look more and more comfortable with each passing week, and now has one goal and four assists in seven games since joining Orlando City.

Torres was also nominated for the Player of the Week, but ultimately lost out to Taty Catellanos after the NYCFC player banged in four goals at home against Real Salt Lake. Torres did capture the fan vote, however.

Ercan Kara Up for Goal of the Week

Ercan Kara has been nominated for the Goal of the Week. The Austrian fired in the second of Orlando’s goals against Chicago, and the gorgeous buildup play to the spinning strike means he finds himself in contention for the weekly honor. It’s perhaps unfortunate that you can’t nominate four players for one goal but regardless, the Kara tally is a worthy entry. Like Torres, Kara has also begun to heat up in recent weeks. The DP striker has scored in two games straight and now has two goals and two assists in eight games.

San Jose Fires Matias Almeyda

In a piece of news that has been all but a certainty over the last several days, the San Jose Earthquakes have officially fired head coach Matias Almeyda. The Argentinian took the job in October of 2018 and was at the helm for 98 matches, finishing with a record of 31-42-25. San Jose is the only team in MLS not to win a game in the 2022 season, and between inconsistent performances, questionable tactics, and a winning percentage of .444, that simply wasn’t good enough, Quakes ownership decided to finally call it quits. Alex Covelo, who has coached Earthquakes II in MLS NEXT Pro will step in as interim head coach while the club immediately starts the search for its next full-time hire.

Derby County Relegated

It was always going to be a long shot to stay in the EFL Championship, but a loss yesterday, combined with Reading drawing Swansea City 4-4, means that Wayne Rooney’s Derby County has officially been relegated. Derby’s odds of staying in the second division looked almost impossible after the club had 21 points deducted in November of 2021 due to entering administration. For awhile though, it looked as if Rooney and Derby might pull off the unthinkable, and relegation was only confirmed with three matches to go in the season — an impressive feat in and of itself. Ultimately, it was too much to overcome but the effort from everyone involved with the club should be lauded, and Rooney is sure to have a fair share of managerial suitors once the season ends.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City rose to the eighth spot in ESPN.com’s MLS Power Rankings.
  • The United States Women’s National Team might be playing Colombia in its final two matches before the games start mattering this summer.

That does it for me today. Vamos Orlando!