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Lion Links: 5/18/22

Silvester van der Water could miss the rest of the season, Orlando Pride face the North Carolina Courage tonight, Orlando City academy teams make MLS NEXT playoffs, and more.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It’s finally feeling like spring up here in Chicago and I’ve been keeping myself busy at work as summer is nearly here. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B midfielder Favian Loyola!

Silvester van der Water May Miss Rest of the Season

Orlando City winger Silvester van der Water has been out since his injury in the Lions’ home match against Charlotte FC back on April 30. Van der Water reportedly could be out for the rest of the 2022 MLS season due to a fracture and muscle damage in his leg.

Although the recent addition of Jake Mulraney gives the Lions some reinforcements at the position, it will be interesting to see if the club makes moves in the summer transfer window for more depth.

The Pride Face the Courage Tonight

The Orlando Pride are on a two-match unbeaten streak and will look to extend it to three as they hit the road to take on the North Carolina Courage. The Pride played to a 2-2 draw in their last match this past Saturday against the Kansas City Current at Exploria Stadium. The last time the Pride went three straight games without a loss was last season from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.

The Courage’s match against NJ/NY Gotham FC last week was postponed and they have not played since defeating the Washington Spirit on May 7 to win the NWSL Challenge Cup. Courage midfielder Debinha was the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup MVP and scored in five consecutive matches in the tournament. The Pride last played the Courage in the NWSL Challenge Cup earlier this year, with the Courage winning both match-ups against the Pride during the group stage.

Orlando City Academy Teams Make MLS NEXT Playoffs

Orlando City’s U-15 and U-17 academy teams have qualified for the MLS NEXT playoffs after winning their groups in the MLS NEXT Flex.

The U-15 team went undefeated in its group, drawing against the Players Development Academy and winning against the Colorado Rapids and Atlanta United. The U-17 team also went undefeated, with a draw against BW Gottschee Academy and wins over Albion SC San Diego and Sockers FC. The playoffs will take place in Texas and last from June 25 to July 3. We wish both teams the best of luck.

MLS Salary Information Released

The MLS Players Association released its salary data for all players under an MLS contract. Forward Ercan Kara is the top earner for the Lions with a guaranteed compensation of $1.86 million. Mauricio Pereyra is the second-highest for Orlando at $1.34 million while Facundo Torres is third with $953,200. U22 Initiative midfielder Cesar Araujo, who joined this off-season and claimed a starting spot in Orlando’s crowded midfield, has a guaranteed compensation of $261,000.

The highest-paid player in the league is the Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri at $8.15 million. The LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was the second-highest earner at $6 million, with Inter Miami’s Gonzalo Higuain third at $5.79 million, Toronto FC’s Alejandro Pozuelo fourth at $4.69 million, and New England Revolution forward Jozy Altidore fifth at $4.26 million.

Free Kicks
  • The latest MLS power rankings have been released. The Lions moved up five spots to 10th after their 1-0 win against Toronto FC.
  • In CBSsports.com’s NWSL power rankings, the Pride moved up a spot to ninth after salvaging a draw against the Current.
  • Reports surfaced that Lionel Messi would acquire a 35% ownership stake with Inter Miami and join the club next summer. However, Inter Miami officials denied that Messi is set to join the club and his agent said the rumors are false and that Messi hasn’t decided on his future.
  • The U.S. Para Women’s National Team defeated Australia 4-2 to win the inaugural IFCPF World Cup.
  • Chicago Fire FC goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who is also eligible for the USMNT, was called up by Poland for UEFA Nations League matches in June.
  • PSG has reportedly given up on keeping Kylian Mbappe at the club as he is expected to announce his move to Real Madrid soon.
  • Liverpool rallied from a goal down to defeat Southampton 2-1. The result means the English Premier League title race between Liverpool and Manchester City will come down to this Sunday.
  • Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba made three saves in a penalty shootout to help his team advance past Sheffield United. Nottingham will face off against Huddersfield on May 29 at Wembley Stadium with promotion to the Premier League on the line.

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