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Lion Links: 5/3/22

Ruan’s performance recognized, Chris Mueller nears Chicago Fire move, UEFA announces more sanctions on Russian teams, and more.

MLS: Charlotte FC at Orlando City SC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The soccer continues to come thick and fast with the UEFA Champions League semifinals continuing tomorrow and the Concacaf Champions League final on Wednesday. There’s a whole hell of a lot of interesting stuff to cover today, so let’s jump right in.

Ruan’s Performance Recognized

Ruan had an excellent game in Orlando City’s 2-1 win over Charlotte FC on Saturday night. The right back scored Orlando’s first goal of the night and created the second with a pitch-length run and assist for Facundo Torres. Our own Marcus Mitchell named him Man of the Match with a grade of 7.5 out of 10, and recognition for his performance didn’t stop there. The right back was named to the starting lineup of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week, and he was also nominated for the MLS Player of the Week, although that went to former Lion Kamal Miller. Congratulations to Ruan, and keep up the good work!

Chris Mueller Reportedly Joining Chicago Fire

Paul Tenorio of The Athletic reported that former Orlando City winger Chris Mueller will be joining the Chicago Fire. The deal will be a free transfer from Hibernian, which recently fired manager Shaun Maloney. Per Tenorio, the Lions will get General Allocation Money and some form of other assets and compensation in exchange for Mueller’s MLS rights. With a verbal agreement already in place, he could be available to play for the Fire as early as this weekend. It’s a move that will likely sting for Orlando City fans, especially since the club could use help at winger after the injury to Gaston Gonzalez. It’s possible that OCSC has designs on using the GAM to sign a winger already within MLS, but that will need to happen quickly with the transfer window closing on Wednesday.

UEFA Further Sanctions Russian Teams

UEFA has announced further sanctions against Russian club and national teams in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian women’s national team has been barred from competing in this summer’s European Championship, and Russian club teams will be banned from UEFA competitions next season. Additionally, Russia’s bid to host either Euro 2028 or Euro 2032 will no longer be considered. With Russia’s removal from Euro 2022, Portugal will go to the tournament instead, as they were the team that Russia beat to make the tournament. Finally, the Russian women’s team will not take part in qualification for the 2023 World Cup while the men’s team has been banned from the 2022-23 Nations League.

Cade Cowell Obtaining Mexican Citizenship

The dual national race is heating up for the United States Men’s National Team and its fans. San Jose Earthquakes attacker Cade Cowell is in the process of obtaining Mexican citizenship, along with his younger brother Chance. The duo have an eye on possibly representing Mexico and are eligible through their maternal grandfather. Cade, 18, is in his fourth season with San Jose and made his first senior USMNT appearance last December in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chance is 13, and is a youth player for the Sacramento Republic. The younger Cowell is currently in training camp with Mexico’s U-15 team.

Free Kicks

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