How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope you all had a nice Cinco de Mayo as we get ready for a weekend filled with soccer. I’m definitely looking forward to sleeping in over the next few days. Temperatures are rising here in Florida so make sure to stay hydrated if you’ll be out and about. But enough about the weather, let’s get to the links!
Orlando City Acquires Atlanta United Winger
The Lions added winger Jake Mulraney in exchange for $100,000 in 2022 General Allocation Money (GAM) and $100,000 in 2023 GAM. Another $75,000 in 2023 GAM could head Atlanta’s way if performance-based metrics are met. The 26-year-old has appeared in seven games for Atlanta this season and scored one goal, which was helped by a deflection to defeat Charlotte FC late in stoppage time on March 13. The Irishman gives the Lions needed depth at the position this year, especially after an injury to Silvester van der Water against Charlotte.
Orlando City Signs Gaston Gonzalez
Argentine winger Gaston Gonzalez was signed by Orlando City as a U22 Initiative player on a three-year contract, with options for the 2025, 2026, and 2027 seasons. The deal was reported throughout the year but was restructured after Gonzalez sustained an ACL injury in his final game for Unión de Santa Fe on April 19. He was placed on Orlando’s season-ending injury list and will head to Orlando following surgery. The 20-year-old has made 58 appearances across all competitions for Unión de Santa Fe, recording eight goals and seven assists. Hopefully he has a smooth recovery so that he can make an impact for Orlando next season and for years to come.
Chris Mueller Officially Joins the Chicago Fire
It’s official, former Lion Chris Mueller now plays for the Chicago Fire. The compensation package reported by The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio was accurate as Orlando City received $250,000 in 2022 GAM, $250,000 in 2023 GAM, a first-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, and the discovery rights to an unnamed player. Orlando could also receive an additional $150,000 in GAM if performance-based metrics are reached. The 25-year-old will be available for the Fire this Saturday against Atlanta.
Javier Otero Named Goalkeeper of the Month
Orlando City B goalkeeper Javier Otero was named MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Month for the first six weeks of the league’s inaugural season. Otero has two clean sheets and leads the league with 30 saves as he delivers time and time again for OCB. The 19-year-old has been in two shootouts so far this year, making a total of three saves to help OCB win an additional point in both. OCB’s next match will be on May 16 against Philadelphia Union II at Subaru Park.
Europa League Final Set
After losing the first leg, Rangers came out swinging against RB Leipzig with two goals in the first 25 minutes to take the lead on aggregate. Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku scored in the second half, but John Lundstrum scored in the 80th minute to lift Rangers to the Europa League final. In the other semifinal, a red card to Aaron Cresswell in the 29th minute and a goal by Eintracht Frankfurt in the 26th minute sealed West Ham’s fate as it fell 1-0. Frankfurt will take on Rangers in the final on May 18 in Sevilla.
In the Europa Conference League, Roma won 1-0 against Leicester City thanks to a goal from Tammy Abraham to reach the final. Jose Mourinho’s squad will take on Feyenoord, which held on for a scoreless draw in the second leg in France to advance past Marseille. The Europe Conference League final between Roma and Feyenoord will be on May 25 in Albania.
- The Lions are hard at work to prepare for their road match against CF Montreal.
- Indiana Vassilev will return to Inter Miami on loan from Aston Villa. The 21-year-old made seven starts for Miami in 2021, scoring three times.
- Houston Dynamo forward Sebastian Ferreira won MLS Goal of the Week for his strike from midfield to beat Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
- Former Lion Stefano Pinho was nominated for USL Championship Player of the Month after scoring three goals and adding two assists in five appearances for Indy Eleven.
- Former Orlando Pride players Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger discussed how they’re adjusting to life up north with NJ/NY Gotham FC and their future with the USWNT.
- NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman spoke about the league’s opening weekend and plans for expansion as interest in women’s soccer grows.
- The U.S. U-20 Women’s Youth National Team was placed in a group with the Netherlands, Japan, and Ghana for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica this August.
- Chile’s soccer federation filed a claim that Ecuador player Byron Castillo is Colombian and should have been ineligible to play for Ecuador in World Cup qualifiers. Ecuador directly qualified for the World Cup, but that may change if matches in which Castillo played are forfeited.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic detailed his fear of what life will be like once he retires from playing.
- FIFA received three million ticket requests for the World Cup final on Dec. 18 in Qatar. A total of 1.4 million ticket requests were made for the group stage match between the United States and England.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a nice Friday and rest of your weekend!