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Lion Links: 6/1/22

Alexandre Pato shares insights on career, USMNT takes on Morocco tonight, latest transfer rumors regarding USMNT players, and more.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida as we’ve now hit the summer. I was busy catching up with friends from Wisconsin over the holiday weekend and hopefully you got a chance to spend the long weekend with friends and/or family. Before we get started, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride midfielder Angharad James. We’ve got lots to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Pato Shares Insights on Life and Soccer Career

Orlando City forward Alexandre Pato shared a very personal account of his life and career in an article in The Players Tribune. Pato gave his perspective on why so many people have asked about what happened to him, why he had so many injuries, or why he didn’t win the Ballon d’Or. Pato explained that when he left home at age 11 he was chasing a dream and discussed being alone and how that was a challenge for him at a young age. Pato also gave insight on his trial with Internacional and his time with AC Milan. After he injured his knee last year with Orlando City, instead of breaking down, Pato showed resolve and focused on coming back stronger. Looking back at his soccer journey, Pato said he’s at peace and that he is very happy with how everything panned out. It’s a fascinating read.

USMNT Takes on Morocco Tonight

The U.S. men’s national team will take on Morocco tonight at TQL Stadium for an international friendly. This match will help the USMNT prepare for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League group stage match-ups next week. USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter will be deciding who will make the final roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year. Morocco also qualified for the World Cup and is ranked 24th in the FIFA rankings. One important thing to watch for in tonight’s match is who Berhalter pairs on the back line and whether they can stay in sync throughout the match. Another area to watch is at striker and who will carry the offense for the USMNT as the Concacaf Nations League and World Cup approach. The last thing to keep an eye on is whether the midfield can control the match. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and you can watch the game on ESPN 2.

Latest Transfer Rumors for USMNT Players

There has been plenty of speculation on where Weston McKennie and Chris Richards might end up before the European leagues return to action later this summer. After injuries cost McKennie most of the 2021-2022 Serie A season with Juventus, the midfielder could be on the move as he has reportedly been linked to Tottenham Hotspur. McKennie is also in camp with the USMNT and will be looking to regain his fitness. If he does move on to another club in Europe, it certainly won’t be cheap for his new club.

McKennie may not be the only USMNT player on a potential move to the Premier League as Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards, who was on loan with Hoffenheim, has been linked to a move to Crystal Palace. Patrick Vieira will be looking to strengthen a Crystal Palace back line that allowed the seventh-fewest goals in the English Premier League this past season and finished 12th in the table.

Charlotte FC Fires Manager Miguel Ángel Ramírez

In a move that stunned the MLS world Tuesday, Charlotte FC announced that Head Coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez will not continue coaching the expansion side. The club has named Assistant Coach Christian Lattanzio as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2022 MLS season. Charlotte FC is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 16 points after 14 matches. The club’s owner, David Tepper, said it was a difficult decision but felt it was best for the club at this time to move on from Ramírez. The club didn’t share much detail at its press conference on why the team decided to part ways with the former head coach. There had been speculation that Ramírez had reportedly lost the locker room or that he had relationship issues with the front office, but Sporting Director Zoran Krneta has denied those rumors. Charlotte FC’s next match is on June 11 when the MLS newcomers host the New York Red Bulls.

Free Kicks

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