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Lion Links: 6/28/22

Gaston Gonzalez’s first Orlando interview, Pedro Gallese makes Team of the Week bench, Alan Franco leaves Charlotte FC, and more.

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Friday’s game didn’t go the way anyone was hoping, but fortunately there’s an opportunity for redemption right around the corner with tomorrow’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal. There’s plenty to discuss today, so let’s get after it.

Gaston Gonzalez’s First Orlando Interview

While we won’t be seeing him on the field anytime soon, spring signing Gaston Gonzalez has conducted his first interview since arriving in Orlando player. He told Gabrielle Amado that while the move stateside will be a challenge, having only lived and played in Argentina up to this point, he’s very excited and happy in his new surroundings. He also said that he’s begun rehabilitating from surgery to fix the ACL tear that will keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the year, and that he’s even recovering a little quicker than expected. All in all, lots of great stuff to hear from a promising young signing who just celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday.

Pedro Gallese’s Efforts in Cincinnati Recognized

Pedro Gallese put in a spectacular shift during Friday night’s loss to FC Cincinnati. El Pulpo made eight saves and was a massive reason that the final scoreline was so close. He stonewalled Nick Hagglund on two separate occasions and the goal he conceded was not squarely on his shoulders. He was also assured with his passing and distribution, and his performance earned a Man of the Match nod from our own Marcus Mitchell in his player grades piece. His valiant play earned him a spot on the bench in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Week, and had Orlando managed a result on the road, he might well have made the starting XI. Here’s to Gallese keeping up the good work.

Alan Franco Departs Charlotte FC

A piece of news that was rumored over the last several days has become official, as Charlotte FC announced that midfielder Alan Franco has joined Atlético Talleres in Argentina for the rest of the season on a loan deal. Franco was originally on loan with Charlotte from Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro for the duration of the season, but it seems that loan will be shifted to Talleres. Franco is an Ecuadoran international but had only appeared in 10 of the 17 MLS games that Charlotte has played, starting nine of those. With the World Cup on the horizon, it seems he has gone to Brazil in search of more consistent playing time to try to make the plane to Qatar.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

The transfer carousel continues to spin in earnest and there are several big pieces of news and a few rumors to cover. First, Fernandinho has returned to Athletico Paranaense, the Brazilian club where he first started his career before becoming a star for Manchester City. Elsewhere, although not quite a transfer, it has been announced that Petr Cech will leave his role as technical and performance advisor with Chelsea FC at the end of June. Dipping into the realm of rumor, Manchester United has reportedly received a bid for Andreas Pereira from Fulham, and also anticipates Dean Henderson to soon finalize a loan move to Nottingham Forest. Finally, Chelsea is reportedly interested in signing Inter Milan center back Milan Skriniar, and may also be close to submitting a bid to Manchester City for Raheem Sterling.

Free Kicks
  • In a surprisingly sensible move, Orlando only slipped one place to 12th in ESPN.com’s latest MLS power rankings.
  • Preparations are continuing for this weekend’s Daytona Soccerfest, where the Pride will “host” Racing Louisville.
  • Don’t forget that the United States Women’s National Team square off against Colombia again tonight in Utah.

That does it for me today. If you haven’t bought tickets to tomorrow’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, I don’t know what you’re waiting on, but you’d better hop to it. Vamos Orlando!