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Lion Links: 7/29/22

Angharad James and Orlando Pride part ways, Americans abroad this weekend, David Ochoa reportedly set to join D.C. United, and more.

NWSL: Orlando Pride at Chicago Red Stars Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I’m honestly still riding the high from Orlando City’s win in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Wednesday. Even more soccer is ahead of us this weekend as the Lions and the Orlando Pride are both in action this Sunday. It should be a nice couple of days. Let’s get this Friday started with today’s links!

Orlando Pride and Angharad James Part Ways

Welsh midfielder Angharard James and the Orlando Pride have parted ways after the mutual termination of her contract. The decision doesn’t come as a surprise considering her fiancé, Amy Turner, had her contract bought out by the club in June and recently joined Tottenham Hotspur in England. James joined the Pride this past off-season as part of the trade that sent Alex Morgan to San Diego Wave FC. While her veteran leadership will be missed on a young Pride team, this decision will allow her to presumably head to Europe for the next step in her career.

Daryl Dike Headlines Americans Abroad This Weekend

Many clubs in Europe start their seasons this weekend, with plenty of Americans ready to make an impression ahead of the World Cup later this year. This weekend’s action is highlighted by a match-up between former Lion Daryl Dike and goalkeeper Zack Steffen as West Bromwich travels to take on Middlesbrough tomorrow in the English Football League Championship. Dike’s past season with West Brom was derailed by injuries, but he scored twice for the Baggies in the preseason. Like Steffen, Luton Town goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is on loan in the league for more minutes and will face Birmingham City on Sunday.

In Germany, Giovanni Reyna, Jordan Pefok, and Ricardo Pepi are just a few of the Americans who could be in action this weekend for the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Sam Vines, Mark McKenzie, and Bryan Reynolds could all feature in the opening weekend of Belgium’s Pro League. The Scottish Premiership also gets started this weekend, with Malik Tillman, James Sands, and Cameron Carter-Vickers as some of the other Americans to tune in for.

David Ochoa Reportedly Headed to D.C.

It’s been a busy summer transfer window for D.C. United and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down as the club is reportedly set to trade for Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa. The 21-year-old hasn’t made an appearance with RSL this season and could start with D.C. while Bill Hamid recovers from a hand injury. It’s a good move for Ochoa as he would have the chance to earn valuable minutes before becoming a free agent this winter. Real Salt Lake would retain a sell-on clause if Ochoa decides to re-sign with D.C.

Adrian Heath Defends MLS

Former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath addressed how the difficulty level of MLS is often misconceived, particularly by those in his home country of England. Heath played for Everton in England before moving to the U.S. for his managerial career, making him well equipped to weigh in on the differences between playing in the English Premier League and playing in MLS.

“There’s an ignorance and it is disrespectful. Listen, the MLS is a tough league,” Heath said. “You could be playing in 110-degree heat in Houston one day then in altitude in Colorado, freezing, the next. You’re taking six-hour flights, adjusting to different time zones, then playing competitive matches. It’s no pushover I promise you.”

There’s been attention on MLS from English media in recent weeks due to EPL preseason matches, Gareth Bale’s signing with LAFC, and Wayne Rooney taking the head coaching job with D.C. United. While MLS may still receive criticism, the interest in young MLS players from European clubs only seems to be growing.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and rest of your weekend!