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Lion Links: 1/18/23

Orlando Pride receive another good draft grade, USWNT beats New Zealand, Yunus Musah named U.S. Young Male Player of the Year, and more.

New Zealand v USA Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all of you are doing well down in Florida. There’s not much new with me other than staying busy at work lately. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get right to the links.

Pride Receive Another Strong Draft Grade

It’s been almost a week since the 2023 NWSL Draft ended, and the Orlando Pride received an A- draft grade from Jason Anderson of Pro Soccer Wire. The Pride selected Emily Madril with the third overall pick to boost their back line. Afterwards, the Pride took advantage by choosing players that fell deeper in the draft than expected. Forward Messiah Bright could break into the starting lineup for the Pride’s attack after a solid collegiate career at TCU. Tori Hansen was picked in the third round and could be in the mix to get minutes in the defense. Summer Yates and Kristen Scott could make an impact on offense as well. This draft should help the Pride improve after a 10th-place finish in the NWSL last year.

USWNT Beats New Zealand in Friendly

In the first of two friendlies against New Zealand, the United States Women’s National Team won 4-0. After a scoreless first half, Mallory Swanson (née Pugh) scored the USWNT’s first goal of 2023 with a header in the 52nd minute after a nice ball from Trinity Rodman. Her goal then opened the floodgates. A backheel from Rose Lavelle set up a goal for former Pride forward Alex Morgan in the 60th minute. Swanson then scored her second goal in the 62nd minute after dribbling past New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler. Lynn Williams added a fourth goal and the USWNT started the year with a clean sheet. The USWNT will take on New Zealand again on Friday at Eden Park in Auckland.

Yunus Musah Named U.S. Young Male Player of the Year

Yunus Musah has been voted the 2022 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year after a solid year with Valencia and with the USMNT in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 20-year-old played 345 minutes at the tournament, helping the USMNT reach the round of 16. Musah was one of three Americans to start in all four matches in Qatar, alongside captain Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie. At the club level, he made 39 appearances for Valencia, scoring one goal and adding two assists, and became the second American to make an appearance in the Copa del Rey final.

St. Louis City Adds Indiana Vassilev

MLS expansion club St. Louis City SC acquired midfielder Indiana Vassilev from Aston Villa. Vassilev has agreed to a two-year contract, with a club option in 2025 and 2026. The 21-year-old recently played with Inter Miami CF on loan from Aston Villa, making 45 appearances for the Herons and scoring five goals. He also has experience playing with the U.S. youth national teams at the international level.

Free Kicks
  • Robin Jansson is back at training with Orlando City after undergoing foot surgery last year.
  • Minnesota United is reportedly close to finalizing an agreement to sign Swedish center back Mikael Marques from AFC Eskilstuna.

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