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Lion Links: 1/23/23

Learn more about Martin Ojeda, Weston McKennie transfer rumors, USMNT prepares for friendlies, and more.

SOCCER: SEP 17 MLS - Toronto FC at Orlando City Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. You may have seen that it’s a turbulent time for The Mane Land and other SBNation sites, but I can tell you that we are committed to our work covering soccer in Orlando. We are currently looking into viable options and will keep you updated.

On a happier note, I was wondering if you were able to get out to the Premier League Fan Fest at Universal this weekend? Obviously, it was a little far for me to make it but it looked like fun. Let’s get to the links.

Getting to know Martin Ojeda

Gabrielle Amado sat down with Orlando City midfielder Martin Ojeda for an introduction to the City Beautiful. Orlando’s newest Designated Player discussed making the decision to come to Orlando, and his friendships with Rodrigo Schlegel and Wilder Cartagena. He also talked about the challenge of coming to and playing in MLS, and what type of player he is. I’m looking forward to what he can bring to Orlando City this coming season.

Chelsea Reportedly Interested in Weston McKennie

It seems that Weston McKennie is in high demand, with Juventus willing to sell. Juventus was handed a 15-point deduction by Serie A for transfer irregularities, meaning the club’s Champions League aspirations are in doubt and players may be transferred out sooner rather than later. McKennie has garnered attention from other clubs throughout this off-season and Chelsea is also interested according to Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports.

McKennie has also received interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. The young midfielder is one of the more exciting American players on the international stage, and where he lands will be interesting.

Anthony Hudson Prepares the USMNT for Friendlies

With all the drama surrounding U.S. Soccer since the World Cup, things aren’t easy for Anthony Hudson as he coaches the USMNT during the January camp. In addition to the controversy involving Claudio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter, Brian McBride will not return as general manager. Hudson has to get the focus back on soccer as the team prepares for friendlies against Serbia and Colombia this Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. Since these friendlies do not take place during a FIFA competition window, it’s a great opportunity for MLS players who were called up to impress. Of those players is 29-year-old Julian Gressel, who is hoping to make his debut for the USMNT. His journey to the USMNT has been long and winding, but he is looking to step in and contribute immediately.

Inside Info Helped FOX Win World Cup Broadcast Rights

FOX, ESPN, and NBC all placed bids to cover the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It has now come to light that a FOX executive was bribing Julio Grandona, the FIFA official in charge of the committee regarding television deals, to provide inside information that allowed FOX to win the bid. According to the New York Times, the information came from Alejandro Burzaco, a former sports marketing executive from Argentina. This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, and the Justice Department is investigating.

Free Kicks
  • This is a neat graphic showing how close each MLS stadium is to the downtown area of its city.
  • Orlando made the top 10 list of cities in which the USMNT has played games since 2010. Orlando was tied for eighth, with five matches played in the City Beautiful. What that tells me is that there haven’t been enough matches in Orlando.
  • Former Lion Cyle Larin is reportedly heading to Real Valladolid CF in La Liga.
  • Giovanni Reyna just keeps reminding us of his potential. The 20-year-old scored a great game-winning goal in Borussia Dortmund’s match against FC Augsburg.

That will do it for today. Have a great week!