Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. It’s snowing up here in Chicago, so I will make the most of the downtime at work to catch up on some shows. I’m finishing up Super League: The War on Football on Apple TV+ and have two episodes left. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get right to the links.
Erin McLeod and Gunny Jonsdottir Leave the Pride
The Orlando Pride announced that goalkeeper Erin McLeod and midfielder Gunny Jonsdottir are leaving the club. The couple married earlier this month on Jan. 2 and will be moving to Iceland. McLeod joined the Pride in 2020 to back up Ashlyn Harris and made her debut with the club in 2021. The Canadian started in 25 matches and played 2,273 minutes. Jonsdottir joined the Pride prior to the 2021 NWSL season in a trade with the Utah Royals. In two seasons with the Pride, Jonsdottir made 48 appearances, starting in 42 matches and playing 3,000 minutes. She also scored five goals and added two assists across all competitions with the Pride. McLeod’s departure means the starting goalkeeper role will likely be claimed by Anna Moorhouse, with Kaylie Collins as the other goalkeeper on the roster. The Pride will miss Jonsdottir’s leadership both on and off the field as well.
Detailing Orlando’s Chase for Martín Ojeda
Orlando City got to work retooling its roster after losing 2-0 to CF Montreal in the MLS Cup playoffs last year. The Lions were able to re-sign Mauricio Pereyra to a contract that also freed up a Designated Player spot to sign Martin Ojeda. Last off-season, the Lions brought in Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara, but had their eyes on Ojeda. Orlando City Technical Director Ricardo Moreira spoke on the club’s pursuit of the Argentine attacker.
“We followed him for one year because he’s the perfect fit for us, we truly believe that,” Moreira said. “It was like a telenovela. We had to keep track of him for a year. We know everything about Martín Ojeda because we were so sure we could get him and he’d be a perfect fit. In the first trainings of the preseason, I think we got it right.”
USMNT Takes on Serbia in Friendly Tonight
Tonight will be the first match-up for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2023 as it hosts Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles at 10 p.m. With many new faces called up for these friendlies, there are plenty of things to keep an eye out for tonight. The midfield is an area that has been key for the U.S. in terms of moving the ball in its 4-3-3 formation. The Yanks must establish possession and then put their shots on frame against a strong Serbian defense. While plenty of attention will be on the players who can make their USMNT debuts, the veterans have an important role as well. Five players on the roster participated in the World Cup last year, and they’ll need to provide guidance and leadership for these friendlies.
Portland Thorns Fire Assistant Coach and Athletic Trainer
Following an investigation into misconduct by the National Women’s Soccer League, the Portland Thorns fired an assistant coach and athletic trainer. The investigation found that the athletic trainer, Pierre Soubrier, was illegally distributing a controlled substance to players. Sophie Clough, who joined as an assistant coach in 2016, was fired for reportedly making unwanted contact with a player. The league also announced that abuse and verbal misconduct allegations against Kris Ward, the former head coach of the Washington Spirit, were substantiated and that he is ineligible to work in the league without the commissioner's approval.
Central Florida Crusaders Announce Five Signings
The Central Florida Crusaders announced five new signings ahead of their National Indoor Soccer League inaugural season. Defender Grace Raji and forward Kiara Montenegro have signed deals to join the women’s team, while defender Gianpaolo Sirizzotti, goalkeeper Jasson Leon and defender Stephen McGinn have signed deals to join the men’s team. The Crusaders’ home opener for the men’s and women’s teams will be on Feb. 5 when they host the Memphis Americans at UCF’s Addition Financial Arena.
- Former Lion Cyle Larin officially signed with La Liga side Real Valladolid CF.
- MLS NEXT Pro side St. Louis City 2 announced its coaching staff for the 2023 season. Bobby Murphy, who was an assistant coach and interim head coach for Orlando City, will serve as the team’s head coach.
- Toronto FC signed defender Raoul Petretta on a three-year deal, with a club option in 2026.
- MLS Season Pass will have chosen local announcers cover matches regionally, according to WorldSoccerTalk.
- Here’s a look into how the U.S. Soccer Federation may face challenges filling the vacant USMNT head coaching job.
That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday, and I’ll see you next time.