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Lion Links: 1/26/23

Rodrigo Schlegel signs new contract, USMNT falls to Serbia, Damion Lowe traded to the Philadelphia Union, and more.

Orlando City SC v New England Revolution

How’s it going, Mane Landers? We’re less than a month away from Orlando City’s season opener and I’m really looking forward to it. In the meantime, I’ve been reading some books and watching The Last of Us. I’m usually not the biggest fan of horror or suspense, but it’s been hard for me not to enjoy the show so far. Anyway, let’s dive into today’s links!

Rodrigo Schlegel Signs a New Deal

Orlando City signed center back Rodrigo Schlegel to a new contract that will keep him in the City Beautiful through the 2024 season, with options for 2025 and 2026 as well. This news comes only a little over a year since Schlegel signed a two-year contract following the 2021 season. He joined Orlando on loan before the 2020 season and became a folk hero of sorts after stepping up as a goalkeeper in Orlando’s first MLS playoff appearance and scoring a late equalizer in the team’s U.S. Open Cup campaign last year. However, those moments shouldn’t overshadow how important he’s been to Orlando’s defense. It’s nice to see that a fan favorite like Schlegel will be sticking around for years to come.

USMNT Loses to Serbia in Friendly

The United States Men’s National Team fell 2-1 to Serbia in its first match of 2023. Seven players made their debuts for the USMNT in this match. Although the team lost, there were some positives. In his first appearance for the USMNT, FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez scored in the first half thanks in part to a great ball into the box by fellow debutant Julian Gressel.

Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina made his USMNT debut as well and came up with three saves. However, the defense struggled as a whole. Serbia scored at the end of the first half off of a free kick and then scored again at the start of the second half to take the lead. Cade Cowell had some good chances to pull the Yanks level, but they ultimately weren’t able to find an equalizer. The USMNT will now need to dust itself off and get ready for another friendly on Saturday against Colombia.

Grant Wahl Will Posthumously Receive Award

The late Grant Wahl will be honored as the recipient of this year’s Colin Jose Media Award at the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on May 6 in Frisco, TX. The award is given to journalists who have made long-term contributions to soccer in the U.S. Wahl worked for Sports Illustrated for 25 years, covering soccer and growing the popularity of the sport. An advocate for social justice, Wahl’s reporting delved into both the results on the field and the cultural impact of soccer off of it. A tribute was placed at the USMNT’s match last night, with the number on the jersey representing the 11 combined men’s and women’s World Cups he covered.

Damion Lowe Headed to Philadelphia

Inter Miami traded center back Damion Lowe to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for $225,000 in General Allocation Money, a first-round pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, and forward Shanyder Borgelin’s rights. Lowe started in 28 games to help Miami reach the playoffs last season. It’s an interesting trade by the Union considering they already have Jacob Glesnes and Jack Elliott, but the depth will be important with so many tournaments for the Union this year. As for Miami, it’s a fairly nice haul for the defender. Borgelin played for Inter Miami II in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season and led the team with 14 goals.

Free Kicks
  • Enjoy some highlights from Orlando’s training camping in Bradenton as the Lions get ready for the 2023 season.
  • Former Lion Nicholas Gioacchini, who was selected in the 2022 MLS Expansion Draft by St. Louis City, converted a penalty in his new club’s preseason match against the Union. The game ended in a draw.
  • American midfielder Djordje Mihailovic scored his first goal for AZ Alkmaar in a 4-1 win against Go Ahead Eagles. I’m not sure if Mihailovic forgot he can use his feet.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a great Thursday and rest of your week!