Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers. How is 2023 treating you so far? Did you make any resolutions? Have you managed to keep them so far? I have so many questions, but I won’t bug you with them all.
I managed to finally get all the holiday decorations down and put them back up in the attic for another 10 months or so. At my age, I have my grown sons come help me with the labor. I can’t stress enough how great it is to have your kids get big enough to be useful — and kind enough to be helpful. Before we get into today’s links, let’s wish a happy birthday to Orlando City defender Kyle Smith and academy midfielder David Boccuzzo!
Benji Michel Bids Farewell to Orlando
Forward Benji Michel is headed to play in Portugal’s first division with FC Arouca and he shared a goodbye to Orlando City through Instagram. The 25-year-old thanked the city for his past four years as a Lion and spoke on how he was able to leave the club as a champion after Orlando’s victory in the U.S. Open Cup.
Alyssa Thompson Registers for the NWSL Draft
Remember the trade that the Orlando Pride made with NJ/NY Gotham FC last week? The Pride sent the second overall pick in Thursday’s NWSL Draft to Gotham in exchange for $350,000 in Allocation Money, pending conditions. The deal, along with others, was reportedly contingent on 18-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson registering for the draft and decommitting from Stanford in order for Angel City FC to be able to select her. Thompson did just that, officially registering for the draft, and now all of the remaining dominoes can fall in the massive trade deal. Long story short, Angel City traded with Gotham for the first pick, with Gotham then trading with the Pride for the second pick. The Pride still have the third overall pick in the draft, along with six others in later rounds.
Keeping Up With the Americans Abroad
We now know the extent of Christian Pulisic’s injuries from Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City last Thursday. Pulisic suffered a knee injury when John Stones slid into him and he will be out for weeks according to Graham Potter.
Pulisic wasn’t the only injured USMNT player this past week. Fullback Bryan Reynolds suffered a collarbone injury, and possibly a fracture during Westerlo’s 1-0 victory over Cercle Brugge in the Belgium Pro League on Saturday.
In better news, Malik Tillman scored a goal for Rangers FC in its Scottish Premier League 2-0 win over Dundee United. Tillman is on loan to Rangers from Bayern Munich and this goal is his fourth in 18 matches so far this season.
MALIK TILLMAN SMASHES IT HOME pic.twitter.com/VMrJ99UpSQ— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 8, 2023
Draw Revealed for FA Cup Fourth Round
The match-ups for the fourth round of the FA Cup have been announced now that the third round has nearly concluded. There are still some that need to be finalized, but we now know the matches to be played later this month. Of note, Wrexham AFC will play Sheffield United after beating Coventry City in the third round. League Two’s Stevenage beat Aston Villa 2-1 and will face Stoke City in the next round. Brighton & Hove Albion will take on the winner of next week’s match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton. Manchester City, which dispatched Chelsea 4-0 in the third round, will play either Oxford United or Arsenal. The fourth round matches will get started on Jan. 28.
- Former Orlando City captain Nani ruptured his ACL in Melbourne Victory’s 1-0 loss to the Brisbane Roar in the Australian A-League. Our thoughts go out to Nani as he will miss the rest of Melbourne’s season.
Scans on Saturday have confirmed that @luisnani has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) January 7, 2023
Everyone at Melbourne Victory is devastated by the news and will support Nani through his recovery.
- The Houston Dynamo will reportedly sign former Atlanta United and LAFC right back Franco Escobar as a free agent. The team has also signed Iván Franco from Club Libertad in the Paraguayan Primera División.
- Former CF Montreal midfielder Djordje Mihailovic made his European debut with AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie.
- The USMNT coaching job is up in the air, but France decided to reward Didier Deschamps with a contract extension through 2026. Deschamps took France to last month’s World Cup final and this is not a big surprise given how well his team has played in recent years.
- You may know that Wrexham made it into the FIFA 23 video game. What you might not have known is that Wrexham co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney also snuck some Easter eggs into the game, including pre-match commentary if Wrexham plays Liverpool. As expected, it is witty, funny stuff.
That will do it for me today. Have a great week!