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Lion Links: 2/15/23

Orlando City signs Abdi Salim, Orlando Pride defender Carrie Lawrence out indefinitely, Jesse Marsch reportedly nears deal with Southampton, and more.

NWSL: San Diego Wave FC at Orlando Pride Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. I’ve been busy covering high school basketball playoffs in the Chicago area for work, but I try to make time to watch some soccer. There is plenty to get to in today’s links from around the soccer world, so let’s get right to them.

Orlando City Signs First-Round Pick Abdi Salim

Orlando City has signed first-round 2023 MLS SuperDraft pick Abdi Salim to a one-year contract, with club options for 2024, 2025, and 2026 as well. The defender has started in two of Orlando’s three preseason matches so far, playing 180 minutes. This move provides more depth at center back for Orlando. With Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Thomas Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, Salim may not get many minutes with the pro side this year. It's more likely that Salim plays with Orlando City B for some valuable minutes to develop.

Carrie Lawrence Suffers ACL Injury

Orlando Pride defender Carrie Lawrence is out indefinitely after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee while training in Port St. Lucie last week. The club gave no timetable for her recovery and she will undergo surgery. Lawrence was projected to be a starter for the Pride’s back line this season, but could now miss the entire 2023 season. She made 14 appearances last season for the Pride, starting in 12 matches and logging 1,114 minutes. The Pride could sign a veteran defender with experience, or they could stay the course with their young defenders.

Jesse Marsch Reportedly Close to Joining Southampton

After being sacked as Leeds United’s manager last week, former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch is reportedly close to an agreement to become Southampton’s manager. Marsch would take over after Nathan Jones was sacked after Southampton’s 2-1 loss to Wolves this past weekend. Southampton is at the bottom of the English Premier League standings, but could still escape the relegation zone. If a deal is done soon, Marsch could be on the sidelines this weekend for Southampton’s match-up against Chelsea.

UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Begins

The first legs of the round of 16 kicked off yesterday in the UEFA Champions League. Bayern Munich edged out Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in France with a goal from Kingsley Coman early in the second half. Kylian Mbappe came off the bench in the second half and thought he scored twice down the stretch, but both goals were ruled offside. Bayern held on despite going down a man in stoppage time to get the win on the road. In Italy, AC Milan also secured a 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur after scoring early in the first half with a goal from Brahim Diaz. Today’s matches include Borussia Dortmund battling Chelsea while Club Brugge takes on Benfica.

Free Kicks
  • FIFA has confirmed that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have all automatically qualified for the 2026 World Cup as they are hosting it.
  • FIFA also approved an expanded Club World Cup in 2025 and broke down how the team allocation would work.
  • Austin FC signed midfielder Sebastián Driussi to a new contract through the 2025 season, with an option for 2026.
  • As part of Stars and Stripes FC’s series to commemorate Black History Month, Mia Fishel’s journey to Tigres and success in Liga MX Femenil was highlighted.
  • We only have to wait one more month before Ted Lasso returns.

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