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Lion Links: 2/22/23

Orlando City acquires international roster spot, new concessions at Exploria Stadium, MLS changes playoff format, and more.

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

How’s it going, Mane Landers? The return of Orlando City soccer is just a few days away. Although I’ll be at a friend’s wedding, I’m pretty excited for the Lions to be back in action and will be following along from my phone. Until then, I’ll be working and getting ready for a busy next few days. Let’s dive right into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Trades for International Roster Spot

In a minor trade before the season gets started, the Lions sent $150,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) to Atlanta United in exchange for an international roster spot. It’s a decent price for an international roster spot considering Orlando exchanged $200,000 in 2023 GAM to the Portland Timbers for one last month. The deadline for MLS rosters to be compliant before the 2023 season is Friday at 8 p.m.

New Concession Items Hit Exploria Stadium

The Mane Land’s Michael Citro tasted many new concessions items that will be available for supporters to enjoy at Exploria Stadium this season. From Black Rooster’s chicken tacos to Teak’s new burger loaded with toppings, there’s great new options to try out the next time you’re at a game. There will also be kiosks in place to easily grab food or refreshments to help save on time. Here’s the thread showcasing all of the food, but be warned, the photos will make your mouth water if you haven’t eaten yet today.

MLS Announces New Playoff Format

There will be more games during the MLS postseason now as the league announced changes to the playoff format. Now, the top team in each conference will no longer have a bye and the first round will not feature single-elimination matches. Instead, there will be best-of-three series, with penalty kicks immediately taking place to determine a victor in the event of a draw. After the first round, the format will return to single-elimination. The teams that finish eighth and ninth in each conference will battle it out in a wild card round to claim the last spots in the playoffs. I like that these changes mean every team that qualifies for the first round will play at home at least once. However, this format somewhat diminishes the importance of the regular season in my opinion since there are more teams in the mix. I’m curious what you think of the changes, so let me know in the comments below.

USWNT Takes on Brazil Tonight

In its final match of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, the United States Women’s National Team will face Brazil tonight at 7 p.m. in Frisco, TX. The U.S. is undefeated in the tournament so far and has yet to concede a goal in its previous two matches against Canada and Japan. Mallory Swanson is the clear frontrunner for tournament MVP as she’s scored all three of the USWNT’s goals. The defense will have to find a way to stop a Brazilian offense that includes the Orlando Pride’s Marta and Adriana. A win or draw in this match will be enough for the U.S. to lift the SheBelieves Cup trophy.

U.S. Qualifies for FIFA U-17 World Cup

The United States U-17 Men’s National Team beat Guatemala 5-3 in the Concacaf U-17 Championship quarterfinals to clinch a spot in the World Cup later this year. It was far from smooth sailing against the host nation, but the U.S.’s offense did well to maintain its lead. Forward Keyrol Figueroa had a brace in the match and has the most goals in the tournament with six. In the semifinals, the U.S. will play against the winner of today’s match between Canada and Puerto Rico. Mexico also qualified for the World Cup after beating El Salvador 3-0.

Free Kicks
  • Atlanta United traded away up to $250,000 in GAM to D.C. United for forward Miguel Berry.
  • Writers from The Athletic were banned from Inter Miami’s media day due to the publication’s interview with Phil Neville.

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