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Lion Links: 2/3/23

Martin Ojeda adjusts to Orlando, Forbes unveils MLS club valuations, MLS teams improve their defenses, and more.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

How’s it going, Mane Landers? The weekend is almost upon us, meaning we can soon kick back with a cold drink and enjoy some soccer. I don’t have many plans beyond working and heading out to a new brunch spot as part of my goal to try a new restaurant each month. Let’s get this Friday started with some links from around the soccer world!

Martin Ojeda Adjusts to Playing in Orlando

Following Orlando City’s preseason win over Minnesota United, Martin Ojeda spoke on how he’s adjusting to his new team. Ojeda was signed by Orlando less than a month ago but stated that his teammates and coaches have made it feel like he’s fit in with the club for years. The Designated Player started in the team’s first preseason match alongside the club’s other playmakers, and you can check him out in action in the video below and in these photos from the game.

Forbes Announces Valuations of MLS Clubs

According to Forbes, Orlando City is the 24th-most valuable club in MLS, with a 2023 valuation of $420 million. Orlando brought in a total of $42 million of revenue in 2022. It was the first full year with the Wilf family as the club’s ownership and it also included winning the U.S. Open Cup. LAFC topped the list and is the first MLS club to be estimated as a billion-dollar franchise by Forbes. The LA Galaxy were listed second, with a trio of Eastern Conference teams rounding out the top five in Atlanta United, New York City FC, and D.C. United.

MLS Clubs Bolster Their Defenses

Attackers tend to be the exciting additions during MLS off-seasons, but defenders should not be overlooked as teams get ready for the upcoming season. FC Cincinnati added Wolverhampton center back Yerson Mosquera on loan through June, with an option to extend the loan through the rest of the 2023 season. The 21-year-old has only appeared once for Wolverhampton’s first team, but he should give the team some strength at the position alongside Matt Miazga and Nick Hagglund. Atlanta United loaned Edwin Mosquera to Argentina’s Defensa y Justicia, and then signed Peruvian center back Luis Abram to a contract through the 2026 season. LAFC signed right back Sergi Palencia to a two-year contract, with an option for the 2025 season as well.

Kylian Mbappe Out, Real Madrid Faces Injury Scares

Suspicions earlier this week that Kylian Mbappe would miss Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League first-leg tie against Bayern Munich were confirmed. The French club estimates Mbappe will miss the next three weeks due to a thigh injury. This injury comes at a difficult time for PSG, and more tests are being done on defender Sergio Ramos after he exited due to injury as well.

Of course, PSG isn’t the only team bitten by the injury bug before the Champions League returns. Real Madrid beat Valencia 2-0, but forward Karim Benzema and defender Eder Militao both had to leave the match limping. Only time will tell the extent of those injuries, although Carlo Ancelotti shared that Militao’s is “a little more serious” than Benzema’s. It’s a busy month for Madrid, with Club World Cup, Champions League, and Copa del Rey matches on the schedule while trying to chase FC Barcelona in La Liga.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Let’s end our links with some cackling from Gaston Gonzalez at training. Have a great Friday!