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Lion Links: 2/7/23

Emily Madril is not a normal rookie, Leeds United fires Jesse Marsch, MLS mulls new playoff format, and more.

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NWSL: 2023 NWSL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. We’re getting closer to seeing Orlando City take the field for the new Major League Soccer season. I’m feeling surprisingly well-rested for once, so I’m going to harness that energy and get right into things.

Pride’s Emily Madril is not a Normal Rookie

The Orlando Pride selected Emily Madril with the third overall pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft, but the 23-year-old defender is a rookie in name only (OK, technically speaking she’s not a rookie at all, but she has yet to play her first NWSL game). At this point in her career, she’s already recovered from two ACL surgeries and played in two professional seasons, among other things. One of those seasons came with Racing Louisville in the USL W League, where she earned a place in the Best XI second team. The other season came with BK Häcken over in Sweden, and she’s got valuable professional experience before even stepping on the field for the Pride. She’s immediately got her eyes on a place in the starting XI, and given what she’s accomplished so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her get one.

Leeds United Fires Jesse Marsch

On Monday morning, Leeds United announced that the club had fired Jesse Marsch as head coach. Marsch took charge in late February of last year and managed to guide the team to another year of safety in the Premier League. The club then went out and spent during the summer, but a season that’s seen the club take only 18 points from 20 games meant that his seat was red hot following a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest over the weekend. It’s an interesting strategy to go buy a bunch of players during the January transfer window to fit a manager’s style of play, and then fire that manager just one game after the close of the window, but making a change last year worked, so it may do so again now. Leeds United’s search for a new manager might cost former Lion Daryl Dike his coach in the English Championship, as Fabrizio Roman reports that West Bromwich Albion skipper Carlos Corberan is among the top candidates to replace Marsch.

MLS Considering New Playoff Format

Oddly enough, Major League Soccer still hasn’t decided on what the playoff format will look like for the 2023 season, but The Athletic is reporting (paywall) that the league is leaning towards a shift to an 18-team format. The first round of the playoffs would see the introduction of a best-of-three series, before shifting to a single-elimination format for the rest of the postseason, while also considering expanding the field to nine teams from each conference. The eighth and ninth seeds would square off in a play-in match, with the winner advancing to play the top seed in the best-of-three quarterfinals. Motivations are said to include allowing each playoff team to host at least one match, giving Apple more content for MLS Season Pass, and, of course, money.

Man City Charged With FFP Breaches

The Premier League has charged Manchester City with multiple breaches of Financial Fair Play rules spanning nine seasons. Over 100 breaches are alleged to have occurred between the 2009-2010 and 2017-2018 seasons, and the team is also accused of not cooperating with the investigation. The charges will be reviewed by an independent commission with the ability to impose sanctions, ranging from fines and point deductions all the way up to relegation from the Premier League. In July of 2020, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a two-year ban from UEFA club competitions for City due to evidence falling outside of a five-year statute of limitations, but no such time limit is restricting the Premier League, so it’ll be very interesting to see how this develops.

Free Kicks
  • Orlando City will not play today’s scheduled scrimmage against Nashville SC. The Lions will next square off in a scrimmage on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
  • The NWSL schedule is being released tomorrow.
  • Check out some of the scenes from the spelling bee hosted at Exploria Stadium.

That’s everything for me this morning. Y’all stay safe out there.