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OL Reign obtain rights to Alyssa Malonson from NC Courage

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OL Reign today announced that it has obtained the NWSL rights to defender Alyssa Malonson from the North Carolina Courage, who in exchange acquired midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri from OL Reign following a successful Discovery Challenge.

If Discovery Challenge is a new term for you, well, you are certainly not alone. It’s a mechanism in the league that is very rarely utilized. Here’s a basic overview of the rule: if one or more clubs attempt to add the same player to their Discovery Lists, the club that filed the claim on the earlier date — the Reign in this case — has the priority right to sign the player. If the second club wants to sign this player, they can issue a “Discovery Challenge” to the club with the higher priority. That forces the initial club to either extend an offer to the player, accept a $25,000 fee from the second club, or negotiate a different deal with the second club. Essentially, this process prevents teams from squatting on players’ rights.

In the case of this trade, sources shared with Ride of the Valkyries that Tagliaferri — who the Reign added to their Discovery List after the 2021 draft — was interested in staying on the East Coast near family, which made the deal possible for the Reign and North Carolina. The Courage had a player that had been on OL Reign’s radar, Malonson, so both sides worked out a deal to exchange rights using the Discovery Challenge process mechanism.

Malonson was originally drafted 20th overall by North Carolina in the 2021 NWSL Draft, but she opted to stay at Auburn University to play out her fifth year of NCAA eligibility in 2021, an option made available to players during the pandemic.

Primarily a defender in her first three seasons in an Auburn uniform, Malonson transitioned to the midfield in 2020 and tied for second on the team in points that fall. She again played in both spots on the field in her final season of eligibility in 2021, finishing the year as a defender, where she was named United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American, SEC Defender of the Year, and First Team All-SEC. In her final season, Malonson scored twice and assisted four goals while also helping lead Auburn to seven total shutouts and five shutouts in SEC play.

Here’s a glimpse of what the speedy player, who was often streaking down the left flank, did with Auburn last fall.

In her career with the Tigers, Malonson played in 97 matches — an Auburn record — and started each match. Malonson scored four goals and tallied 23 assists for Auburn. Malonson also has U.S. Youth National Team experience and was most recently called up to join the U-23 WNT in 2019 for the U-23 La Manga Tournament, where she played alongside Reign player Alana Cook with the U.S. as they faced Sweden and France.



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Toronto FC’s GoalMachine takes home eMLS League Series One title

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It was a historic performance for the Toronto man, who just signed as the Reds’ eMLS representative in December and was making his debut appearance on the circuit. With the victory, he delivered Toronto FC’s first eMLS final appearance and championship in club history.

He got everything he could handle in the final from PauloNeto999, who had a 3-2 aggregate lead in the 88th minute of the second leg, only to see GoalMachine strike for a clutch late equalizer to force extra time.





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Lion Links: 1/16/22 – The Mane Land

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Hello, Mane Landers! This week kept The Mane Land staff team busy with breaking news, which must indicate the opening of Orlando City’s preseason camp is right around the corner. Tuesday, to be exact. Let’s head to the links!

Pato Returns to Orlando City

Orlando City announced Saturday morning the re-signing of center forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal. The Lions’ front office does not include financial terms when it announces transactions. However, multiple outlets reported the deal mostly consists of performance incentives. Pato was injured in the first game of last season and ultimately appeared in only four regular season matches and the Lions’ lone playoff game in Nashville. The accomplished Brazilian striker, if he can stay healthy, and Tesho Akindele are expected to provide goal-scoring depth behind whomever is acquired to succeed Daryl Dike up top. We’re going to sign more guys, right?

Moments after the club announced the return of Pato, which means “duck” in Portuguese, the Lions’ assistant general manager and technical director Ricardo Moreira tweeted perhaps the catchiest celebration of the news. LDG!

Pato shared an announcement video in which he promised “2022 will be better than the last one.”

Lions Announce 2022 Preseason Schedule

The Lions will face five MLS sides and Florida’s two USL Championship clubs in preseason action. All seven matches will be played behind closed doors. The preseason opener is Jan. 23 against an MLS club not yet named. Orlando City will also play Minnesota United, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. The Lions will battle the USL’s Miami FC, which is now led by former Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis. The Welshman played for Orlando City from 2012-2014 when it competed in USL Pro. The Lions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies square off on Feb. 19 to close out the schedule. Even though it’s a preseason match and the two teams compete in different tiers, is it still considered an I-4 derby? I think so.

Weston McKinnie Is On Fire

Juventus and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie is the hottest American player in the world right now. McKennie headed in Juve’s second goal in its 2-0 triumph over Udinese yesterday, and he has now netted eight goals in 50 Serie A competitions. Yesterday’s goal followed one he scored in Juve’s Italian Supercoppa loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday. The American continues to improve on the pitch and that bodes well for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it prepares to resume Concacaf World Cup qualifiying later this month.

Reports: Che & Bassett to Europe; Arriola to Mexico City

MLSSoccer.com’s Transfer Tracker shared reports that two young MLS players will soon be loaned to European clubs for 18 months with options to buy. FC Dallas will reportedly send Homegrown defender Justin Che to the Bundesliga’s Hoffenheim and the Colorado Rapids will ship USMNT midfielder Cole Bassett to Eredivisie club Feyenoord. Club America is also expected to bring D.C. United and USMNT winger Paul Arriola back to Liga MX.

Man City Downs Chelsea, Coutinho Scores in Aston Villa Debut

A dazzling strike from Kevin De Bruyne lifted Manchester City over Chelsea yesterday to extend the Cityzens’ Premier League lead to 13 points. A close three-team battle for the Premier League crown is looking less likely.

Philippe Coutinho introduced himself to the Villa Park faithful with a game-tying goal after coming on as a substitute in Aston Villa’s come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Free Kicks

Thanks for visiting, Mane Landers. Enjoy this week’s scenes from preseason camp.



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Inter Miami CF sign Jamaica international defender Damion Lowe

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TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The 28-year-old joins Inter Miami through the 2023 MLS season with a club option for 2024.

“Damion is a capable center back who has proven himself at the international level for Jamaica and we’re happy to welcome him at Inter Miami,” chief soccer officer and sporting director Chris Henderson said in a release. “I’ve known Damion for a long time and I’m sure he’ll welcome this challenge to break into MLS while helping us achieve our objectives. We’re looking forward to continuing to solidify our backline with this signing.”





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