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Sounders International Roundup: AFCON edition

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Preseason starts soon for the Seattle Sounders, but several players will be away on international duty to kick things off. Only one of those players is in action right now, though, and that’s Nouhou. Cameroon are hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, and Nouhou’s got his hands on the starting left back spot. In the opening game the hosts faced Burkina Faso and Nouhou played a major role on the way to a 2-1 win.

Cameroon had to come back from 1-0, but the deficit was erased in the final five minutes of the first half and Nouhou was involved — in one way or another — in both goals. Both goals came through penalties, the first of which was rewarded after a video review of an incident that occurred during a corner kick. That corner was won by our beloved Nouhou after a genuinely great piece of play. Nouhou picked up a loose ball and knocked it past one opponent, then skipped over a sliding challenge from another on his way to the end line. Nouhou sized up his options with a penalty area full of Burkina Faso players and then hit a ball directly into a defender, earning a corner.

At the end of the half, Nouhou ran onto a cross and headed it forward before bursting into the penalty area. He took a bad touch as he entered the area, but a late challenge from a defender absolved him of any mistakes as he was brought down. Nouhou had plenty more good moments throughout the game, but nearly iced the whole performance off with a chance at a goal with the final touch of the game. Cameroon had a break and Nouhou was running in behind the Burkina Faso defense with no one to beat but the goalkeeper. He received a perfectly placed cross as he reached the top of the box, but opted for a first-timed shot that he shanked as the clock wound down.

It’s easy to think that praise for Nouhou’s performance is seeing the game with Rave Green-colored glasses, but FotMob gave him an 8.7/10 rating, the second-highest rating of the game and the third-highest of the tournament so far. He put up some quality defensive numbers with four clearances, eight recoveries, won three tackles and 14 successful duels. It wasn’t just his defensive performance that shined, though. In addition to his contributions leading to the penalties, Nouhou had four successful dribbles — a 100% success rate — and was fouled six times.

Cameroon play next on Thursday at 8 AM against Ethiopia, who lost their opening game to Cape Verde after going down to 10 men. The game should be another opportunity for Nouhou and his country to shine in the continent’s largest competition. AFCON is a blast, and Nouhou was made for the tournament.



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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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