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Lion Links: 1/16/22 – The Mane Land



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’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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Omaha cupsets Minnesota – Sounder At Heart




Union Omaha shocks Minnesota United, advances to U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals
Joseph Brito’s goal in the 51st minute proved to be the game-winner as the Owls took down the Loons 2-1.

Open Cup results

Orlando City 1(4) – Inter Miami 1(2)
Louisville City 1 – Nashville SC 2
New York City FC 1 – New England Revolution 0
New York Red Bulls 3 – Charlotte FC 1
Minnesota United 1 – Union Omaha 2
Sporting KC 2 – Houston Dynamo 1
Sacramento Republic 2 – San Jose Earthquakes 0
LA Galaxy 3 – LAFC 1

Canadian Championship results

CF Montreal 3 – Forge FC 0
Cavalry FC 1(3) – Vancouver Whitecaps 1(5)


Toronto FC to host CF Montréal in 2022 Canadian Championship semi-finals – Waking The Red
A rematch of last year’s final will come in this year’s semi-final.

Report: CF Montréal’s Djordje Mihailovic Receiving Heavy Interest in Europe – Mount Royal Soccer
So. Man. Teams. Interested.

Full Time: Experienced Red Bulls Side Teaches Charlotte FC a U.S. Open Cup Lesson | Charlotte FC
Charlotte comes to Seattle on Sunday

Other men’s club soccer

Revealed: government did encourage Premier League to approve Newcastle takeover | Newcastle United | The Guardian
Boris Johnson’s government worked for months to encourage the Premier League to approve the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle.

EU Commission satisfied with guarantees for Chelsea sale proceeds – We Ain’t Got No History
Approvals upon approvals

UK Government approve Chelsea sale, issue licence for Boehly takeover – We Ain’t Got No History

USL League One Team of the Week – Week 8
Ibarra continues to make the Team of the Week in League One

Women’s club soccer

‘Oakland Soul’ to become city’s women’s soccer team
Oakland Roots announced Tuesday a new addition to the club: a women’s soccer team. ‘Oakland Soul’ will debut in 2023.

With 3,000 owners and $1 million, Minnesota Aurora aims to rewrite the ownership playbook – Equalizer Soccer ($)
What can the soccer world (even NWSL?) learn from an amateur women’s team?

Chelsea sweep Women’s Super League end of season awards – We Ain’t Got No History
Player, manager, goal of the season

National team soccer

Herdman names CanMNT squad for upcoming friendly vs. Iran, Nations League tests – Canadian Premier League

Puget Sound culture

Best of 425 2022 | Best of 425 |
Bellevue dominates the 425, again

The Best of the South Sound 2022 | Best of the South Sound |
Winners hail from Olympia, Spanaway, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Puyallup, and beyond.

Tea Master – a new Background for D&D | Full Moon Storytelling
You are a server of fine teas. Maybe you worked in a tea shop, or were a tea merchant, or were the tea master for a noble estate. You prepare teas and small bites of food for the thinking peoples in the area. This can be as simple as a cuppa or an elaborate ritual.

It’s a light day for soccer. Which feels weird. You either need the deepest of deep cable or really want to see some Euro U17 on TUDN.

3:00 PM PT — Libertad vs The Strongest in Copa Libertadores action on BeIn Sports and Fanatiz. THE STRONGEST.

7:00 PM PT — Atlas vs Pachuca in Liga MX action on Univision and TUDN. Broadcast Mexican soccer is a midweek blessing.

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Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew: Can Atlanta put the pieces together?




Atlanta United’s pair of draws against New England and Nashville weren’t so much bad results as unsatisfying. The Five Stripes attacking prowess was on display but time and time again its defensive weaknesses ruined any chance at three points. In the end, a point each was fair on both occasions, though it didn’t mean much in the standings. Atlanta should like its chances better at victory this weekend when a crumbling Columbus Crew visits the Benz.

Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Columbus has just one win in its last ten dating back to mid-March and sits 12th on 13 points in the Eastern Conference. It has the fourth-worst attack with just 15 goals scored, though the Crew’s backline (15 conceded) has slightly helped. Not much, however, as the standings show. Manager Caleb Porter, who joined in 2019 and won the 2020 MLS Cup, uses a 4-2-3-1 that relies heavily on attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan, and as the Armenian-Argentine goes, so does Columbus. In the first three games of the season where he notched a goal or assist in each, Columbus had 7 points (2.3 per game). In the nine games since then, Zelarayan hasn’t found the boxscore once and the Crew has averaged .66 points per game. Winger Derrick Ettiene (3g, 4a) is also capable of stardom on his day, but like Zelarayan, the Haitian isn’t known for consistency. The duo have both hit a drought of late and combined with the sale of Gyasi Zardes to Colorado, the end result is that Columbus has been shut out six times in the last eight, including back-to-back 2-0 losses heading into Saturday.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Nashville SC

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta’s shaky defense should get a reprieve with the Crew’s arrival, while the attack is only going to keep getting better as Thiago Almada shows his class. The Argentine’s 3 goals and 2 assists have sent Atlanta’s attack up to the 5th best in the East with 19 total goals, including two or more in its last four in all competitions. We may even get a peak at how Josef Martinez fits into the front four for the first time in a while – the Venezualan is questionable for this weekend.

Predicted Started XIs

Atlanta’s Predicted XI (4-2-3-1)

Columbus’ Predicted XI (4-3-3)

Prediction: Atlanta United 4-0 Columbus Crew

Atlanta will finally piece it all together in a dominant victory over a reeling Columbus. Goals will come from Almada (duh), Araujo (x2), and an Alan Franco header.

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College to MLS: Which SuperDraft picks are most impactful in 2022?




Selection: No. 14 (First Round), Duke University

Murphy’s turned out to be a great pick by Cincinnati, one that’s stepped right into a starting center back role for first-year manager Pat Noonan. He’s got one goal across nine games (eight starts), adjusting rather seamlessly to the MLS level after being in the ACC. Murphy is a great example of acquiring cost-effective, domestic pieces through the SuperDraft.

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