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Lion Links: 6/5/2015



We’ve managed to make it through yet another week, and our reward awaits tomorrow night in the form of Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire in the Windy City.

Pour up a cup of Joe and check out today's edition of Lion Links as you slip into your Casual Friday attire for a day of procrastination at work.

Larin Heads Into World Cup Qualifiers with Confidence

Although his outing against Columbus last week was not his finest in an Orlando City shirt, rookie striker Cyle Larin has enjoyed a nice stretch of form since his last appearance for the Canadian national team on March 30. As this story from Major League Soccer's official site illustrates, Larin is riding a wave of confidence following his first international goal and a four-goal output in league play.

"I am coming in with the confidence that I can score and with the confidence that I can play at that level," Larin told "I definitely feel I can contribute more to the team now and impact the game more."

Larin’s impending international duty for Canada’s friendlies on June 11 and June 16 as well as the upcoming Gold Cup will provide opportunities for other Lions up top such as Bryan Róchez, Martin Paterson and Pedro Ribeiro.

Klinsmann: Time for Results for USMNT

We've seen a lot of experimental lineups out of U.S. Men's National Team manager Jürgen Klinsmann in the last several friendly competitions for the Yanks, but the German said that the time for trying things out is over as the Gold Cup nears. With the Gold Cup set to start on July 7, Klinsmann said the aim of the USMNT's upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany in the next week is to fine tune the squad before the CONCACAF competition begins.

"Are we coming here to get results? Yes, we are," the coach told reporters at Amsterdam ArenA ahead of Friday's match. "We want to compete with them, in real games. And we want to see a lot of things from our players, just a couple weeks away from the Gold Cup."

Orlando City full back/midfielder Brek Shea will be with the U.S. squad for those friendlies, so we should see some meaningful minutes for him against the Dutch and the Germans, as he seems certain to figure heavily into Klinsmann’s Gold Cup plans.

OCSC Youth Defender Makes U-16 Camp Roster

The U.S. U-16 Boys National Team will hold a training camp in Ft. Lauderdale from June 7-14. The week-long camp will include 36 young players, one of which is a member of Orlando City's youth program, Raul Aguilera Jr. Get it done, young Lion.

U.S. U-20s Pounded by Ukraine, Finish Second in Group A
Orlando City's own Conor Donovan made an appearance in the 84th minute, however, the U.S U-20s laid huge egg this morning against Ukraine, being dominated in possession and play, losing 3-0 to fall to second in Group A. The game was sloppy for the U.S and Ukraine put on pressure and never let off, maintaining possession while getting a hat trick out of striker Viktor Kovalenko. Meanwhile, the U.S couldn't connect any passes together and lamented missed opportunities, including a missed penalty kick in the 59th minute. The next match for the team comes on Wednesday, June 10th at 3:30 a.m against the second place team from Group C, which would either be Portugal, Colombia or Senegal.

Legend Working with U.S. U-20s as Coach and Mentor

USMNT and MLS legend Landon Donovan has officially made the transition from player to coach as he has been imparting wisdom on the young American nationals in New Zealand ahead of this summer’s U-20 World Cup. According to U-20 manager Tab Ramos, Donovan has no defined role with the team at this time, as the former LA Galaxy man is “simply another member of the group.” (Unfortunately, it didn’t help early this morning.)

Ramos extended an invite to Donovan shortly after his retirement from MLS at the end of 2014, and the newly retired 33-year-old seems to be taking to his new role well. There are certainly worse mentors for the youngsters to have around than the man widely regarded as America's best ever soccer player.

More FIFA Scandal: Irish Paid to Stay Quiet

The story of the last week has been Sepp Blatter’s announcement that he will step down from his position as President of FIFA, but the organization is once again in the news for controversial reasons, which seems more normal to most of us. According to Ireland Football Association chief executive John Delaney, FIFA paid off the Irish €5 million to stay quiet following the infamous Thierry Henry handball of ’09, which effectively kept the Republic of Ireland out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

As FIFA officials continue to get squeezed by the feds, who knows what other juicy secrets will come out. No one will really be all that surprised, though.

Have a great Friday, Orlando!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/29/24

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight, Kaká to be honored, Pride linked to Grace Chanda, and more.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s match day for Orlando City as the Lions travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. Orlando City looks to get back to its winning ways in the midweek matchup and we will have all the coverage you need during the match on our Twitter account, and after the match right here at The Mane Land.

We would also like to wish Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines a very happy birthday! Frankly, it’s the least we can do given everything he has done so far this NWSL season. For now, let’s get to the links.

Lions Prepare for the Fire

Orlando City faces the Chicago Fire tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Soldier Field. The Lions will look to extend a three-match winning streak over the Fire. Facundo Torres has been particularly effective against Chicago, so hopefully he can start scoring some more goals as well. We will have our match preview a little later today.

Legends Terrace Coming to Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those that have made a lasting impact with either club. Unsurprisingly, the first inductee will be the one and only Kaká. The ceremony will take place following the July 6 match against D.C. United. There will also be a concert featuring Latin performer Jota Quest in the Publix Mane Street Plaza outside the stadium prior to the match.

Orlando Pride Linked With Grace Chanda

Do you like Barbra Banda and what she has done since joining the Pride? Do you find yourself wondering, “got anymore of those Zambian strikers?” Well, it just so happens that the Orlando Pride are reportedly interested in signing Zambian forward Grace Chanda. According to the report, the San Diego Wave, Racing Louisville, and the Pride are all interested in signing Chanda. Given the Pride are serious about contending for a title this season, another quality striker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride Schedule Adjusted

The Olympics won’t be the only women’s soccer competition this summer, as the inaugural NWSL x LIGA MX Femenil Summer Cup will start on July 19. We have learned that the Orlando Pride match against C.F. Monterrey at Inter&Co Stadium has been moved up from Sunday, July 28 to Saturday, July 27. The move does not affect Orlando City’s schedule, as the Lions play a rare Friday match that week. You can check out more information on the competition here.

Free Kicks

  • I know that there are those upset with the Leagues Cup as it definitely impacted the U.S. Open Cup this year. However, if you do decide to go to a match, at least part of the ticket price will go to a good cause.
  • Congratulations to Felipe Martins. That is a lot of matches and we appreciate him being with our beloved Orlando City.
  • Congratulations also go out to Orlando City academy player Camilio Guerrero for earning a call up to a U.S. U-14 national talent identification camp.
  • USMNT winger Tim Weah is making money moves in the Big Apple.

That will do it for today. We will see you on the other side of the match tonight. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/28/24

Yutaro Tsukada earns recognition, Americans in midweek action, European coaching updates, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City B

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful holiday weekend, and if you didn’t, then I hope you’re well on the way to recovery. We’ve got an exciting schedule this week, with two Orlando City games before an Orlando City B game on Sunday. It’s also OCB forward Yeiler Valencia’s birthday today, so let’s wish him well and jump into today’s links!

Yutaro Tsukada Earns MLS NEXT Pro Honors

OCB winger Yutaro Tsukada was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 11 for his performance in the team’s 5-0 home win against Huntsville City FC. The 22-year-old provided the assist on OCB’s first goal after using some nice skill on the ball to shake his defender. Tsukada then scored a goal of his own off of a free kick in the second half. The rookie has been electric for the Young Lions this season, recording four goals and four assists so far. Hopefully he can keep the momentum rolling when OCB faces Inter Miami II this Sunday.

Major League Soccer Stock Watch

Every week gives us a better idea of each MLS team’s capabilities, so let’s check in on how things are looking following the latest matchday. LAFC is on a great trajectory, as it’s won three consecutive league games and five straight in all competitions. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, and Cristian Arango didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting. At the other end of things, the New England Revolution have lost three straight games, and six of their last seven. Likewise, the shine looks to have worn off from St. Louis City’s expansion season, as the team has also lost three straight games and simply doesn’t look the same as last year.

Americans in Midweek Action

With most of the European club seasons having concluded, there aren’t as many United States Men’s National Team players in action during the working week, but there are still some important games to make note of. Chief among those is Venezia’s game against Cremonese on Thursday. Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio and Venezia will take on Cremonese over two legs, with the winner gaining promotion to Serie A. Left back Jonathan Gomez may take the field tomorrow morning in Real Sociedad’s friendly against Tokyo Verde as well.

In a pair of friendlies on Friday, Mexico plays Bolivia and Uruguay takes on Costa Rica. With the USMNT set to face both Bolivia and Uruguay in group play of this summer’s Copa America, the two matches present a good chance to better gauge the Yanks’ opponents.

European Coaching Updates

Several notable European club teams have coaching vacancies to fill this summer, and there are some updates on a few of those positions. Chelsea has reportedly made an approach for Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca, and has requested permission to talk to the manager who guided the Foxes back to the Premier League in his first year with the club. Meanwhile, despite interest from Manchester United, Kieran McKenna is reportedly set to stay at Ipswich Town, and has had talks about extending his contract. Finally, Aston Villa has extended Unai Emery’s contract, with his new deal keeping him at the club until 2029.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

Transfer season is kicking into gear, and we have several rumors to sift through this morning. Up first, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are reportedly all in hot pursuit of Stade Rennais winger Desire Doue. Casemiro reportedly has a deal lined up with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and may have played his last game for Manchester United. Newly promoted Southampton is reportedly interested in signing Adam Lallana as a free agent. Finally, Paris Saint-Germain is said to have entered the race to sign Bruno Guimaraes, and will face stiff competition from Manchester City and Arsenal.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you this morning. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/27/24

Orlando City loses to the Crew, Pride and OCB win, Southampton seals return to Premier League, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Happy Memorial Day, Mane Landers! I hope you all had a good holiday weekend. I worked at Under Armour all weekend while wrapping up my high school sports coverage for the spring season. It was a mixed weekend for our teams. Orlando City lost, but both the Pride and OCB won their matches. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Lions Lose at Home to Columbus Crew

Orlando City lost 2-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium and saw its three-match unbeaten streak end. The match’s first goal was controversial as the referee, Jair Marrufo, initially awarded the Lions a penalty late in the first half but went to the monitor and reviewed a play at the other end of the pitch. He instead awarded Columbus a penalty kick. Diego Rossi scored from the spot to put the Crew ahead 1-0 before halftime. Columbus extended its winning streak to three matches. Orlando has struggled at home, going just 1-3-4 so far this season. The Lions have not scored a goal at home since April 27. Despite the loss, the Lions still remain in 10th in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Next up for Orlando is a pair of road matches this week, starting Wednesday at the Chicago Fire, followed by a Saturday night matchup against the New York Red Bulls. 

Pride Win at Home Over Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride won their record-setting eighth straight match with a 2-1 victory at Inter&Co Stadium against the Portland Thorns Friday. Barbra Banda scored two goals in the first half to give the Pride a 2-0 lead going into halftime. Portland pulled one back, but the Pride held on for the victory and claimed three points. Orlando remains undefeated in league play after 11 matches, and the Pride stay atop the NWSL table with 27 points. The Pride are off this week but will return to action on the road next Friday, June 7, against the San Diego Wave.

OCB Win at Home against Huntsville City FC

On Sunday, Orlando City B bounced back with a season-high five goals in a 5-0 win over Hunstville City FC at Osceola County Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Shak Mohammed put OCB ahead 3-0, while Yeiler Valencia scored his first two OCB goals to seal the win for the Young Lions. OCB is now in sixth in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Meanwhile, Huntsville City FC remains winless through 10 matches and stays at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. OCB’s next match will be on the road Sunday at Inter Miami CF II. 

Southampton Clinches Promotion to Premier League

Southampton booked its return to the Premier League with a 1-0 over Leeds United in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Sunday. Adam Armstrong scored the lone goal in this match as the Saints returned to the top flight after being relegated the previous season. Southampton joins Leicester City and Ipswich Town, securing promotion to the Premier League. Despite finishing third in the table, Leeds’ playoff woes continue as this is the sixth time it missed out on securing promotion and finished its season with only one win out of its last six matches. 

Free Kicks

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Monday and I’ll see you next time.

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