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Lion Links: 10/17/15



This is getting ridiculous.

The Lions grabbed their fifth-straight victory with a 2-1 win over New York City FC on Friday, keeping their playoff hopes alive and giving Orlando fans everywhere an excuse to break out the "little brother" chants whenever they face New York again.

Orlando City doesn't control its own destiny as it chases a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs, but the Lions have done everything in their power to make the postseason a reality. Let's not worry about that yet though, because we've got some Saturday morning Lion Links to get to!

Recapping the Win Against NYCFC

The Lions just can't stop winning these days, getting it done with a Cyle Larin header in the 62nd minute and a second goal eight minutes later that electrified the 43,179 fans at the Citrus Bowl. Orlando finds itself one point behind Montreal in the quest for the Eastern Conference playoffs, with the season finale in Chester next weekend.

We've got everything you missed from another exciting night at the Citrus Bowl…

Lions Honor Inaugural Alumni Class During Halftime Ceremony

We talk about players who are #ForeverALion a lot around here (still have that jersey ready for you, Dom), but Orlando City made it official on Friday, inducting over 40 players into their inaugural class.

From the club's official press release:

There is a long line of players that make up the historical backbone of Orlando City SC’s success. To honor their contributions, the Lions are launching the Orlando City Alumni Association to conclude the regularly-scheduled Major League Soccer (MLS) season with over 40 former Lions, who played between 1985 and 2014.

The players from Orlando City, the Orlando Lions, and the Orlando Sundogs honored at halftime were: Alex Acosta, Yordany Alvarez, Greg Brick, Justin Bryant, Keith Buckley, Paul Butler, Robin Chan, Lou Cioffi, Patrick Dicks, Mark Dillon, Aziz Essafi, Steve Freeman, Ian Fuller, Michael Garvanian, Don Gatanis, Ian Gill, Fiji Haig, John Higgins, Kenny Higgins, Paul Holmes, Lou Karbiener, Oyvind Klausen, Ajit Korgaokar, Mark Lamb, Nick "Lane-O" Lane, Sheldon Lee, Erik Leibin, John Lewis, Declan Link, Marcos Machado, David Mackey, Kirk Mackey, James O'Connor, Chris Payne, Anthony Pulis, Andrew Restrepo, Jason Riegler, Mark Stell, Erik Ustruck, Rob Valentino and Tom Wurdack.

If you see any of these legends around Orlando this weekend, be sure to tip your cap.

Germany Allegedly Bought the 2006 World Cup

While I would argue that every country to host soccer's biggest tournament technically "bought the World Cup," these allegations appear to be a little more serious.

New information suggests the officials in charge of Germany's 2006 World Cup bid set up a slush fund to purchase the votes of FIFA members. The best part is, FIFA was apparently aware of this whole thing — information that really shouldn't be surprising if you know anything about international soccer's governing body.

This is definitely something to keep your eye on, because it's not like the German football federation has a squeaky clean record. Franz Beckenbauer led that German bid committee, and the former New York Cosmos star has already faced disciplinary action for not complying with a FIFA investigation.

Does MLS Have a Sponsorship Problem?

Don't tell the Red Bulls.

A recent article from fellow SB Nation site Black and Red United claims that MLS could have a sponsorship issue looming. It all centers around the league's recent deal with definitely-not-a-gambling-site Draft Kings, which is at the center of numerous allegations of insider trading and corruption.

That sponsorship by itself might just be something at which we rolled our eyes and then just moved on. However, MLS has other sponsors as well: Three of the league's teams are sponsored by multi-level marketing companies. Multi-level marketing is a business model where a company's sales force is almost entirely independent contractors, and they are paid for their sales as well as for recruiting new salespeople to the company. If you've been on Facebook in the past couple of years, you almost definitely have a friend who has tried to recruit you into one of these companies.

In other words, several of the league's biggest sponsors follow a problematic business model that could lead to legal and economic issues down the road. None of these potential lawsuits would implicate the league directly, but they could cause them to lose any of these sponsors and the valuable financial resources that come with them.

Seriously, we're talking about a lot of money.

Roster Changes for the USWMNT Ahead of Orlando Friendly

With the celebration phase of the USWNT's post-World Cup friendlies starting to wear off, Jill Ellis is already starting to think about building the team she will take to Brazil next summer.

Ellis has named seven new players to the squad that will take on Brazil this month at the Citrus Bowl. The newbies include Jaelene Hinkle, Gina Lewandowski, Emily Sonnett, Samantha Mewis, Christine Nairn, Lindsey Horan, and Stephanie McCaffrey. Crystal Dunn will also be on the roster, though she was one of the last players cut from the World Cup team last summer.

With a couple players expected to hang up their cleats between now and the Olympics, the journey to the big time could begin for several of these young women. And it looks like it's going to start in Orlando.

As Long as They Get Alex Morgan…

* * *

That's it for today, Mane Landers, let's enjoy the weeken and pull for New England Revolution tonight.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/12/24

Leagues Cup forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup win, USMNT U-23 loses to Japan, NWSL expansion options, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. The USMNT plays tonight in Orlando, and I hope that you have tickets. If not, we can still watch as we wait for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday. On a personal note, this Friday will mark my ninth anniversary with The Mane Land. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I’m glad you’ve been there with us. Here’s to many more years to come. Let’s get to the links.

Leagues Cup Forgets Orlando’s U.S. Open Cup Win

Orlando City is playing in the Leagues Cup starting at the end of July and here’s a nice guide to Orlando’s group for the tournament. Of course, the Leagues Cup organizers want you to be pumped so that you watch and buy tickets. I think that is something we should do simply to support the club. However, I don’t think they went about promoting the competition in quite the right way. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the tournament’s social media team stated the Leagues Cup would be Orlando’s chance to win its first trophy. Did you catch the mistake? Taylor Twellman did.

Good on you, Taylor. Facundo Torres was indeed brilliant in that match, as was Benji Michel. Of course, there were others that caught the faux pas as well.

I think we should also be mentioning the USL Championships, but what do I know? Evidently, more than the Leagues Cup’s social media team.

USMNT to Honor Pulse Victims

There’s plenty of fake, corporate shows of support for Pride Month , but in general I think that the USMNT and USWNT have done a good job of being legitimate allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Tonight, the USMNT will play a friendly against Brazil at Camping World Stadium on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The players will be wearing Pride jerseys to honor those that lost their lives so senselessly eight years ago.

In terms of the game, the USMNT will be without Josh Sargent for the match, and Tyler Adams will only get limited minutes if he plays, as both are coming back from injuries. Get well before the Copa America, lads.

Lions on International Duty

The United States U-23 Men’s National Team lost 2-0 to Japan in its final friendly match before the Olympics. Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire found himself on a bit of an island up top as the U.S. had difficulty moving the ball through the midfield. Hopefully, the U.S. got such play out of their system heading into the Olympics.

OCB’s Wilfredo Rivera made the most of his time playing in Puerto Rico’s World Cup qualifier against Anguilla, scoring a brace in the 8-0 victory. This win comes after a scoreless draw with El Salvador last week and Puerto Rico’s remaining group games during this round of qualifying will be next June.

Exploring NWSL Expansion Options

The NWSL will be expanding to 16 teams in 2026 with many cities vying for the next franchise. The leaders include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Denver, and Jacksonville are potential choices as well. If it was to be given to either Atlanta or Jacksonville they would be regional rivals for the Orlando Pride. The league is expected to make a decision by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to the United States U-15 Women’s National Team, which won 4-0 over Germany.
  • Did you ever have one of those dreams that was a little scary, but also absolutely hilarious? This preview of Inter Miami’s new mascot is a bit like that. To misquote Jaws: “Ever seen an Inter Miami mascot’s eyes, Chief? He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.”
  • The Cayman Islands Men’s National Football Team forfeited its match against Cuba because many of its players are on visas in the United States. If those players were to travel to Cuba, the U.S. may have canceled those visas due to travel restrictions.
  • This is one of the most ridiculous no-calls I’ve ever seen. India got royally hosed.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Orlando City and Orlando Pride matches this Saturday night. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/11/24

Julie Doyle up for Goal of the Week, scouting Brazil ahead of USMNT match, Valencia fans convicted of racial abuse, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. After a brief break, Orlando City will be back in action when it takes on LAFC at home on Saturday. The Orlando Pride will visit a struggling North Carolina Courage side on the same day, while Orlando City B will have an oddly placed Thursday match against Chattanooga FC. With such a busy week ahead of us, it’s little surprise that we have a lot to talk over this morning. Let’s get into it.

Julie Doyle Up for Goal of the Week

Pride forward Julie Doyle has been nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week for her strike against the San Diego Wave during Friday’s 1-1 draw. Doyle opened the scoring in the 36th minute with an extremely well taken goal that came from a Barbra Banda assist. The Zambian forward made a run down the right wing and crossed for Doyle, but the ball was a little behind her and the chance looked to have gone. It hadn’t though, because Doyle contorted her body, hung out a foot, and let the momentum from the ball carry it into the back of San Diego’s net. Make sure you go vote for her to win!

Brazil Scouting Report

The United States Men’s National Team will play its final friendly before Copa America tomorrow at Camping World Stadium, right here in Orlando. The idea of any USMNT game is slightly nauseating after the Yanks were throttled 5-1 by Colombia on Saturday, but the fact that they’ll square off against a loaded Brazil side means things aren’t going to be any easier. While Brazil has struggled early on in World Cup qualifying, it will likely run out a front three of Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr., and Raphina that’s capable of causing plenty of damage. Brazil prefers to control the ball and build from the back with short passing movements, but has no qualms about ceding possession and breaking on the counter, something that caused no shortage of issues for the U.S. against Colombia.

Valencia Fans Convicted of Racial Abuse

A trio of Valencia fans will serve eight months in prison after being convicted of racially abusing Vinicius Jr. Additionally, they are barred from entering soccer stadiums for two years and will pay for court proceedings. The convictions are the first for racism in professional soccer in Spain, and a case was opened after the fans made monkey noises and gestures during a game in May of 2023. The Brazilian forward in particular has faced racial abuse during his time playing in Spain, but he’s far from the only player, as the trial for a fan accused of abusing Inaki Williams during a match in 2020 has still yet to even begin.

The Soccer Tournament Concludes

The Soccer Tournament wrapped up last night with a pair of engrossing championship matches. In the women’s bracket, US Women defeated the North Carolina Courage by a score of 6-3, with Talia Dellapuerta scoring the winning goal. US Women featured United States Women’s National Team greats Heather O’Reilly and Ali Kreiger, and the team won the first women’s edition of the tournament and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

On the men’s side, former Orlando City player Nani and his team Nani FC fell to La Bombonera, which scored mere minutes into the match and never looked back on its way to a convincing 4-0 win. La Bombonera becomes the second team to win it all following Newtown Pride FC’s victory in last year’s inaugural tournament.

Free Kicks

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/10/24

Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo won’t play for Uruguay in Copa America, Pride and OCB draw, USMNT drilled by Colombia, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Alex Corrie

Hello, Mane Landers! I hope all is well down in Florida. I was busy at Under Armour all weekend and managing the broadcast operations for the NISA league’s matches last night. The Lions were off this weekend, but we had the Orlando Pride and OCB in action. We’ve got plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links. 

Torres and Araujo Not On Uruguay Squad for Copa America

Uruguay National Team manager Marcelo Bielsa confirmed his roster for the 2024 Copa America over the weekend, and Orlando City’s Facundo Torres and Cesar Araujo didn’t make the final roster.

Torres and Araujo played briefly in the second half in Uruguay’s 4-0 win over Mexico in a friendly match last week. Uruguay will now prepare for its upcoming group stage matches in the Copa America against Panama, Bolivia, and the United States. Torres and Araujo will be back with Orlando City this week to get ready for their upcoming matchup against LAFC on Saturday.

Orlando Pride, San Diego Wave Play to 1-1 Draw

The Orlando Pride drew 1-1 Friday against the San Diego Wave at Snapdragon Stadium and saw their NWSL record win streak end at eight matches. Julie Doyle scored the opener for the Pride, but the Wave were able to grab an equalizer in the second half as both sides got a point. The Pride remains unbeaten this season in the NWSL. After this weekend’s results across the league, Orlando and the Kansas City Current are tied with 28 points, but Kansas City is in first on goal differential. The Pride will be on the road again this weekend to take on the North Carolina Courage Saturday.

OCB Draws at Home vs. Carolina Core FC, Snags Shootout Point

On Friday, Orlando City B drew 2-2 against Carolina Core FC at Osceola County Stadium. The Young Lions were off to a poor start early in the match, trailing 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, OCB got things back on track with goals from Alex Freeman and Imanol Almaguer to tie the match. It went to penalties after finishing tied. OCB won the extra point with a 6-5 shootout win over Carolina. That result puts the Young Lions back in the playoff hunt in seventh in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. OCB will be back in action Thursday at home against Chattanooga FC.

Colombia Dominates USMNT in Friendly Action

The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 5-1 to Colombia Saturday at FedEx Field and suffered its heaviest defeat under Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. It wasn’t good from the start as the USMNT conceded two goals in the first 19 minutes of the match in the first half. Tim Weah pulled one back for the U.S. before Colombia added three more goals towards the end of the second half to seal the win. Colombia is on a seven-match winning streak and is unbeaten in 22 matches. The last time the USMNT gave up this many goals was in the 2009 Gold Cup final in a 5-0 defeat to Mexico. The U.S. needs to improve fast with its Copa America opener less than two weeks from now. It will be a quick turnaround for the Americans as they take on Brazil Wednesday at Camping World Stadium in their final friendly match before Copa America starts.

Free Kicks

  • FC Dallas has announced the departure of Head Coach Nico Estevez. Assistant Coach Peter Luccin will lead the team on an interim basis while the club begins its search for a new head coach. FC Dallas is 13th in the Western Conference with 14 points.
  • The Chicago Red Stars broke an NWSL attendance record in their match over the weekend as 35,038 fans showed up at Wrigley Field, but the Red Stars lost 2-1 to Bay FC.
  • Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney is renewing his efforts to lure former Real Madrid star Gareth Bale out of retirement to join the club. He also stated that the club’s offer is still on the table.
  • In Jesse Marsch’s second match as Canada’s head coach, Canada held France to a scoreless draw in a friendly match on Sunday.

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

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