Happy #ThirstyThursday everyone! Today, I'm going to recommend baking yourself some goat cheese and matching that with a nice Merlot. Why goat cheese, you ask? Well, the G.O.A.T. and Orlando City captain, Kaká, is hosting his second live Q&A on his Facebook page. Do yourself a favor and go check it out.
Orlando City is Google's Second Most Trending Team In The World
Here's an interesting tidbit for you: Orlando City Soccer Club was the second most trending team in the world, according to Google. Finishing only behind FC Barcelona, Orlando City saw the highest spike in traffic between 2014 and 2015. Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins had this to say:
"This is one of the proudest moments for our front office staff, technical team, players and fans (…) It’s a testament to the hard work we’ve all done to elevate this team and capture the hearts of a growing global fan base, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of our soccer community."
The club is no stranger to engaging with its fans online, with social media initiatives like #FillTheBowl before Orlando City’s inaugural MLS game in the Citrus Bowl versus NYCFC, #MakeItCount during the late season playoff push, and #Larin4ROY which saw our favorite Canadian win MLS Rookie of the Year. Continue to #DefyExpectations, Orlando.
Orlando City Parts Ways With Assistant Coach Ian Fuller
Ian Fuller was dismissed from Adrian Heath's coaching staff yesterday. Details surrounding his dismissal haven't surfaced, but the move is surprising, as Fuller and Heath are very close and Fuller was well respected by players. Fuller had been with the Austin Aztex before the team moved to Orlando City, and was a player-coach under Heath for three years before becoming an assistant in 2014.
Orlando Pride Add Khano Smith as Assistant Coach
In a move that we here at The Mane Land covered yesterday, former MLS veteran Khano Smith has joined coach Tom Sermanni's coaching staff. Smith is coming from a successful Southern New Hampshire University team and has experience as a scout and Player Development Coordinator with New England.
Celebrating Abby Wambach's Career
Last night saw the end of two prolific careers; USWNT’s Abby Wambach and Japan’s Homare Sawa both retired yesterday. Wambach retires as the all-time leading goal scorer in international play for both men and women, with 184 goals. She is a six-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, and a recipient of the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Along with personal honors, she has also been a member of two Olympic gold medal teams and a World Cup champion. Off the pitch, Wambach became an ambassador for Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization to end homophobia and transphobia in sports, and educate athletic communities to stand up against LGBT discrimination. Watch her USWNT teammates say goodbye to her here:
Carli Lloyd wins 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year
Adding onto an already positive year, Carli Lloyd was voted the 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, winning the award over teammates Becky Sauerbrunn, Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Hope Solo. Lloyd garnered 59 percent of the vote, while Sauerbrunn finished in second. Unfortunately, the U.S. Women's National Team couldn't follow up Lloyd's win with one of its own, as the USWNT fell to China Wednesday night, 1-0, in New Orleans.
Louisville City Looking Towards Potential MLS Move
Ah, MLS Expansion, the manifest destiny of the beautiful game. Our former Kentuckian partners have started looking into building themselves up, and with MLS Commissioner Don Garber's recent statements about wanting to expand the league to 28 teams in the near future, Louisville City would like to throw its name into the group of would-be expansion teams. Ultimately, the city is looking into starting plans for a stadium, regardless if MLS is in its future or not. It's encouraging to see that even cities that host USL teams are looking into building soccer specific stadiums. Although Louisville may seem like a fringe candidate to join, let us not forget Orlando City's own path to expansion: a smaller market with an enthusiastic fan-base. Coupled with having clubs nearby in Columbus, Chicago, Kansas City, and Atlanta, Louisville is in a prime location to have nearby rivals ready and waiting.
Former Orlando City GM Paul McDonough to Join Atlanta United FC
So, it didn't quite turn out like the ending to Any Given Sunday, but McDonough joining Atlanta United FC as their Director of Soccer Operations is a good move for him and their club. McDonough will work under Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra, and will focus on many of the same areas that he did during his tenure with Orlando City, such as player acquisitions, scouting, salary cap, and day-to-day club operations.
Kaylyn Kyle is out traveling the world, which is awesome. She got to feed a horse in Dublin!…Did you know today marks the 28th anniversary of Final Fantasy releasing on the Famicon?…Birthdays include UFC’s Chuck Liddell turning 46, Manny Pacquaio is 37…and finally Kim Jong-il died four years ago today.
That's it for today. Play us out, John Terry
Lion Links: 9/23/22
Lions and Herons meet again, Carly Nelson is writing a book, NWSL free agency opens, and more.
Happy Founder’s Day, Mane Landers! It was on this day in 2014 that our fearless leader and Managing Editor Michael Citro started our first ever WordPress website. It’s safe to say that I’m sure The Mane Land has impacted your life as much as it has mine over the years, whether that be through daily reading or weekly podcasts. Cheers to Michael and all those who have come before me.
In my own personal news, I have been grinding away on the new EA FC 24 (the franchise formerly known as EA’s FIFA.) So far, the gameplay and updates have been great in my initial 15+ hours of play, and my online Ultimate Team is starting to really take its shape. I’m sure in a couple weeks that I’ll transition to a traditional Career Mode and take the Lions all the way to an MLS Cup and beyond.
Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a very happy birthday to everyone’s favorite defensive midfielder, Wilder Cartagena!
Third Bout for Orlando City and Inter Miami
Orlando City and Inter Miami have already met twice this campaign. Sunday’s match will look to break the deadlock between the two rivals as both clubs have a victory to their name in this year’s series. In May, the Lions grabbed a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale-based club. The two sides met for a second time in the knockout round of Leagues Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium. No matter the result this time around, Orlando City has already clinched a playoff spot, however, the Herons need every point they can get to attempt to do the same.
Carly Nelson, Goalkeeper and Author
It isn’t unheard of to learn that an athlete might have tried another sport before finding soccer, Orlando Pride goalkeeper Carly Nelson came from a background of gymnastics, tennis, basketball, and baseball before her father started a club soccer team with her in mind. While Nelson might have idolized USWNT legend Hope Solo as a child, she started her playing days as a forward, winger, and midfielder. Outside of protecting the Pride’s net, Nelson is spending time writing a book about her life growing up in Utah and the issues her family faced to hopefully help others that might find themselves in similar situations.
NWSL Opens 2024 Free Agency
The National Women’s Soccer League has officially opened the league’s unrestricted and restricted free agency periods. In accordance with the NWSL Players’ Association’s collective bargaining agreement, eligible free agents can begin negotiations for their 2024 Standard Player Agreements. Players eligible for unrestricted free agency include all who have at least five years of service within the NWSL and contracts expiring in 2023, while players eligible for restricted free agency include those who have at least three years of service. For the Orlando Pride, defender Kylie Strom is set to be an unrestricted free agent and midfielder Jordyn Listro is under restricted terms. Any club that currently holds the rights of a restricted free agent has a seven-day period to match an incoming offer from another club or else the player may sign with the new club under the terms of the offer.
USMNT’s Tyler Adams Nearing Return
Tyler Adams will not make his Bournemouth debut this weekend, but he could return as early as next week. Bournemouth’s manager, Andoni Iraola, provided a positive update on the U.S. Men’s National Team captain as he finishes up rehabbing a long-term hamstring injury.
“He has started this week at least to train partially with the group, so probably we can have a chance of having him next week or two weeks, something like this. Tyler is really close because once you start training partially with the group, it’s a matter of sensations, and if you are physically good enough. He has a very good physical base. So I think it will take not a long time to see Tyler with the team.”
Adams has not played since March after having a hamstring surgery. Even with a known injury, the 24-year-old still completed a move from Leeds United to Bournemouth following Leeds’ relegation to keep him in the top flight.
MLS Weekend Preview
Aside from the Florida derby, there are plenty of matches to be excited about around the league this weekend. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching a bit of the D.C. United and New York Red Bulls match. Manager Wayne Rooney’s club is right on the bubble in a tight Eastern Conference race while the Red Bulls can do themselves a huge service and come back into the playoff picture with a win. Out in the Western Conference, there is a real buzz around a Portland Timbers squad after a manager sacking. It could be a huge win for the Timbers and likely push them above the play-in round should they find a result against the Colorado Rapids.
- FC Cincinnati has signed its captain Luciano Acosta to a contract extension through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.
- For the third-straight vote, an Inter Miami player has Goal of the Matchday honors as Robert Taylor got 44.5% of the vote for Matchday 33.
- FC Cincinnati wingback Álvaro Barreal has been nominated for the 2023 FIFA Púskas Award and is only the second-ever MLS player to earn a nomination after Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first in 2019 with the LA Galaxy.
- The United States, Mexico, and Canada are joining forces to tackle any “collusive schemes” involving goods or services connected to the 2026 FIFA World Cup in an effort to avoid exploitation of the major event.
- Athletico Paranaense’s18-year-old Vitor Roque has likely played his last game for the club before his move to Barcelona after the striker has reportedly torn ligaments in his right ankle.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Saturday. Be safe on Sunday at the match. Stay hydrated and look out for those around you. Vamos Orlando!
Lion Links: 9/22/23
Orlando City prepares for Inter Miami, MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day is Sunday, USWNT wins against South Africa, and much more.
Happy Friday! It’s been a pretty busy week of apartment hunting and work for me, so I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation this weekend. I don’t have many plans, but I did make sure to carve out a few hours to make a drink and get some reading done. My book club is fairly low maintenance, but I’ll be behind if I don’t finish Fourth Wing before the second book in the series comes out in November. Let’s get into today’s links!
Orlando City Takes On Inter Miami This Weekend
Following a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC earlier this week, Orlando City will aim to bounce back when it hosts rival Inter Miami this Sunday. Orlando has a chance to set club records for the most wins and points in a season since it joined MLS in 2015. It will be the third meeting between the two clubs this season, with Orlando beating Miami 3-1 in May before falling 3-1 in the Leagues Cup’s knockout stage. Although Miami will be without Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba according to Head Coach Tata Martino, the Herons still have plenty of attacking talent in the form of Sergio Busquets, Leonardo Campana, and Josef Martinez.
Orlando City B Readies for MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day
Sunday will also be the final day of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season, with nearly every team in action. Here’s everything you need to know about Decision Day across the league, with playoff spots still up for grabs. Orlando City B has already clinched its spot in the postseason, but can secure fifth in the Eastern Conference when it takes on FC Cincinnati 2. However, the difference between fifth and a lower seed won’t matter too much due to a new rule this year where the second and third seed in each conference choose which lower seed it wants to host in the playoffs. The Golden Boot race is competitive as well, with OCB’s Jack Lynn tied at the top with New York City FC II’s Matt Myers. We’ll see if Lynn takes part in Sunday’s match after giving the first team needed depth last weekend.
USWNT Beats South Africa in Julie Ertz’s Finale
The United States Women’s National Team won 3-0 against South Africa in the first of two friendlies this month. All three of the USWNT’s goals came in the first half, with Lynn Williams bagging a brace. In her final USWNT game, Julie Ertz started and earned plenty of applause from the crowd at TQL Stadium when she was subbed off in the 36h minute. M.A. Vignola made her USWNT debut in the match as well, coming on at halftime. The two nations will play again on Sunday in what will be forward Megan Rapinoe’s last game with the USWNT.
Europa League Group Stage Kicks Off
The first round of Europa League group stage matches is over, with all 32 teams getting things started across Europe. Brighton & Hove Albion’s first Europa League match was a rough one, as the English club fell 3-2 at home against AEK Athens. The Spanish clubs also struggled, with Villarreal getting shut out 2-0 by Panathinaikos and Real Betis losing 1-0 to Rangers. Elsewhere, AS Roma beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 thanks to a winner from Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool won 3-1 over Austrian club LASK after trailing early on, and Marseille drew 3-3 with Ajax in a thriller. West Ham, Atalanta, Bayer Leverkusen, and SC Freiburg also won their group openers.
- Enjoy the sights and sounds from the Orlando City Foundation’s annual celebrity golf and footgolf tournament.
- Borussia Dortmund reportedly has no interest in signing Jadon Sancho from Manchester United. The 23-year-old spent four years with the German club before making the move to United in 2021.
- American defender Mark McKenzie scored a late equalizer in Genk’s 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League.
- Xavi Hernandez has reportedly signed a one-year contract extension with Barcelona.
- Here’s an interesting look into the shortage of referees in Europe and how abuse at the youth levels may be to blame.
That’s all I have for you today, Mane Landers. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!
Lion Links: 9/21/23
Orlando City clinches playoff berth despite loss, Eastern Conference standings remain close, USWNT plays South Africa tonight, and more.
How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s result wasn’t the best outcome by any means, but losing on the road on short rest after a huge win isn’t the worst thing in the world. We’ll just have to shake that loss off and look forward to more soccer while we have it. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando City B midfielder Imanol Almaguer!
Orlando City Clinch Playoff Spot Despite Loss
The Lions weren’t able to put together a comeback in their 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC. Playing at a narrow Citi Field, Orlando was not able to get much of anything going on offense and was shut out for the first time since July 8. The loss snapped Orlando’s six-game unbeaten streak in MLS play as well. Although the Lions are headed back to Florida emptyhanded, they did qualify for the playoffs due to other results in the league. Orlando will look to right the ship when it hosts Inter Miami this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Eastern Conference Remains Tight After Midweek Matches
Orlando wasn’t the only Eastern Conference team to clinch its spot in the playoffs after the latest midweek matches, with the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union both qualifying. Cucho Hernandez had a hat trick within the first 23 minutes of the Crew’s 3-0 win at home against the Chicago Fire. A penalty kick in stoppage time by Daniel Gazdag salvaged a point for the Union in a 2-2 draw with Charlotte FC. FC Cincinnati also needed a late equalizer from the penalty spot in its 1-1 draw with CF Montreal. As for how Orlando’s rivals fared, Atlanta United drew 1-1 with D.C. United and Miami beat Toronto FC, 4-0. Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba both exited in the first half and Miami Head Coach Tata Martino stated that neither will play against Orlando this weekend. Of course, that could just be misdirection. We’ll know for certain come Sunday.
USWNT Plays South Africa Tonight
The United States Women’s National Team will play its first match since the World Cup tonight when it faces South Africa tonight at 7:30 p.m. at TQL Stadium. Following Vlatko Andonovski’s departure last month, Twila Kilgore will coach the team for these friendlies. It will also be Julie Ertz’s final game after 10 years of playing for the USWNT. The 31-year-old announced her retirement last month and spoke more about her decision ahead of tonight’s match. After tonight, the USWNT will play South Africa again on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Champions League Group Stage Rolls On
More clubs got their first taste of this year’s Champions League action as the group stage kicked off this week. Arsenal’s campaign got off on the right foot, with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven that put the English club at the top of its group after a 1-1 draw between Sevilla and Lens. Manchester United had a rougher time, falling 4-3 on the road to Bayern Munich. Goalkeeper Andre Onana struggled and blamed himself for the loss. Real Madrid needed a goal from Jude Bellingham in stoppage time to win 1-0 over Union Berlin at home, while Lautaro Martinez scored a late equalizer in Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Napoli beat Braga 2-1, RB Leipzig won 2-0 against a Benfica side that was reduced to 10 men early on, and Galatasaray and Copenhagen split the points in a 2-2 result.
- A cheesesteak offered by Kappy’s Subs at Exploria Stadium is receiving some attention for being purple. I personally find the lack of cheese and tons of banana peppers weirder, although I’m sure it tastes pretty good.
- Most of the players on Spain’s women’s national team ended their boycott after an agreement was reached that will reportedly bring change to the federation.
- American defender Reggie Cannon will reportedly join Queens Park Rangers in the English Football League Championship.
- Tottenham midfielder Ivan Perisic will undergo surgery after suffering an ACL injury and will miss the remainder of the season.
- Marcelino has stepped down as Marseille’s head coach after less than three months at the helm. This decision comes in the midst of fans complaining about how the French club has been run.
- Here’s an interesting dive into which players have scored the most goals against a former club, with Robert Lewandowski at the top of the list for his crimes against Borussia Dortmund.
That’s all I have for you today. Be like a goldfish and enjoy your Thursday!
Orlando City Enjoyed the Best Summer Stretch in Team History
Lion Links: 9/23/22
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami: Three Keys to Victory
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Intelligence Report
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City at New York City FC: Five Takeaways
Orlando City6 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Five Takeaways
Orlando City7 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Final Score 4-3 as Lions’ Comeback Extends Unbeaten Run to Six
Orlando City5 days ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Player Grades and Man of the Match
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew SC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando City1 week ago
Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew: Three Keys to Victory
Orlando City4 days ago
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Intelligence Report
Orlando City3 days ago
Orlando City vs. New York City FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, and More
Orlando Pride6 days ago
Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More