Connect with us

Lion Links

Lion Links: 8/6/16

Published

on

It’s Saturday again, Mane Landers, and the MLS Secondary Transfer Window has closed. After Jason Kreis claimed we would have a quiet deadline day, the Lions brought in three players. I’m as excited to see Matias Perez Garcia in Kreis’ new offense as I am disappointed to see Darwin Ceren leave. But we’ve got a lot more on that trade in today’s Lion Links.

Bringing in Mikey Ambrose and Tony Rocha is an exciting step in the relationship between OCB and the main squad and it proves you don’t need to come through the academy to earn an MLS contract. Now, on to today’s edition of Lion Links:

Three Lions Loaned to OCB

If you’re thinking about travelling out to Eastern Florida State College for the match tonight, you might have a chance to see a few more first-teamers in action. Cristian Higuita, Tommy Redding, and newly-signed Mikey Ambrose have all been loaned down to Orlando City B for their match against Toronto FC II this weekend. Higuita will be serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation and is unavailable for the match against Seattle. Redding is coming off a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last five matches and will be looking to get his fitness back. Ambrose, who has been with OCB all season, is likely surplus this weekend. It’s a good move from Kreis and the coaching staff to keep players sharp — and something we saw Adrian Heath do with Luke Boden earlier this year — and hopefully it continues in the future.

Cyle Larin wins Goal of the Week

It was his 11th goal of the season, and Cyle Larin’s half-volley to open the scoring against New England was his third MLS Goal of the Week this year. Kevin Molino’s pass deflected right into the young Canadian’s path and he slotted it coolly past Bobby Shuttleworth. We’ve seen Larin make plenty of goals look easy in the past year and a half and this one was no different as it spurred Orlando on to a comeback victory.

Joe Bendik Threepeat

Joe Bendik has won his third MLS Save of the Week in a row and his eighth on the season. Bendik tipped Charlie Davies’ late attempt over the bar to preserve Orlando’s two-goal lead. It’s the second time this season that the Lions have won both weekly awards, the other time being another Bendik-Larin combination in Week 12.

Perez Garcia Trade a Loss for the Lions?

Our friends over at Center Line Soccer came out with their analysis of the Darwin Ceren and Matias Perez Garcia swap, and they believe that San Jose came out on top. Ceren is a good player and during his time in Orlando he was a key player for the Lions, but with Jason Kreis’ new system he looked to be on his way out of the starting lineup. Ceren didn’t mesh as well as Antonio Nocerino or Servando Carrasco and he’s not quite as good defensively as Cristian Higuita. Orlando’s defense isn’t quite as bad as last season (though still not good) so it’s interesting that they would use that as a reason for Ceren’s statistical decline.

Orlando managed to deal the Salvadoran while his value was still high and — in Trump-esque form — got a Designated Player and is making San Jose pay for him. Not to mention that MPG has the creative spark to fit into Kreis’ style of play. Was it a home run for Orlando? Tough to say this early, but the Lions have got more flexibility up front, another creative spark, and some Kaka insurance for a soon-to-be bench player. Hard to call it a loss.

Leicester City Owners buy Their Players BMWs

In May, there was talk of the Leicester City squad receiving a $41,000 Mercedes as a gift for winning the 2015-2016 Premier League. Instead, Leicester’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, bought 19 BMW i8s, listed at $144,000, for the champions. The blue BMWs were waiting for the team in the parking lot of King Power Stadium. Presumably N’Golo Kante wasn’t among those who received a car, but now he can probably afford his own in a slightly darker shade of blue. These are just a little awesome:

That’s everything important in the Orlando soccer world and beyond right now. Check back in tonight for our take on the OCB match and the USWNT vs. France, and again tomorrow for all of our coverage when Orlando City takes on the Seattle Sounders.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/21/24

Facundo Torres earns praise, Orlando Pride play the Utah Royals tonight, FC Cincinnati linked with Weston McKennie, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! This weekend is what soccer fans dream of, with NWSL, MLS, Copa America, and Euro 2024 matches to enjoy. The Orlando Pride are in action tonight, Orlando City plays Saturday, and the U.S. begins its Copa America campaign on Sunday. But first, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Haley Carter!

Facundo Torres Makes MLS Team of the Matchday Bench

Orlando forward Facundo Torres earned a spot on the bench of the MLS Team of the Matchday after providing a goal and an assist in Orlando’s 2-2 draw against Charlotte FC. Both contributions were crucial to Orlando getting a point on the road. It was only Torres’ third goal of the season, so hopefully this gets him going. If the Lions are to claw their way up the Eastern Conference table, they’ll need more performances like this from their talisman.

Orlando Pride Host the Utah Royals Tonight

The Orlando Pride will aim to get back in the win column tonight when they take on the Utah Royals at home. The last time these two teams squared off was on April 12, with Orlando winning 1-0 in the first of eight straight victories for the Pride. Another match with the Royals could be just what the doctor ordered for an Orlando side that’s been held to draws in its past two matches. While Utah is having a difficult season and sits last in the league standings, it did get its first road win on Sunday against Bay FC.

FC Cincinnati Reportedly Wants Weston McKennie

American midfielder Weston McKennie could be coming to the U.S., as FC Cincinnati has reportedly made an offer to sign him from Juventus. Cincinnati is willing to spend up to $15 million to bring McKennie on as a Designated Player. The 25-year-old has one year left on his contract with Juventus, but he’s likely leaving the Italian club this summer if reports are to be believed. McKennie was part of FC Dallas’ academy, but never actually played in an MLS game before heading to Europe.

Spain Wins to Advance in Euro 2024

Spain booked its spot in the knockout stage of Euro 2024 after beating Italy 1-0 in a match that didn’t quite live up to its billing. It does set up for an intriguing matchup between Italy and Croatia on Monday, though. England and Denmark traded first-half goals but neither team could find a winner in a 1-1 draw. In the other Group C match, Orlando City defender David Brekalo came on as a late substitute in Slovenia’s 1-1 draw against Serbia.

As for today’s slate of games, Slovakia will face off against Ukraine, Poland plays Austria, and France takes on the Netherlands. We’ll see if Kylian Mbappe will play after breaking his nose in France’s opening match.

Latest FIFA Rankings Unveiled

Despite losing 5-1 to Colombia in a friendly, the U.S. didn’t drop enough points to be unseated from 11th in the latest FIFA rankings. The U.S. remains the highest-ranked Concacaf nation, and Mexico dropped to 15th after losing to both Uruguay and Brazil in friendlies. Argentina is still at the top of the rankings, while Brazil leapfrogged England for fourth place. The rankings usually don’t matter all too much, but they are used to determine pots for the World Cup. With Euro 2024 and Copa America going on, things could shake up a bit for some of the world’s best teams.

Free Kicks

  • Peter Musa was named MLS Player of the Matchday for his hat trick in FC Dallas’ 5-3 win against Minnesota United. It was the Croatian striker’s first hat trick since he joined Dallas this past off-season, and he now has eight goals this season.
  • Now with Cruz Azul, former Atlanta United forward Georgios Giakoumakis took some parting shots at MLS in regards to how losses are OK compared to Liga MX. I find it a pretty oblivious thing to say considering Atlanta fired its head coach a day after losing to Charlotte FC earlier this month.
  • Steve Cooper, who was sacked by Nottingham Forest six months ago, was hired as Leicester City’s new manager.
  • Of the 47 goals scored so far in Euro 2024, five have been own goals and only Germany’s Jamal Musiala has scored more than once. None of the goals have been scored from the penalty spot as well.
  • Burnley is reportedly in talks with Ruud van Nistelrooy to be the club’s next manager after Vincent Kompany’s departure.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend. Go Orlando!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/20/24

Orlando City draws against Charlotte FC, Wilfredo Rivera joins first team, Ally Watt speaks on Black Women’s Player Collective, and more.

Published

on

Image courtesy of Orlando City B / Mark Thor

How’s it going, Mane Landers? Last night’s Orlando City match featured plenty of ups and downs, but it was a pretty exciting way to spend a Wednesday night. Hopefully the Cardiac Cats weren’t too hard on your heart. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s all wish a happy birthday to Orlando Pride defender Celia!

Orlando City Draws Against Charlotte FC

The Lions went on the road for a match against Charlotte FC and earned a point with a 2-2 draw. Matches between the two teams are usually close affairs and this one was no different, as neither team did enough to claim victory. One one hand, equalizing twice on the road against a stingy defense isn’t the worst outcome for Orlando. On the other hand, Charlotte played most of the match a man down and a win was definitely in the cards for the Lions. Hopefully Orlando can break this five-game winless streak when it hosts the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Wilfredo Rivera Available for the First Team

Orlando City B midfielder Wilfredo Rivera is with the first team this week after signing a short-term agreement with Orlando City. He was an unused substitute in Wednesday’s match in Charlotte and will be available for selection in Orlando’s match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday. The 20-year-old signed a similar agreement in March of this year, but has yet to make his MLS debut. Rivera came off the bench in OCB’s match against Chattanooga FC on Thursday and scored a brace earlier this month while on international duty with Puerto Rico. The signing was necessary as Ramiro Enrique is on an excused absence for a personal matter.

Ally Watt Discusses Black Women’s Player Collective

Orlando Pride forward Ally Watt talked about her role as the team’s representative for the Black Women’s Player Collective, which is a non-profit organization created by Black players in the NWSL. Watt spoke on how the collective allows her and other players to provide opportunities for young girls that they didn’t have. One such initiative is the creation of mini-pitches to give more safe and equitable spaces for Black girls to play soccer.

Copa America is Upon Us

This year’s Copa America, which will pit the top 16 nations in the Western Hemisphere against each other, kicks off tonight. Here’s a great guide to each team’s notable players and chances to win the tournament. Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was noted as the star to watch on Peru’s squad. He has his work cut out for him though in a group that includes Argentina, Canada, and Ecuador. As for the U.S., Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna are key players for the team’s aspirations at a deep run.

Chuck Booth over at CBS Sports also ranked each team heading into the tournament, placing the U.S. fifth on the list. Argentina tops the rankings, and I was a bit surprised to see Brazil in fourth. Peru is last, but hopefully Gallese and Wilder Cartagena can help prove the doubters wrong.

Germany Advances in Euro 2024

Germany followed up its opening win against Scotland with a 2-0 win over Hungary to become the first team to clinch a spot in the knockout round of Euro 2024. In the other Group A matchup, Switzerland and Scotland battled to a 1-1 draw that included a great goal from Xherdan Shaqiri after a bad giveaway by Scotland.

It looked like Albania was headed towards another frustrating loss after giving up the lead in the second half, but a late strike by Klaus Gjasula salvaged a 2-2 draw against Croatia. Today’s slate of matches features a showdown between Spain and Italy, along with Denmark’s clash with England. We also may get to see Orlando City center back David Brekalo take the field in Slovenia’s match against Serbia.

Free Kicks

  • Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Ryan Gauld won MLS Goal of the Matchday for his strike in stoppage time against the New England Revolution.
  • FC Cincinnati’s Luca Orellano scored one of the best goals of the season with a pinpoint strike from downtown.
  • NJ/NY Gotham FC extended its unbeaten streak to nine games, with rookie Maycee Ball scoring a late winner to beat the San Diego Wave 2-1.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

Continue Reading

Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/19/24

Orlando City needs to score, Duncan McGuire in demand, Orlando City B match postponed, and more.

Published

on

Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

Happy Juneteenth, Mane Landers. It is a day to celebrate the end of chattel slavery in the United States and the progress of the Black community in this country. There is always more work to be done, but celebrating the progress to date is worthwhile. Today is also a match day for Orlando City, but for now let’s get to the links.

Scoring Goals is Important

Former Orlando City gaffer Adrian Heath is known for saying that goals change games. Orlando City has not scored many goals this season, making it hard for the club to change games and get results. Head Coach Oscar Pareja is taking the positives from the last match, but he will need to turn things around in Orlando’s attack if he’s to snap the club’s four-game winless streak. The first opportunity is tonight against Charlotte FC.

Competition Grows for Duncan McGuire’s Services

Following the Blackburn Rovers debacle in the last transfer window, we know that Duncan McGuire has interest in moving abroad. If not for incompetence on Blackburn’s part he would already be in Europe. The other interested party in that saga was Sheffield Wednesday, a club that is reportedly still interested in signing the young striker. Now, the English club may have some competition from Torino in Serie A, with other Serie A clubs interested as well. Hopefully, Orlando City will be able to secure McGuire’s services, though I expect he wants to go abroad.

Tonight’s Orlando City B Match Postponed

Orlando City B was set to take on New York City FC II today, but the match has been postponed. The new date and kickoff time have not yet been announced.

It’s not the first time this game’s date has been changed, as it was originally set for June 29 when the season’s schedule was announced. The Young Lions may not be complaining much about not having to play on the road on relatively short rest. As it stands, OCB’s next match will now be against Atlanta United 2 on June 26.

Hines Remembers Match After Pulse Shooting

It’s been a week since the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. Yesterday, it was eight years since Orlando City played the San Jose Earthquakes in the first Orlando City match following the shooting. Orlando Pride Head Coach Seb Hines was a starting center back for the Lions in that match. He remembers the emotions of that day. Hines spoke on how it felt to get up for a match, but also taking time in the 49th minute to honor the 49 people whose lives were taken away too soon. He still has the rainbow sweatbands from that match that he was wearing when he scored a header for Orlando City. Hines remembers the good and the bad, and so should we.

Upgrading the NWSL Match Experience

NWSL clubs are trying to improve the matchday experience for their fans. That looks different everywhere, but at Inter&Co Stadium that experience includes local food vendors as a part of the “Orlando Made” initiative by Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. Of course, great food will only get attendance to a certain level. The real crowd pleaser is winning, and the Pride have been doing a lot of that so far this season.

Free Kicks


That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the match tonight. As always, Vamos Orlando!

Continue Reading

Trending