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Lion Links: 8/9/16

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Welcome to Tuesday, Mane Landers, and even though the weekend didn't end how we would have liked, we have to remember the positives. One bright spark this season has been OCB goalkeeper Mark Ridgers, and since it's his birthday today, everyone here at The Mane Land HQ would like to wish him a happy birthday.

Sunday School

So Sunday’s loss to a struggling Seattle Sounders side was quite humbling and showed that new Head Coach Jason Kreis still has a lot to do to turn this franchise’s fortunes around. The lack of energy from Sunday’s game may be attributed to longer and harder training sessions, but signals a change in philosophy for the first team that we need to be stronger and fitter to compete in a stronger MLS. The trade of Darwin Cerén for Matías Pérez García indicates that Kreis is preparing for a new system that will help this team make the strides forward that both fans and the front office want. Here’s hoping that our next soccer lesson doesn’t take place in front of another national TV audience.

Loons are in for 2017

It appears that MLS will have 22 teams in 2017. We learned on Monday that Minnesota United FC could be signing up to join the league alongside Atlanta United next March.

Since they are still awaiting planning permission to build their new soccer specific stadium, they will be expecting to play home games at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium and have probably been brought in to keep the conferences in alignment with Atlanta's entry in the league. It also appears that Minnesota will be dropping the United, as currently all "United" merchandise is on a flash sale

Morgan is a Social Media Sweetheart

Everything Alex Morgan touches seems to turn to gold and nowhere is that more self-evident than on social media. She has over 2.5 million followers on Twitter, 2.9 million on Facebook, and 3.9 million on Instagram. Her posts and words are seen by millions every day and she has really helped highlight the pay divide in women’s soccer while being motivational to young girls around the world to follow their dreams. It’s also why FOX used Alex Morgan as well as others to highlight that you can win the chance to attend this year’s NWSL championship in Houston.

USWNT Olympic Catch-Up

The USWNT takes on Colombia in Manaus comfortably leading Group G after victories over France and New Zealand. The heat and humidity may cause some concerns for the USA, never mind the travel time to the Amazon and back, however, players like Tobin Heath, who already has two assists from those two previous games, will be trying their hardest to make victory happen against Las Chicas Superpoderosa.

Brasil em ruínas

After disappointing 0-0 draws for the Brazilian national team against Iraq and South Africa on the men’s side, the hosts’ tournament hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. The Seleção, who are led by Barcelona superstar Neymar at this tournament, are trying to make up for the 7-1 thumping they took in the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the hands of eventual winners, Germany. However, so far Neymar has cut a frustrated figure out in front of his soccer-mad home crowd, leading to chants for another Brazilian superstar, Marta, and the performances are not cutting it as Brazil looks to avoid an early exit.

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  • We will remind you closer to the game, however here is your first advance warning:

That's it for today, Mane Landers. We will have a How to Watch for today's USWNT Olympic game against Colombia, as well as previews in the coming days for both Orlando City and OCB, which are in action this week. The NWSL continues its hiatus but we will keep you up to date with everything the Pride is up to.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/21/23

Orlando City clinches playoff berth despite loss, Eastern Conference standings remain close, USWNT plays South Africa tonight, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

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.

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That’s all I have for you today. Be like a goldfish and enjoy your Thursday!

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Lion Links: 9/20/23

Orlando City takes on New York City FC tonight, USWNT prepares for friendlies with South Africa, Boston awarded NWSL expansion team, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope you all are excited for another midweek matchup for Orlando City tonight. I’ve been busy covering high school football, golf, and soccer this week and will be back working at Wrigley Field this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Takes On New York City FC Tonight

Orlando City will be on the road tonight at Citi Field as it takes on New York City FC for a midweek matchup. The Lions won in thrilling fashion this past weekend, edging out the Columbus Crew, 4-3. That win was the Lions’ second consecutive win and extended its unbeaten run at Exploria Stadium to 11 matches. The Lions are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 50 points, while NYCFC sits in 12th on 31 points. NYCFC comes into this match off a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls. The last time these two sides met was back on May 17 at Exploria Stadium in a 1-1 draw. We could also see former Lion Andres Perea suit up for NYCFC to face his former club tonight. After tonight, the Lions will play Inter Miami on Sunday at Exploria Stadium.

USWNT Prepares to Face South Africa in Friendlies

The United States Women’s National Team will be back in action tomorrow for the first of two friendlies with South Africa. It will be the USWNT’s first match since the 2023 Women’s World Cup. South Africa achieved its best finish at a World Cup in the recent tournament, making it out of the group stage before losing 2-0 to the Netherlands in the round of 16. The roster for South Africa features 19 of the 22 players that participated in the Women’s World Cup, including Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana. The last time South Africa played the U.S. was back in 2019, losing 3-0 to the USWNT. South Africa is preparing for the 2024 CAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament’s second round next month.

NWSL Will Expand to Boston in 2026

The National Women’s Soccer League officially announced that it will expand in 2026, with Boston becoming the league’s 15th club. NWSL soccer returns to Boston for the first time in six years after its previous club, the Boston Breakers, folded prior to the 2018 season. The club’s ownership group is Boston Unity Soccer Partners, with the core being all women with local ties, including Jennifer Epstein who owns a minority stake in the Boston Celtics. The expansion fee paid to the league was undisclosed, and the ownership group has 95% of its capital being invested by women and 40% from investors of color. The ownership group reportedly plans to invest significant resources into renovating George R. White Stadium in Boston. The ownership group plans to reveal the club’s branding as it gets closer to play in 2026.

UEFA Champions League Roundup

The UEFA Champions League returned with the start of the group stages and plenty of notable matches. Christian Pulisic’s AC Milan played Newcastle United to a scoreless draw at home. Paris Saint-Germain shut out Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in its opener. Manchester City was trailing 1-0 at halftime, but stormed back to beat Red Star Belgrade 3-1. Atletico Madrid was leading 1-0 late into stoppage time before Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel scored the equalizer to help his side escape with a 1-1 draw. FC Barcelona, RB Leipzig, FC Porto, and Feyenoord all won their opening matchups as well. Today’s notable games include Bayern Munich facing Manchester United, Arsenal taking on PSV Eindhoven, and Real Madrid hosting Union Berlin.

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  • The latest MLS Power rankings have been released. Orlando City moved up four spots to second after its comeback win against the Columbus Crew.
  • In case you missed it, check out the sights and sounds as the Lions got another win against a taem from Ohio.
  • Enjoy play-by-play commentator Sergio Ruiz’s reaction when Ramiro Enrique scored the winner for the Lions against the Crew.
  • The Seattle Sounders have teased an announcement on social media about a possible change to their brand next week.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/19/23

Ramiro Enrique named Player of the Matchday, Tab Ramos reportedly joins the New England Revolution, MLS ends Matko Miljevic’s contract, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

What. A. Weekend. Orlando’s three teams went undefeated and ensured about as good a start to the week as you could possibly ask for. That means I started this week riding high and there are plenty of opportunities for it to get better as Orlando City plays tomorrow and Sunday, with Orlando City B taking on FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday. All of that action means there’s a lot to cover this morning, so let’s get after it.

Lions Earn Recognition After Comeback Victory

Ramiro Enrique and Martin Ojeda were both included in the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday for their roles in Orlando City’s wild 4-3 comeback win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Ojeda had a goal and an assist, while Enrique had a brace and an assist and scored the winning goal with practically the last kick of the game. Enrique was also justifiably named the Player of the Matchday for his heroic effort. He joins Cyle Larin, Kaká, and Nani as just the fourth Lion to be named Player of the Matchday, so he’s certainly treading on hallowed ground. Congratulations to both guys, and keep up the good work!

Tab Ramos Reportedly Joins Revs

Tab Ramos has reportedly joined the New England Revolution as an assistant coach. If true, Ramos will try to help interim manager Clint Peay contain the chaos that has enveloped the club in recent weeks. The Revs are still third in the Eastern Conference, but players reportedly refused to train last Tuesday due to a lack of transparency concerning the events around Bruce Arena’s resignation. With all of that going on, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the Revs lost to a woeful Colorado Rapids team on the road on Saturday, and fans will hope that Ramos, who managed the Houston Dynamo for two years, can help get things back on track.

MLS Cuts Matko Miljevic

CF Montreal’s Matko Miljevic has had his contract terminated by the league following an absolutely wild story coming to light last week. Miljevic was reportedly playing in an amateur indoor soccer league using a fake name and subsequently received a lifetime ban from it after punching an opposing player in the face. Needless to say, a story like that doesn’t stay quiet for long, and since playing in another league while under contract with Major League Soccer is a violation of the contract that every player signs when joining, the league was able to end his contract with fairly little fuss. Thus ends one of the more bizarre stories to come across my figurative desk this year.

Injury Bug Ravages Manchester United and Chelsea

Injuries are beginning to pile up at Manchester United as Aaron Wan-Bissaka will now reportedly miss anywhere from a few weeks to two months after sustaining an injury in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Brighton. Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane and Mason Mount are also out, but United’s injury problems pale in comparison to Chelsea’s, as the injury bug is chewing a path through the Blues’ squad. In fact, the London club has enough injured players to field a full starting XI that would be worth more than £370 million and features names like Reece James, Moises Caicedo, and Christopher Nkunku. Despite a 0-0 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, Chelsea will likely simply be happy that no one went off injured during the game. United likely wouldn’t complain if it can get a similar result away against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League tomorrow.

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That does it for me this morning. Y’all stay safe out there.

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