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Lion Links: 1/6/17



TGIF! The first weekend of the new year is upon us, and by now, way too many of us have already dropped the ball on our New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully that’s not you. Personally, I would rather not go into detail on the progress of mine. Let’s just say, it’s not going too well.

Regardless, plenty of news involving Orlando City SC personnel, past and present, has surfaced so let’s jump right into it.

Orlando City Dedicates Section to Pulse Victims

As pictures of the new stadium continually surfaced to tease us all, one couldn’t help but notice rainbow-colored seats. On Thursday, Phil Rawlins led a private ceremony to unveil the 49 seats as a tribute to the 49 people that lost their lives at the Pulse nightclub in the largest mass shooting by a single gunman in modern U.S. history. Rawlins went on to say that the seats are easily visible to anyone who visits the stadium. To be exact, they are in the middle of Section 12, honoring the devastating night of June 12.

"We made a commitment on that day that, which is that we would commemorate, forever, in the new stadium a memory of the 49 victims that lost their lives that day. And today we're here to do that. We're here to commemorate and unveil the 49 rainbow seats that will sit permanently in Section 12 of our new stadium as a constant reminder of the senseless acts of June 12." Rawlins said at the dedication.

It truly is a touching tribute, and a perfect way to use the beautiful game to bring people together. As expected, it was a huge hit.

Goalkeeper Coach Stewart Kerr joins Vancouver

After just one season as the Lions goalkeeper coach, Stewart Kerr has jumped ship to join the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kerr joined the staff under Adrian Heath in December 2015 and played a huge role in Joe Bendik’s breakout season.

Kerr, formerly a goalkeeper for Celtic, Brighton, and Wigan Athletic, was forced to retire at just 26 due to a back injury. He began his coaching career in 2008 with stops at Airdrie United, Motherwell, and Toronto FC before joining Orlando.

While the impact of Kerr’s departure on Bendik is yet to be seen, his decision isn’t all that surprising. Kerr has family in Canada, and given the offer from Vancouver, it’s easy to see why he decided to accept.

“Stewart approached us and expressed his intentions to move closer to his family in Canada. He has been an important part of our technical staff, but we respect and understand his decision to put his family first,” General Manager Niki Budalic said in a press release.

Luke Boden Joining Rowdies

Luke Boden has found a new home — in Tampa Bay. The veteran left back that made the jump from USL to MLS with Orlando City will sign with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL. Like Kerr, Boden elected to be close to his family despite interest from MLS clubs.

Boden came to Orlando after coming up through the youth ranks at Sheffield Wednesday in England. Several loan stints later, Boden made the decision to ply his trade in the U.S. The 28-year-old made 45 MLS appearances for the Lions in two years, starting in 43 of them.

Perhaps the best crossing fullback that has put on the purple shirt, Boden had his contract option declined after the 2016 season in which he saw significant less time on the field.

Cyle Larin Not Cleared to Play in Florida Cup All-Star Game

In Florida Cup’s third year, the tournament will include 14 clubs from seven different countries. The tournament plans to honor the victims of the Chapecoense team that lost their lives in a plane crash.

As part of the tournament, legends of the game along with well-known local players take the field for a 20-minute all-star exhibition. This year’s game is scheduled for Jan. 15 at UCF’s Brighthouse Networks Stadium.

In a turn of events, Orlando City will not clear Cyle Larin to play prior to annual medicals scheduled to take place during the last week of January. Larin was expected to be a part of the 22-man roster that will be released next week, and even featured in its promotional video. "The club's plan is to make him ready, fit, and healthy for our season," an Orlando City spokesman told the Orlando Sentinel.

Arena Calls Up 32 Players for January Camp

As expected, U.S. Soccer announced the players that new (old) head coach Bruce Arena has chosen to participate in this month’s camp that culminates in two friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica in San Diego and Chattanooga, respectively. January camp rarely resembles the full talent pool due to it being almost exclusively domestic-based players. Christian Pulisic is in the middle of a Champions League race, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson are seeing valuable minutes in the Bundesliga, and, understandably, their clubs aren’t interested in letting them go and risking injury elsewhere.

Arena’s 32-man roster exclusively features MLS talent representing 15 clubs. Unsurprisingly, Orlando City was one of those without representation. The players that will make their way into camp on Jan. 10 can be found in the linked article above.

A few names from the list jump out. Chris Wondolowski being named to the squad means that despite a new man in charge, it’s more of the same. It was Klinsmann’s unwavering loyalty to some players that put him in the line of fire from supporters. Wondolowski was definitely one of those players.

While Kekuta Manneh was always expected to make this list, he is currently in the process of completing his eligibility requirements to represent the United States and will be unable to participate in the friendlies at the end of camp.

Graham Zusi at right back sticks out like a sore thumb. Will the Zusi experiment provide better results than Brek Shea’s transition to left back? Let’s wait and see. Zusi’s club teammate, Benny Feilhaber, is back in the fold after falling completely out of favor under Klinsmann.

Phew, that was a lot. Hopefully you absorbed some of it and liked even a fraction of that. If not, I’ll try again next week. Until next time, have a great weekend!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/30/24

Orlando City draws on the road, Duncan McGuire called up, Grace Chanda will reportedly sign with the Orlando Pride, and more.



Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

For those of you who watched Orlando City’s game Wednesday night, I hope the universe repays you with good fortune in some way today. The week rolls on though, as we get ready for more Orlando soccer this weekend, along with international friendlies around the world to enjoy. For now though, let’s get to the links!

Orlando City Draws Against the Chicago Fire

The Lions went on the road and had to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. Neither goal was anything to write home about in a match that was highlighted by sloppy play and yet another controversial refereeing decision the Lions had to deal with. A draw on the road while on short rest generally isn’t the worst result in the world, but it was a poor performance from the Lions. They’ll aim to get back in the winning column this Saturday when they travel to play the New York Red Bulls.

Duncan McGuire Called Up For Training Camp

Orlando City forward Duncan McGuire was one of 25 players called up for the United States Men’s Olympic Soccer Team’s training camp ahead of a friendly with Japan on June 11. McGuire has earned his spot on the team during a solid second season with the Lions that has included five goals. Columbus Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, Koln forward Damion Downs, and LA Galaxy defender Jalen Neal are a few of the other notable players called up. Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman is the only player over 23 that was called up for this camp.

Grace Chanda Will Reportedly Join the Pride

An agreement was reportedly reached between the Orlando Pride and Zambian attacker Grace Chanda for her to join the club on a deal through 2025, with an option for 2026 as well. It would be a free transfer, but she would not join the Pride until after the Olympics. Chanda was named to the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Best XI and was also on the shortlist for the 2022 Best CAF Women’s Player of the Year Award. The 26-year-old did not play in last year’s World Cup due to an illness, but has come off the bench in Madrid CFF’s past two games. The Pride are having a historic year and Chanda should help them push for a title if she does end up joining her international teammate, Barbra Banda.

Getting to Know Emily Sams

Pride defender Emily Sams is the latest player to field questions as part of the club’s video series for fans to learn more about the players. Sams spoke about the disappointment in how the team’s season ended last year after missing out on the playoffs on a goal differential tiebreaker. She also talked about the team’s aspiration to not only make the playoffs but contend for a title this year. It’s her second season with the Pride and she’s been a key reason why Orlando has done so well so far. Sams discussed what the team’s atmosphere is like, as well as how she likes to spend time outdoors exploring Orlando’s many lakes when not on the field.

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

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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.

Kaká to Become First Member of Legends Terrace at Inter&Co Stadium

Orlando City and the Orlando Pride are creating a “Legends Terrace” at Inter&Co Stadium to permanently honor those who 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, adding another quality attacker is a good move. Let’s hope the rumor is true.

Pride’s Summer Cup 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.

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  • I know that there are those who are 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. 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.

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

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