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Lion Links: 2/9/17

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Happy Thursday, Mane Land visitors. We’re now 24 more wake-ups away from Orlando City’s 2017 season opener against New York City FC. We’re getting close and you can almost feel the adrenaline building, as if we’ve all begun a really long march to the match.

What are you looking forward to most? The pregame tailgating? The first goal? The announcement of the opening day lineup? Kickoff itself? Personally, I’m looking forward to spending the first game of the season in the new and improved Wall. That safe-standing section looks like it will be a lot of fun and generate a lot of noise and I want to experience that for the opening game instead of watching from the press box.

But before we get to that season opener, let’s just go about our daily business and it’ll be here before you know it. On to your daily fix of Lion Links:

Kreis Making Lions Earn Their Opportunities

Head Coach Jason Kreis has spent the preseason so far instilling an atmosphere of competition. The Lions will be a meritocracy under Kreis, where players must force their way onto the field and into opportunities with their play.

“I believe in competition,” Kreis said. “At the end of the day, I believe that competition is what brings the best out of all of us. I’m not talking about competing in the games, I’m talking about the competition amongst the players for their position within the team.”

“[A player] has to show me, first and foremost, that he wants it. That he wants it more than anything else in the world. He has to show up every single day and deliver that, and make me walk away thinking ‘Man, that guy wants it and that guy deserves it,” Kreis said. “I’ve always told the players that, sometimes you’ll hear players say ‘Why don’t you give me a chance? Why don’t you give me an opportunity?’ Well, I’m not giving you anything. You’re earning it. When you’ve earned it, you’ll get it.”

It’s exactly what you’d expect from Kreis. It’s good to hear about the team being all about competition. Even the players are talking about the competition and intensity in training.

Looks Like We’ve Got a Kit Reveal Day

Some of our staff members have gotten the barest of glimpses of the new hotness that will be Orlando City’s new home shirts in 2017. Unfortunately, I am not one of those lucky few and have had to salivate over the mere description of them. Our Twitter followers are fond of asking when the new shirts will be revealed and it looks like the club dropped that information on us yesterday.

Get your credit cards ready.

Three Pride Players Get USWNT Call

Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Ali Krieger, and striker Alex Morgan were among the 25 players Jill Ellis called up to the USWNT’s camp ahead of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. Unfortunately, Kristen Edmonds didn’t get the call this time around. Perhaps with another season like she had in 2016, Edmonds can do even more to turn Ellis’ head. Among the squad are four uncapped players: goalkeeper Jane Campbell and midfielders Sarah Killion, Rose Lavelle and Brianna Pinto. The U.S. will open the tournament against Germany on March 1 at 7 p.m.

Morgan’s Importance in U.S. Soccer Lauded

FourFourTwo is counting down the 31 most powerful people in soccer in the United States — presumably a weird role of percentile dice decided the total during a crazy night of FourFourTwo staff. Anyway, Pride captain (still?) Alex Morgan checked in at No. 29.

And for as good as she is on the field, Morgan yields even greater influence off the field, with endorsements now bringing her total income into the low seven figures — unheard of in women’s soccer. Her current sponsors are Nike, Coca-Cola, Chobani, Apple/Beats by Dre, AT&T, P&G and SKLZ, and her children’s book series, The Kicks, is on its seventh book and was turned into a scripted show by Amazon. So rare is her marketability that the very premise of the Orlando Pride franchise was built on the team’s ability to acquire Morgan from the outset. How many other players have that much influence?

Orlando City target (still?) Chicharito is No. 24. As of this writing, the Top 10 still had yet to be revealed. I assume they haven’t gotten to me yet. I am probably around No. 4 or so. I’ve got some work to do to move up into the top three.

Free Kicks

Wondering how the new Uniteds from Atlanta and Minnesota will affect FIFA 17? MLSSoccer.com has you covered…Speaking of Minnesota United, the Loons have signed Danish winger Bashkim Kadrii on a year-long loan from FC Copenhagen…Those born on this date include actor Joe Pesci (1943), Mia Farrow (1945), Judith Light — the “other” actress from Who’s the Boss — (1949), baseball’s Mookie Wilson (1956), Scottish footballer and manager Gordon Strachan (1957), John Kruk (1961), Travis Tritt (1963), Vladimir Guerrero (1975), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day (1976), and former Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson (1982).


That’s all the time I have today. Enjoy your Thursday and the upcoming weekend.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/24/24

Orlando City and Orlando Pride power rankings, USMNT player news, USWNT will host Costa Rica, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. It’s that time of the week for some tasty links. Two seven-point weekends for Orlando’s soccer teams is nothing to sneeze at, unlike the pollen that coats my hometown of Tallahassee. It’s the time of the year that I make my money back with the unlimited car wash next to my work. Enough with my weather-related car issues, let’s get to the links.

Lions Move Up (and Down) in Power Rankings

There’s nothing that shows the value of “power rankings” better than when you can compare two different ranking lists for the same week for any given club. We all know Orlando City is undefeated in its last four matches thanks to the late heroics of Ivan Angulo to draw CF Montreal over the weekend. But, did you know that was both good and bad?

In ESPN‘s MLS power rankings, Orlando City dropped a spot from 16th to 17th despite “treading water” with a point on the road in Montreal. Meanwhile, the Lions roared ahead three spots from 21st to 18th in MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings. So, do you like that Orlando is 17th in the ESPN piece despite the drop? Or do you prefer the positivity of a three-spot jump to 18th in the MLSSoccer.com rankings?

Orlando Pride Rise in Power Rankings

Forget everything I wrote up there regarding power rankings — at least as far as the Orlando Pride are concerned. After starting the season with three draws, the Pride now have two wins in a row. As such, ESPN moved the Pride up three spots from eighth to fifth in its NWSL power rankings. Their move up the list is entirely deserved and the writer was correct in their assessment. Of course, I’m kidding but it’s still nice to see the Pride get recognized for their results. Now, we just need the Pride to continue the winning streak.

Keeping Up With USMNT Players Abroad

As we shared yesterday, Sergino Dest will likely miss this summer’s Copa America thanks to a knee injury suffered during PSV Eindhoven training. That means the USMNT has a right back situation to address and there are quite a few well known candidates to step in for Dest.

Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has reportedly rejected Juventus’ latest extension offer. I can understand his decision given it doesn’t include any additional salary. McKennie has been very good for Juve, with 10 assists on the season. He’s not the only American making a difference, as Tim Weah provided the assist on Arkadiusz Milik’s goal to send Juventus to the Coppa Italia final.

USWNT Olympic Send-Off Match

The United States Women’s National Team will play a match against Costa Rica at Audi Field on July 16. It will be the final match for the USWNT prior to the Olympics that start nine days later against Zambia. New coach Emma Hayes will join the team on June 1, which isn’t a ton of time before the Olympics start, but she has been a part of the process for months.

Free Kicks

  • The New England Revolution have acquired veteran defender Xavier Arreaga from the Seattle Sounders for a 2025 international roster slot, and up to $75,000 in General Allocation Money depending on performance.
  • Inter Miami’s Jordi Alba will be out for several weeks due to a hamstring injury. Fortunately, he is expected to be back in time for the match against Orlando City on May 15. Where did I put the sarcasm font?

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the Pride’s match against the Washington Spirit this Friday, and Orlando City’s match against Toronto FC on Saturday. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/23/24

Ivan Angulo makes Team of the Matchday bench, Americans in action, Sergino Dest to miss Copa America, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was an excellent weekend for Orlando’s soccer teams, as the three sides took seven of the nine points on offer. There’s no rest for the wicked this week as the Orlando Pride travel to play the Washington Spirit on Friday, Orlando City hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, and Orlando City B finishes things up at home against Toronto FC II on Sunday. Let’s take a look at today’s links.

Ivan Angulo Earns Recognition

Ivan Angulo has been named to the bench of the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. The Colombian got the start on Saturday up in Montreal, and had a good game, going the distance and completing 82% of his passes and putting one of his two shots on target. That shot was an important one, as it gave the Lions a late equalizer and helped them salvage a valuable point on the road. Sean Rollins gave him a grade of 6 in his player grades from the match, a rating that likely would have been higher had Martin Ojeda’s pass been accurate enough to allow Angulo to grab a possible winner just a few minutes after he equalized. Here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Americans in Midweek Action

There are a number of Americans taking part in big games this week, and the good people over at Stars and Stripes FC have you covered with the whole rundown. First up, Weston McKennie, Tim Weah, and Juventus will try to advance to the Coppa Italia final this afternoon, as they enter the second leg of the semifinal against Lazio with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Tomorrow sees Monaco and Folarin Balogun meet Lille in Ligue 1 action, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Newcastle United in the Premier League. Things wrap up on Friday in Serie B when Gianluca Busio, Tanner Tessman, and third-place Venezia face Cremonese as they try to overtake Como and finish in one of Serie B’s two guaranteed promotion places.

Sergino Dest Sidelined Long Term

Following up on a story from yesterday’s Lion Links, The Athletic is reporting that the knee injury suffered by Sergino Dest will keep him out of Copa America, and sideline him for the rest of the year. That would be a big blow for the United States Men’s National Team, as Dest has been the nailed-on starter at right back since winning a place in the team during the qualifying cycle for the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks aren’t without options at the position, as Joe Scally could step in for Dest, or Gregg Berhalter could try deploying Weah there, but neither of the two possesses Dest’s level of offensive threat.

Inter Milan Wins Serie A

Inter Milan dispatched rival AC Milan 2-1 guaranteed that Inter will win its 20th Serie A title in club history. Fikayo Tomori’s goal in the 80th minute was the closest Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah’s club could get to leveling the score, and Inter is now a whopping 17 points clear of AC Milan with five games left to play. Inter has been imperious on its way to a 20th Scudetto, scoring the most goals in the league while also conceding the fewest and losing only once this season.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando Pride and Orlando City hosted a clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day on Monday.

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

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 4/22/24

Orlando City draws CF Montreal, Pride and OCB win, FA Cup drama, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Jeremy Reper

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. Orlando City drew, while the Pride and OCB both won over the weekend. I had friends in town, so I went to Wrigley Field to check out a Cubs game and show them around Chicago. Let’s wish former Orlando City midfielder Kaka and Pride defender Brianna Martinez a happy birthday! There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Lions Draw at CF Montreal

Orlando City again had to overcome a 2-1 deficit on the road when it faced CF Montreal Saturday night. The Lions needed a late stoppage-time goal from Ivan Angulo to walk out of Stade Saputo with a 2-2 draw. Orlando has now picked up points in each of the last four matches. Orlando City will face CF Montreal again on July 26 in the MLS Leagues Cup during the competition’s group stage. The Lions’ next match will be Saturday at Inter&Co Stadium as it takes on Toronto FC.

Orlando Pride Defeat San Diego Wave

The Orlando Pride shut out the San Diego Wave 1-0 on Friday at Inter&Co Stadium and got their second consecutive win with that same scoreline. Summer Yates scored the lone goal in the first half to seal the win for Orlando. Zambian international striker Barbra Banda made her debut for the Pride, coming off the bench in the second half. The Pride remain undefeated through five league matches and are fifth in the NWSL table with nine points. The team will be on the road to face the Washington Spirit Friday.

OCB Wins on the Road at Crown Legacy FC

Orlando City B got a 2-0 win against Crown Legacy FC at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Friday. Alex Freeman and Shak Mohammed scored for the Young Lions, and Javier Otero made six saves. OCB completed its two-match road trip, securing four out of a possible six points, and has kept its unbeaten streak on the road alive at four matches. OCB is in fifth in the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference with nine points, while Crown Legacy is winless in five matches. OCB will be back in action this Sunday as it hosts Toronto FC II at Osceola County Stadium.

Manchester United and Manchester City Advance to FA Cup Final

Manchester United won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw against Coventry City in the FA Cup semifinals to advance to the final. It was a thrilling match at Wembley as United had a 3-0 lead before Coventry City rallied to get back into the match. USMNT forward Haji Wright scored the equalizer to tie the match 3-3 late into stoppage time. Coventry City thought it scored the game-winning goal late into extra time from Victor Torp, but it was ruled offside after video review. Casemiro missed his penalty for United, while Wright and Torp gave Coventry City a 2-1 advantage. United converted four straight penalties while Coventry City missed two to seal the win for the Red Devils. Manchester City edged past Chelsea 1-0 in their semifinal matchup, with Bernardo Silva scoring the lone goal in the second half. The FA Cup final will be played at the end of May and will feature a Manchester Derby for the second consecutive time.

Free Kicks

  • In case you missed it, check out this video on Orlando City’s social media page on Ivan Angulo’s equalizer to tie the match in stoppage time against CF Montreal on Saturday.

According to OptaJack, the Pride have secured the most points at home during the regular season since last May, with 26.

  • USMNT defender Sergino Dest suffered a knee injury during training with PSV Eindhoven over the weekend. Dest will miss the remainder of the Eredivisie season and could miss the 2024 Copa America this summer.
  • Real Madrid came back from being 2-1 down to defeat Barcelona 3-2 and stay ahead of its rivals by 11 points with six league matches left.
  • Bayer Leverkusen extended its unbeaten run to 45 matches after scoring a late goal from Josip Stanisic in stoppage time to get a 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund.
  • Serie A side Udinese is reportedly set to hire former Juventus and Real Madrid player Fabio Cannavaro as its next head coach.

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

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