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Lion Links: 2/9/17



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? 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: 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.

Free Kicks

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.

Free Kicks

  • 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.

Free Kicks

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

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