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Lion Links: 4/7/17

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Hello. It is Friday. I have news for you. You have to read it to find out what it’s about. But to get the news you have to give me something. Give me your memes. Give me your memes so I can trade them on the meme market and support my family through these dire times. Please.

We have links for you.

Kaká’s Recovery Going as Scheduled

We all remember that terrible moment shortly into the first match of the season when Kaká went down with a hamstring injury on March 5. Now that we are over 30 days into the original six-week diagnosis, it seems the Brazilian playmaker is close to a full recovery. Kaká is set to be ready for action later this month, with the team hoping he can return for the April 23 match against NYCFC.

“His recovery is coming along very well,” Kreis said after training on Wednesday. “He is back out running on the field and I think we’ll see him out here again tomorrow on his own, so we feel like all that is going to plan.”

The club’s trainers and physiotherapy staff with be keeping an extremely close eye on Kaká when he returns to MLS play, adamant not to let another muscle injury hinder his season once more.     

Prospective Lions Who Could Make USMNT

We all know Orlando City is home to tons of talent, both foreign and domestic. But which players will get the life-changing call-up to make their national teams? This article takes a look at the roster and predicts which American OCSC players have the talent to be called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Notable first-teamers like Jonathon Spector and Joe Bendik make the list alongside OCB youngsters Pierre Da Silva and Joe Gallardo, with some other Lions featured as well. 

Pride Players Travel to Brazil for National Team Camp

Speaking of Orlando players being called up, Pride players Monica and Camila have been selected for the Brazil Women’s National Team training camp in preparation for Brazil’s friendly on April 9 against Bolivia in Manaus. Monica has 40 caps for Brazil, with her performances in last year’s Olympics driving her national team to the tournament’s semifinal round. Camila, 22, is newer to the Brazil national team, but has the potential to become a master class player for both Brazil and the Pride.

Sarah Hagen Released by the Pride

Yesterday, the club announced the departure of forward Sarah Hagen, who is now a free agent. Hagen was signed by the Pride in 2015 from FC Kansas City. The Mane Land’s very own Michael Neimeier covered her release here.

2017 Orlando Pride Allocated Players

Orlando Pride announced their allocated players for the 2017 season, and they come as no surprise. Superstars Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, and Ali Krieger are the Pride’s allocations. The trio were awarded CONCACAF End of the Year Awards in January, with Morgan bringing home the prestigious Female Player of Year Award; Harris announced as Goalkeeper of the Year; and Kreiger listed on the Best XI team sheet. Krieger and Morgan both made the FIFPro Women’s World XI in March. 

USWNT Pounds Russia, 4-0

Allie Long and Crystal Dunn both scored a brace to lead the U.S. women past Russia last night in Dallas, 4-0. Dunn may have scored 10 goals if she could have stayed onside in the match, getting repeatedly whistled for the violation. Long could have completed a hat trick, missing a penalty and also hitting the post on a sitter. Still, it’s a much better showing than we saw in the SheBelieves Cup, even if the competition isn’t at the same level. The teams will meet again Sunday in Houston.

United States, Mexico, and Canada Joint World Cup Bid Expected 

The three-way bid for the 2026 World Cup is expected to be finalized and submitted to FIFA for approval by the end of this year. CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani confirmed the idea for a joint bid and hopes the three North American countries can have the opportunity to host the World Cup. 

“Canada, the US and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani said. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”

USL Media Expansion

The United Soccer League has announced its national coverage media expansion, with ESPN pairing up once again with USL Productions for the 2017 USL season. The telecast deal’s second year will see even more USL games on the sports network’s major channels. Games will be featured on ESPNU alongside USL Match of the Week airing on ESPN3. A partnership with ESPN FC will provide fans with more USL coverage on the show. This agreement further demonstrates the growth of professional soccer in the United States.

That’s all for today, comrades. Thanks for the memes, it’s highly appreciated. My daughter is happy now, and so is my wife. This might be the last time I see you guys. I’ll miss you, but will you miss me? Who knows. But don’t forget to cheer on our Lions this Sunday as they face off against New York Red Bulls here in the City Beautiful. Orlando City B squares off against Charlotte tomorrow at home. Make sure to catch them in action.

[Editor’s note: Sadly this is our last missive from Alex, who is taking time away from #BlogLyfe due to school and track team commitments. We’ve enjoyed having him here and he’s invited back whenever his real life stuff allows.]

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 6/19/24

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

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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!

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