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Lion Links: 4/14/17

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What's up, Mane Landers? It's amazing to think that we are now approaching week seven of this fantastic MLS season. Tomorrow, the Lions will look to continue their early season momentum with a match at home against the LA Galaxy. In the buildup to that game we've had a great week of news, so sit back and enjoy today's Lion Links.

Deakin Waived

Orlando City released midfielder Danny Deakin yesterday afternoon, which was a surprising move for its timing. Deakin, who may be re-signed to a USL contract, frees up an international roster slot with his departure. This could be a sign that another move is percolating for Jason Kreis and Niki Budalic. The Lions continue to add useful pieces and with the recent rash of injuries, another one wouldn’t be unwelcome.

Joe Bendik Recognized for Great Performances

Having a good goalkeeper is kind of like having a cup of coffee in the morning. You don't really appreciate it until you don't have it anymore. Personally, I think Joe Bendik doesn't get enough praise for what he does for Orlando City but he does seem to be receiving more and more of it. His goalkeeper coach, Tim Mulqueen, says Joe is good because he wants to be good.

“I think what comes across with Joe most is that he is a student of the game, and therefore his decision-making process is very good,” Mulqueen said. “He is very knowledgeable of his responsibilities within the team and he maintains great focus.

“He is obviously an excellent shot-stopper. We have seen it time and time again. I’d say he is one of the best right now, and his leadership of the group is tremendous.”

Orlando Pride are Excited for the Upcoming Season

For the Pride, last year was a bit of a mess. In the off-season, Head Coach Tom Sermanni has done a pretty good job of putting together a team that can really compete in 2017. Even though preseason games are often criticized, the team certainly looks much better just based off of those games. This weekend, the team will take to the pitch for its first league game of the season away against the Portland Thorns. Early on, the players seem to be extremely optimistic with the consensus being that they just want to win. It was a recurring theme throughout yesterday’s team Media Day event.

Orlando City Stadium Proving Beneficial for Parramore

Our new stadium has brought with it some rave reviews from around the league. While being a big part of sports culture, a stadium also gets a little bit of a bad reputation sometimes with regards to its impact on the surrounding community. A lot of times the traffic and noise is a hassle for locals, along with other problems. Luckily, it seems that the Parramore neighborhood has seen mostly positive changes since the arrival of the new stadium.

That sentiment continues through other major points throughout the neighborhood. At local barbershop institution J Henry’s, the mood veers from jubilant to cautious. It’s been a tough couple of years for owner J. Henry, who saw his business hit hard while the huge construction project ripped up much of his Church Street frontage.

But with foot traffic flowing again, he is seeing more money pouring into the neighborhood, especially on game days. “I have been the owner here since 1994 and it has been a time of great uncertainty,” Henry said on recent afternoon. “The good part is that we are now getting exposure and support, and people who didn’t come to this neighborhood in the past are now visiting, and they bring a very diverse group with them, the people who support soccer. I never imagined this would happen.”

NWSL to Broadcast Games on Go90

A big problem for American soccer in general is the lack of coverage. With the NWSL's new deal with go90, anyone in the United States can now watch every single game of the season. The deal means that 98 NWSL matches will air on go90 while there’ll be a weekly televised match on Lifetime. Tune in to Lifetime this Saturday at 3 p.m. to see the Pride in action in the network’s first ever national Game of the Week. Former U.S. Women's National Team star Julie Foudy will be co-hosting both the pregame and halftime show.

USWNT to Host Another SheBelieves Cup-Type Tournament

Last month, the U.S. hosted the second edition of the SheBelieves Cup, a tournament for the elite international women's teams. Even though they were on home soil, the Yanks actually didn't do so well, finishing last out of the four teams in the competition. Either the tournament was a big hit or they want a shot at redemption because the U.S. will be hosting the same type of tournament, this time from July 27 to Aug. 3. — a period that falls within a FIFA international window, minimizing its impact on the NWSL season. The July 29-30 weekend has no NWSL games scheduled due the international window, during which many players will be playing in the 2017 Women’s Euro.

Visiting the U.S. for the tourney are the national teams of Brazil, Australia, and Japan. The games will be of interest to Orlando Pride fans, due to the large percentage of the team that also plays on three of those four national teams. Tom Sermanni doesn’t have any Japanese players on his squad but there are plenty of American, Brazilian, and Aussie internationals wearing purple these days.

That wraps up today's Lion Links. Tomorrow should be really exciting as we get to see both Orlando City and the Pride play. Let's all hope for two wins tomorrow, and another tonight when OCB visits New York Red Bulls II.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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