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Lion Links: 4/20/17

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Welcome to Lion Links on this Thursday. This work week has felt longer than usual and I personally cannot wait for it to come to an end. With that said, I hope you all are having a solid week. With lots of soccer happenings across the United States and beyond, I am here to get you all caught up on what is going on. Sit back and let’s get into some awesome Lion Links.

Special Kits for Orlando City on Sunday

MLS looks to incorporate eco-friendly kits this season and that plan will start as early as this coming game week. As a matter of fact, Orlando City will wear said kits this coming Saturday, April 23, as the Lions travel to face New York City FC.

Part of the MLS Greener Goals initiative, the league has partnered with official kit sponsor Adidas and Parley to create these special jerseys. New York-based Parley for the Oceans seeks to engage consumer mindsets through culture by raising awareness for the fragility of ocean ecosystems through collaborative projects.

Pride Coach Feels Something Special is Happening

The Orlando Pride have started the season with a loss, but that will not deter Head Coach Tom Sermanni in any way. In fact, Tom is very upbeat and has high hopes for the club as the season in the new stadium gets underway. Sermanni believes that Orlando City has done an amazing job to become a club that is diverse and respectable in regards to equality.

“There was a sense of something special happening here,” says the 62-year-old. “The women’s team is an important part of the club and gets treated with the same respect, the same expectations, and the same seriousness right throughout the staff: the marketing department; the events team; game day management. The technical staff share the same space and the women eat breakfast with the men. The club is totally integrated and wants to be the best in the country whether it is men’s football or women’s football.”

Be sure to check out the Pride as they continue their season at home against the Washington Spirit Saturday at 4 p.m.

Orlando Pride Find Partnership

In more Orlando Pride news, Florida Dairy Farmers has become an official partner of the Orlando City Pride.

Through this partnership, Florida Dairy Farmers also becomes an official partner of Orlando City Youth Soccer and an associate partner of the Orlando City Foundation’s Soccer for Success Program.

“We are proud to have Florida Dairy Farmers’ support for both the Pride and our youth-facing programs,” said Rob Parker, vice president of corporate partnerships at Orlando City SC. “They have been great stewards in the community helping empower youth to achieve healthy lifestyle choices and that is something we aim to do as well through our teams and athletes.”

This partnership will certainly be great for both the Pride and Orlando City Youth Soccer as well.

Danny Deakin Signed to Orlando City B

Orlando City B added a familiar face as the young Lions signed midfielder Danny Deakin to a USL contract. Deakin, Orlando City’s third-round pick who was waived just days ago from the MLS side, is a University of South Carolina alumnus who capped 20 matches in 2016. At only 23 years old, he will look to make an impact for OCB as quickly as possible.

“We’re really happy Danny will be joining us full-time.” OCB Head Coach Anthony Pulis said in a club press release. “Being with us will give him an opportunity to earn more playing time and continue his development.”

Harris Claims Another NWSL Save of the Week Award

This week’s NWSL Save of the Week goes to our very own Orlando Pride goalkeeper, Ashlyn Harris. Check out her awesome save below.

Mexico Boss Osorio Takes a Step Back

After previously being dismissive of Major League Soccer, the El Tri coach clarifies his statements.

Juan Carlos Osorio says he's a fan of Major League Soccer, believes its progress on the field will continue as clubs bring in foreign coaches with different philosophies, and says the league's work off the field should “be a model to be followed by many, many other countries.”

Even though Osorio has taken a step back, the coach still suggests he would rather his players be in Europe as opposed to across the border in the United States.

MLS Didn’t Want Input from Jurgen Klinsmann

It should be of no surprise to you that MLS and Klinsmann did not see eye to eye on many things. After continually calling one another out over the course of the years, former U.S. assistant coach Andi Herzog has somewhat come to the defense of Klinsmann. If you knew this, then it won’t shock you that MLS didn’t want to listen to Klinsmann, even if he was only offering a helping hand.

"Jurgen wanted to help the league keep improving but [MLS executives] were not happy and thought he was just criticizing everything. One point Jurgen was not happy with was that they were buying and overpaying over-aged former European superstars like crazy, but they have already found out that it is not a good way.

That is all from me today folks. Remember to finish out your week strong and be ready to cheer on your Lions this weekend, as NYCFC is a tough opponent and a certain rival. If you want more from me give me a follow: @awesomeniemeier

Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/3/23

Facundo Torres named to MLS Team of the Matchday, Orlando Pride beat Angel City FC, MLS midweek matchday preview, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s been a mixed bag for Orlando soccer over the last few days. Orlando City breezed past CF Montreal on Saturday, the Orlando Pride won to boost its playoff push, and Orlando City B dropped a heartbreaker to Columbus Crew 2 in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. As usual, there’s plenty to talk over this morning, so let’s get started.

Facundo Torres Makes Team of the Matchday

Facundo Torres has been named to the latest edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday following his efforts in Orlando City’s 3-0 win over CF Montreal on Saturday. Facu forced the own goal that opened the scoring, was involved in the buildup for the second tally, and bagged the final goal of the night himself. Beyond the stats, he was simply involved the whole game, constantly drifting into dangerous areas inside the fullbacks and causing Montreal’s defense all sorts of problems. He now has 13 goals and four assists in league play this year and is absolutely vital to the way the Lions want to play when in the attacking third. Marcus Mitchell rightly gave him Man of the Match honors in our player grades, and it’s nice to see him get recognition at the national level too. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.

Orlando Pride Win On the Road

The Orlando Pride beat Angel City FC 1-0 in a massive win on the road. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but the Pride scored in the first half and held on to win their ninth game of the season and remain in the playoff hunt. Following the win, Orlando sits in seventh in the league standings with two games to go. The Pride now control their own destiny and will clinch a spot in the postseason with wins against Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash to close out the season. Things remain incredibly tight in the standings, but the result made the Kansas City Current the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention this season.

Looking Ahead to Pivotal MLS Midweek Games

There are a number of big games taking place tomorrow during the 36th matchday of this MLS season. Obviously, Orlando City’s game against Nashville SC takes priority around these parts, as the Lions need a result against a team that’s given them fits if they want to maintain second place in the Eastern Conference. Another game with big ramifications for OCSC is the Philadelphia Union’s home game against Atlanta United. A victory for Philadelphia could see the Union draw level with the Lions if Orlando can’t get a result on the road, so that’ll be one to watch very closely. Finally, the New England Revolution are facing the Columbus Crew. A win for the Revs could see them leapfrog the Lions into second depending on how Orlando fares in the Music City, so there’s plenty at stake during tomorrow’s midweek slate.

Andre Blake Criticizes Heavy Matchload

If you play in Major League Soccer these days, you’re going to be putting a lot of miles on your legs. A sharp uptick in the number of matches played, combined with rosters that aren’t exactly in the deep end of the pool, means that guys are logging some serious minutes. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was not shy in criticizing MLS for the number of matches that teams are playing this year. He has called the situation “ridiculous”, saying that the players are suffering and that the quality of the league will decrease as a result of injuries due to the overloaded schedules. Blake has an excellent point, particularly because many of the league’s top players will also play international fixtures in addition to club games, further adding onto an already untenable workload.

Free Kicks

  • Marta, Adriana, and Rafaelle have all been called up for Brazil’s upcoming friendlies.

That’s all I have for you today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 10/2/23

Orlando City’s trophy aspirations, the Orlando Pride playoff hunt, OCB falls to Columbus Crew 2, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Merry Monday morning, Mane Landers! Though I’m still reveling in the huge win over CF Montreal, I’m also looking ahead to a big week for both Orlando City and the Orlando Pride. It’s such a great time of the year with MLS and NWSL matches, plus the European leagues, and American football. So much to watch, so little sleep to be had. Let’s get to the links.

Lions Looking for Hardware

Orlando City set a record for wins and points in a season with the win over CF Montreal on Saturday night. Hopefully it’s a record that will be extended over the final three matches of the regular season. The coaches and the players certainly think that Orlando City has an opportunity to win the MLS Cup. Where the Lions finish in the standings will go a long way towards reaching the final and that all starts Wednesday night.

The Pride’s Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride continue their push to make the NWSL playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season with a trip across the country to take on Angel City FC later tonight. It is the first of two away matches this week — the last road games of the regular season. The Pride sit just above Angel City in the standings with the clubs in seventh and eighth places, respectively. The game will be Marta’s 100th match over all competitions. Securing three points over Angel City would make a big difference in the Pride’s race to the playoffs. Keep an eye out for our preview later today.

OCB Penalized Out of the Playoffs

On The Mane Land PawedCast, we often describe Orlando City B matches as being “drunk.” OCB’s 2-1 playoff loss to Columbus Crew 2 will definitely be described as such. There were three red cards, two penalties, and Jack Lynn didn’t score a goal for once. There were some questionable calls by both the refs and by OCB Head Coach Martin Perelman, but conceding only from the penalty spot while outscoring the hosts in the run of play won’t (and shouldn’t) sit well with the Young Lions. While the result is disappointing, one should remember that OCB is a development squad, and one that made the playoffs to boot.

USMNT Players in Action Abroad

USMNT players made some noise this weekend. Christian Pulisic played 82 minutes and scored AC Milan’s winning goal in the club’s 2-0 victory over Lazio. It was one of two shots on target for the American. Striker Folarin Balogun missed not one, but two penalty shots in Monaco’s match against Marseille. Fortunately, Balogun scored an equalizer in the run of play and his teammate secured the 3-2 win. The win moves Monaco to the top of Ligue 1.

Over in the Eredivisie, Malik Tillman got his first start for PSV. Tillman provided an assist and scored the game winner late in second-half stoppage time to give PSV a 3-1 win over FC Volendam. It was a Man of the Match performance by the American. In less good news, Tyler Adams will miss more time with AFC Bournemouth as he has had a setback with his hamstring injury. How long he will be out is still to be determined.

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That will do it for today. It’s a busy week coming up with Pride matches tonight and on Friday, and the Lions playing on Wednesday and Saturday. Check back for all of our coverage of your favorite teams. Vamos Orlando!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/30/23

City’s home unbeaten run, Lions hunting for home field advantage, Facundo Torres loves scoring goals, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to the weekend, Mane Landers. The Lions are closing out the month of September at home tonight with CF Montréal. On Sunday, OCB takes on Crew 2, while the Orlando Pride have a late match against Angel City on Monday. I never hate this time of year, when it seems like at any moment we can turn on the TV and catch a match, whether it be Orlando-based or afar. I’m here for it.

Before we head into the links today, let’s take a moment to wish our Brazilian midfielder and master of the late match dark arts, Felipe, a happy birthday!

Orlando City Go Streaking at Home

After a disappointing 1-1 draw against Inter Miami, Orlando City is powering towards the playoffs. The Lions will take on CF Montréal at Exploria Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Lions enter the match riding an impressive 10-game unbeaten home streak in league play. On the other side of the ball, CF Montréal has gone five straight games without a win and sits eighth in the East battling hard to stay above the playoff line. Orlando City sits on the cusp of a record points total, with 51 currently tied for the best in club history. A win or draw against tonight’s Canadian opposition would make this the best MLS season in its ninth campaign since joining MLS in 2015.

“Obviously, the last game was a great effort from the team and, you know, you’re disappointed to not take the three points at the end and only be able to take the draw,” Orlando forward Martin Ojeda said.  “I think we’re gonna give that little bit extra in these last four games and continue pushing to try and put ourselves in second place or as high as we possibly can.”

Orlando City Hunts for Home Field Advantage

With just four games left in the season, two points separate Orlando City’s second-place position with the New England, which is currently in sixth. The close gap could pivot the upper half of the Eastern Conference table with a combination of different results across the league. While the Lions have clinched a playoff spot, they have yet to fully secure postseason home field advantage. All season the club’s preparation has led up to this crucial moment where a knockout round mentality can push them forward in locking down a playoff match in Exploria Stadium.

“We have pushed for two-and-a-half, three months towards us achieving these objectives and putting the team in the best place we can,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “Now we are in that spot, but we have to sustain it or even go higher. And knowing that in the playoffs, we need to be optimized to be sharp and advance.

Facundo Torres Keeps Scoring

With 12 goals and four assists, Uruguayan Designated Player Facundo Torres is having himself a great season heading into Matchday 35. As it stands, Torres sits tied for fourth in MLS goals and tied for third on the club in assists. If you need a hype video to get you pumped for the match tonight, take a look at this highlight reel showcasing the winger’s prowess in front of the net.

Orlando Pride Travel to Angel City

On Monday night, the Orlando Pride will kick off at 10 p.m. against Angel City at BMO Stadium. Orlando currently sits in seventh place, just a point behind the playoff line. This will be the second meeting between the two sides. In their first fixture, Angel City walked away the victors at Exploria Stadium in April with a 2-1 scoreline. An Angel City first-half goal by forward Claire Emslie was countered early in the second half by Pride forward Messiah Bright. However, it was the visiting team with the last laugh as Angel City forward Katie Johnson scored a last-gasp header at the death in the 10th minute of stoppage time to earn all three points.

Free Kicks

  • The Orlando City match day media team had quite the time trolling Inter Miami fans at Exploria Stadium.
  • Orlando Pride staff put in the extra work this week improving the team’s training facility.
  • The United States Men’s Deaf National Team earned a 1-0 win against England in the Round of 16 at the 2023 DIFA Men’s World Deaf Football Championships.
  • You can take as many steps as you want when walking up to strike a penalty, but the more you take, the worse you look when you fail at scoring. Just ask Neymar.

That’s all I have for you today. Enjoy the match at home tonight. Show up early and be loud. Every point counts this late in the game. Vamos Orlando!

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