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Lion Links: 6/21/17

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Welcome to game day, Mane Landers. Tonight sees our boys fly across country to the Pacific Northwest to take on the reigning MLS Cup champions, the Seattle Sounders. Orlando is coming off a disappointing draw against the Montreal Impact and the Sounders are looking to rebound at home after a defeat to NYCFC, so this contest promises to be a good one.

To help us get in the mood, let’s go over to today’s Lion Links so you are up to date with everything you need to know.

OCB Loses Again in Canada

Orlando City B’s run of bad luck continued yesterday with a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Fury. Despite dominating possession, the young Lions were unable to get on the scoresheet and just couldn’t recover from a poor first half in which they conceded the eventual game winner by Steevan Dos Santos just before the half. OCB will look to end its road trip with a victory against the Rochester Rhinos on Friday before returning home to Orlando City Stadium to take on FC Cincinnati.

Pride’s Camila Wins NWSL Goal of the Week

If you had a chance to see yesterday’s Lion Links, you might have spied that Brazilian midfielder Camila was up for NWSL Goal of the Week for her physics-defying golazo against the Houston Dash. Since there wasn’t another goal even half as good, it should come as no surprise that she has won this week’s award. In addition, congratulations to the Brazilian for getting revenge on Houston for letting her go after the 2015 NWSL season.

Aubrey Bledsoe Wins Save of the Week       

Yesterday’s Lion Links also highlighted that Orlando Pride goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was up for NWSL Save of the Week for her fantastic stop on Carli Lloyd in the Pride’s 4-2 win over the Houston Dash on Saturday. Well, after another (very) quick tabulation of the votes, she has been declared this week’s winner. It’s good to see that even though Ashlyn Harris isn’t currently between the sticks for the Pride, we have a more than worthy back-up in Bledsoe, who has stepped up in Harris’ absence.

Passing of Tony DiCicco

Former USWNT Head Coach Tony DiCicco died yesterday, leaving behind a great legacy in women’s soccer. DiCicco masterminded the USWNT’s FIFA Women’s World Cup win back in 1999 and provided the USWNT’s first Olympic gold soccer medal back in 1996. DiCicco’s career continued after leaving the USWNT’s fold with stints as commissioner of WUSA, and as head coach of the Boston Breakers during the WPS seasons. Despite never having a role in NWSL, the legacy of DiCicco is that women’s soccer is such a big part of this country right now.

That’s it for me today. Stay tuned to The Mane Land for game coverage of Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders, which kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET, when the Lions will hope to get three points from the reigning MLS Cup champions and continue their streak over MLS Cup winners.

 

 

 

 

Lion Links

Lion Links: 11/28/23

Luciano Acosta named MVP, Americans in action, scheduling news for U.S national teams, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I’m dragging a little today after having an extended period of time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, but there’s no rest for the wicked and the only way out is through. With that being the case, let’s get into today’s news.

Luciano Acosta Wins MLS MVP

In a piece of news that plenty of people likely saw coming from several miles away, Luciano Acosta has been named Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player. Acosta racked up 34 goal contributions during the regular season, finishing the 2023 campaign with 17 goals and 14 assists as the driving force behind his team’s run to the Supporters’ Shield. He was voted the best player in the league by quite some margin, and won the award in a landslide, taking 60.37% of the votes to Denis Bouanga’s 14.97% and Thiago Almada’s 6.46%.

American Stars in Midweek Action

There are a number of United States Men’s National Team players that will be in action this week, with several UEFA Champions League clashes highlighting the viewing slate. Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah and AC Milan will face Giovanni Reyna’s Borussia Dortmund today in a game with huge ramifications for both teams. Malik Tillman, Ricardo Pepi, and Sergino Dest may play in PSV Eindhoven’s match with Sevilla tomorrow, and a win would likely go a long way to securing a place in the Round of 16. Additionally on Wednesday, Brenden Aaronson and Union Berlin have a chance to make a big move towards a place in the Europa League, as a win over Braga would leapfrog the German club into third place in Group C.

USMNT & USWNT Scheduling News

The USMNT will open its 2024 slate of games with a match against Slovenia on Jan. 20 in San Antonio. The match will fall outside of an international window, meaning that the January camp roster will largely be made up of domestic-based players. The USMNT have faced Slovenia twice before, with the most recent time being a 3-2 win in Ljubljana courtesy of a Jozy Altidore penalty kick.

While we already knew that the United State’s Women’s National Team would play China PR on Dec. 5 in Frisco, we now know that one of the team’s legends will be honored before the game. The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced that former Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger, who stated in March that she will retire following the NWSL season, will be honored before the match. Krieger played 108 games for the USWNT and is a two-time World Cup winner with the team.

Notable Women’s Players to Miss International Matches

A pair of high profile women’s players will miss upcoming international games. First up, Sam Kerr will not feature in Australia’s back-to-back friendlies against Canada due to a foot injury. Kerr has struggled with injuries this year and her availability was limited during this summer’s World Cup.

Alexia Putellas will miss Spain’s two Nations League matches against Sweden and Italy after picking up a left knee injury. Putellas had missed Euro 2022 due to an ACL tear, but was back to help her side win the World Cup several months ago. Fortunately for Spain, the team is well positioned atop its group and has enough players in the squad that it shouldn’t feel her absence too keenly.

Free Kicks

  • A pair of Willian penalties and an early Alex Iwobi goal helped Fulham beat Wolverhampton, with American defenders Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream also starting.
  • New York Red Bulls forward Tom Barlow is reportedly headed to the Chicago Fire.

That’s all I’ve got for you this morning. Y’all stay safe out there.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 11/27/23

Western Conference final is set, Jim Curtin wants Alejandro Bedoya to stay, action from top European leagues, and more.

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Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Monday, everyone. Orlando City’s season might not have ended the way any of us wanted, but 2023 was still a year with a lot to enjoy and be proud of for Lions fans. Before getting into today’s news, let’s wish Martin Ojeda a happy 25th birthday!

Western Conference Final is Set

The Western Conference final is now set, as the Houston Dynamo will be facing LAFC. Houston grabbed a 1-0 win at home over Sporting Kansas City in the first game of the night. Franco Escobar got the home team on the board in the 39th minute and that proved to be enough for Houston to book its ticket to the next round.

In the late kickoff, LAFC went on the road and got its own 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders. Denis Bounga did what he does best and got the game’s only goal in the 30th minute, and LAFC was able to see out the remainder of the match. Seattle didn’t go down without a fight though, and Maxime Crepeau produced a string of outstanding second-half saves to deny the Sounders an equalizer.

Jim Curtin Wants Alejandro Bedoya Extended

Last month it was being reported that the Philadelphia Union were not planning on extending Alejandro Bedoya, whose contract expires now that the season is over. Following the Union’s exit from the playoffs, Jim Curtin did not mince words when expressing his belief that Bedoya’s time with the club should be extended, saying that Bedoya is bigger than anyone and that his work on the field speaks for itself. Things got really interesting when he appeared to take a shot at Philly’s front office, saying “I think anywhere in the world, the head coach would have a say in what’s up with this captain. I think there was a miscommunication for sure.”

Action Packed European Weekend

It was a busy weekend in the top European leagues, and there’s a lot to catch up on. We’ll start in the Premier League, where Aston Villa beat Tottenham 2-1 to hand a third straight loss to Spurs. The victory saw Villa leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place and only two points behind Arsenal at the top of the table.

In Italy, Juventus and Inter Milan battled to a 1-1 draw in a clash between the two teams at the top of the table. The result means that Inter maintains its spot in first place, and keeps a two-point lead over Juve, and a six-point gap between AC Milan in third.

Finally, Rodrygo scored a brace and Jude Bellingham got yet another goal as Real Madrid beat Cadiz 3-0 to retake first place in La Liga from Girona.

Transfer Rumor Roundup

As always, the transfer rumor mill is turning 24/7, and that means there are some interesting stories to cover today. First up, Victor Osimhen is reportedly Chelsea’s top transfer target during the upcoming January window. The Blues would likely need to break their transfer record to get the job done, but they’ve struggled to start the year and Todd Boehly isn’t shy about whipping out his checkbook.

Arsenal is said to be interested in signing Douglas Luiz in January, but Unai Emery has made it clear that Aston Villa want to keep him, which is unsurprising given how important he’s been for the team this season.

Finally, Steven Bergwijn says he’s happy at Ajax despite interest from West Ham and Saudi Arabia.

Free Kicks

  • Alejandro Garnacho scored a completely absurd goal to spark Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Everton.

That’s all I have for you this morning. Y’all stay safe out there.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 11/25/23

Lions set to host Crew, Orlando must stop potent Columbus attack, Pereyra approaches 10,000 minutes, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

The day has arrived, Mane Landers! The Lions are set to host an Eastern Conference semifinal match tonight at Exploria Stadium. I hope you have grabbed your tickets, but if not, there is still a bit of time to find your way into the stadium. Prior to the match, my wife and I are going to check out the new Hunger Games prequel at the movie theater. The original series released when I was in college, so there will be a bit of nostalgia watching the latest edition.

With such a big match upon us, there are plenty of links breaking it down today. So let’s get right to it.

Lions Host Columbus Crew

Orlando City hasn’t been to the conference semifinals since the 2020 season. The match against the Columbus Crew marks just the second time reaching this point in club history. Orlando enters as the No. 2 seed, but the two clubs often play to exciting scorelines no matter the potential talent gap through seeding purposes. The last time these teams played, Columbus took a 3-1 lead, only for the Lions to score three times from the 73rd minute and beyond to claim a wild 4-3 win.

A Clash of Strengths

Orlando City and the Columbus Crew offer contrasting styles and opposite strengths. The Crew play a pressure possession game that puts opposing defenses on their heels with quick attacks. Columbus led MLS with 67 goals in the regular season and scored eight during the three-game, opening-round series against Atlanta United. Orlando, on the other hand, was tied for the fifth-fewest goals allowed in the league, conceding only 39 in the regular season. The Lions were also the only team in the playoffs not to give up a goal, putting together consecutive 1-0 wins against Nashville in their first-round matchup. Head Coach Oscar Pareja knows that he needs more out of his Orlando attackers.

“In Columbus, you can see that initiative to be more aggressive,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “I guess that sometimes they need to defend too, and now our initiative is just to create a way where we can make them worry about defending too.”

Powering Through the Break

Orlando City has not played for 18 days. While the long layoff was partially due to the first-round sweep, it also backed up to the November FIFA international window. The Lions had five players away on international duty: goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and defensive midfielder Wilder Cartagena for Peru, winger Facundo Torres for Uruguay, forward Wilfredo Rivera for Puerto Rico, and defender Abdi Salim for Somalia. For the remaining players who stayed behind at home, they tried to make the most of the situation.

“We have been working,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “After our game against Nashville, we had a couple of days off to refresh after our efforts there and the emotions the game brought us. We have kept a good pace and have worked on some details toward what is coming with Columbus. We are waiting for some players that are out on national team duty, but we are ready. This week, we have been a bit more intense in our preparations. The boys are good and healthy.” 

Mauricio Pereyra Set to Hit 10,000 Minutes

Should he start and play through the 38th minute today, captain Mauricio Pereyra will reach 10,000 minutes across all competitions as a Lion. Pereyra will be only the third Orlando City player to reach the milestone, joining defender Robin Jansson and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. In his time with Orlando, the Uruguayan maestro has accumulated 134 appearances and holds the club assists record with 47. Pereyra will likely reach his milestone tonight, but the club has a chance at collectively reaching new heights as well. A win would advance the Lions to the Eastern Conference final for the first time in team history. The win would also make seven straight victories and 16 consecutive results at home. Each would be club records. 

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It’s about that time for our earlier-than-usual kickoff time. Be early, be loud, and be safe. Vamos Orlando!

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