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Lion Links: 9/17/17

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Good Sunday morning to you, Orlando City Nation. Friends, I have to admit…I looked at the comments. I mean, I kind of have to in terms of running this site, but in this case the comment was on a social media outlet.

The comment itself wasn’t nasty or anything. It simply took exception to the wording of one of our posts, which said that Orlando City had grabbed a point on the road at Atlanta. This individual who commented felt like the wording was wrong because rather than grabbing a point, the Lions had dropped two. While it is technically true that the Lions were in a position to grab more than one point, it’s still also true that they went into a tough environment and took a point home.

I don’t know what is to be gained by being negative and miserable and looking at a situation in the worst possible light. Is it more fun that way? Should I swing my way of thinking 180 degrees and become a sad sack? Because I’ll sign up for whichever point of view is the most fun. I simply don’t have the frame of reference to make an informed decision.

Anyway, because I’m still me, and finding the good in a situation still seems like the better play to me, I’ll take that point from Atlanta United and the knowledge that the Lions ended their perfect start in their new place — and in front of a record crowd.

All that said, let’s get to the news of the day.

Orlando City Gets Second Straight Result in Atlanta

The Lions went into that ugly stadium in Georgia to play a team coming off a combined 10-0 shellacking of FC Dallas and the New England Revolution, and looking for all the world like an unbeatable squad. Orlando didn’t get the win but even the low-scoring Lions found a way to put three on the board through Dom Dwyer (twice) and Cyle Larin — the latter on a Dwyer assist — in a 3-3 road draw. The road to the playoffs is still unrealistic but Orlando City will always be the first opponent to get a goal and a result in that big butthole-looking stadium in Atlanta.

And check back later today for Guilherme Torres’ five takeaways from the match.

OCB Falls at Saint Louis FC, 2-0

Orlando City B dug a hole on the road at Saint Louis FC, allowing an early goal and then conceding a penalty while up a man in the second half. Despite being up a man for 35 minutes, the young Lions didn’t worry the keeper much and fell for the second straight game by a 2-0 final score. Orlando City B will need to turn things around to get things moving back in the right direction at home against Charleston on Saturday.

Orlando City Makes Top MLS Upsets of 2017

Nick Sabetti over at MLSSoccer.com picked his 10 biggest upsets of the MLS season so far and the Orlando City vs. New York City FC match-up appears twice on the list. The Lions winning at Yankee Stadium was deemed No. 10 but the Pigeons winning at Orlando City Stadium was ranked No. 8. Given what we know now about both teams, are those in the correct order? Where would yesterday’s have ranked had the Lions held on?

Garber on Promotion/Relegation

In a conversation with the New York Post, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the U.S. Open Cup success of teams like the USL’s FC Cincinnati or the NASL’s Miami FC doesn’t affect his view of a promotion/relegation system in U.S. soccer.

This is not just about how good a team is on any given day, it’s about what are we trying to do to create a long-lasting, strong and valuable professional sports league for a lifetime. So I don’t at all get distracted by anything that might happen on any particular day. 

Garber also weighed in on VAR, keeping young players in Major League Soccer, and other topics.

Free Kicks

In the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, Orlando Pride midfielder/defender Alanna Kennedy assisted on a Sam Kerr goal to help lead Australia to a 2-1 win over Brazil in an international friendly. Former Pride forward Lisa DeVanna also scored this insane goal:

  • God bless the Caribous of Colorado and the rest of the all-time silliest names in American soccer.
  • When the USMNT visits Trinidad & Tobago in Hexagonal play, the match won’t be at Port of Spain, but rather at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
  • More than 500,000 tickets were requested for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in the first 24 hours of sales.
  • Those born on this date include Billy the Kid* (1859), Hank Williams (1923), George Blanda (1927), Planet of the Apes actor Roddy McDowall (1928), Anne Bancroft (1931), basketball’s Phil Jackson (1945), John Ritter (1948), The Tubes singer Fee Waybill (1950), relief pitcher John Franco (1960), filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (1962), Friday Night Lights actor Kyle Chandler (1965), football’s Mark Brunell (1970), NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson (1975), Flo Rida (1979), and hockey’s Alexander Ovechkin (1985).

*There is some dispute over this date but it’s one of the two most likely, with the other being Nov. 23, 1859.


That’s all of my time for today. Enjoy your Sunday and start getting ready for USWNT-New Zealand (Round 2), OCB vs. Charleston, Pride vs. Portland, and Orlando City at…Portland.

Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/24/24

Orlando City prepares for the Crew, Barbra Banda an NWSL MVP favorite, Orlando Pride announce sleeve sponsor, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride / Mark Thor

Happy Friday! The gauntlet of Orlando soccer home games starts tonight when the Orlando Pride take on the Portland Thorns in a clash of win streaks. I’m working for most of the weekend, but am looking forward to watching some soccer and playing my way through the Ace Attorney games during my spare time. For now though, let’s dive into today’s links from around the soccer world.

Orlando City Gets Ready to Host the Crew

Orlando City is on a three-game unbeaten run and will take on the Columbus Crew Saturday night in an Eastern Conference showdown. The last time these two sides met was in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals with the Crew winning in extra time to eliminate the Lions. It’s the third consecutive road game for the Crew after winning 3-1 against both CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire. Saturday’s match is also the Crew’s last match before the Concacaf Champions Cup final on June 1. Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja spoke on how the Lions will be up to the task regardless of which players take the field for Columbus. Pareja also spoke about how Duncan McGuire is working his way back from the injury he suffered last week.

Barbra Banda Named MVP Frontrunner

ESPN updated its rankings of players in contention to be named NWSL MVP this season and Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda tops the list. The Zambian forward hasn’t been with the Pride for long, but she has scored six goals in six games to help the Pride win seven straight games. Opposing defenses haven’t figured out a way to stop her, and it’s fair to think of her as an MVP favorite alongside fellow attackers in the league like Sophia Smith and Temwa Chawinga. Pride defender Emily Sams also earned herself a spot on the list, ranking 11th. It’s nice to see her get some deserved recognition for her role in the Pride’s stellar defense this year.

Orlando Pride Announce Sleeve Sponsor

A partnership was announced between the Orlando Pride and Heart of Florida United Way, a charity that’s supported families in Central Florida for the past 85 years. As part of the partnership, Heart of Florida United Way will become the first sleeve sponsor for the Pride and its logo will be on the right sleeve of both of the Pride’s jerseys this year. A new ticket program is also being created for 50 tickets to be donated to a local charity for each Pride home game.

Orlando City Unveils Watch Party Schedule

The schedule for this Orlando City season’s watch parties is out, along with the lineup of this year’s included pubs. Each pub will have MLS Season Pass access for fans to watch Orlando’s games this year and there will be chances to win tickets and autographed items at the watch parties as well. There are three new pubs added to the lineup this year, including The Castle Irish Pub at College Park, Paddywagon Irish Pub in Dr. Phillips, and Winter Garden’s Hagan O’Reilly’s. The first watch party will be at The Hammered Lamb in Ivanhoe Village on June 1 when the Lions face off against the New York Red Bulls.

Free Kicks

  • Pride midfielder Evelina Duljan was called up to join Sweden’s U-23 team for the upcoming Four Nations Tournament.
  • NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman became the first woman to be named Sports Business Journal‘s Sports Executive of the Year.

That’s all I have for you this time around. I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and rest of your weekend!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 5/23/24

Orlando Pride prepare for the Portland Thorns, Pride Brazilian trio called up, Atalanta wins Europa League, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando Pride

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this Thursday finds you well as we all get ready for a busy next few days of Orlando soccer to enjoy. It’s been a fairly busy couple of days for me, and I plan on knocking out a few errands before enjoying the upcoming matches. Until then, let’s enjoy today’s links!

Pride Prepare to Host the Portland Thorns

The Orlando Pride have a huge home game against the Portland Thorns tomorrow night. It will be a clash of win streaks, as the Pride have won their past seven games and the Thorns have won their last six. Pride Head Coach Seb Hines is well aware that Portland is a formidable foe with talented players such as Sophia Smith, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Sam Coffey. He spoke on how tomorrow will be a challenge, as well as how playing at home will give the Pride a boost during the game.

Pride Trio Called Up by Brazil

The Pride’s Marta, Rafaelle, and Adriana were all called up for Brazil’s pair of friendlies against Jamaica in Brazil on June 1 and June 4.

These matches will help Brazil prepare for a tough group in the Olympics against Spain, Japan, and Nigeria. Angelina, who featured for Brazil during the SheBelieves Cup, was not called up due to an injury sustained while with the Pride. Although these games will take place during an international break, the Pride do have a road game against the San Diego Wave on June 7, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Hines gives them some rest for that match.

Assessing Emma Hayes’ Time With Chelsea

It felt like forever ago that it was announced Chelsea’s Emma Hayes would leave the club to replace Vlatko Andonovski and coach the USWNT. A great article by ESPN broke down what USWNT fans can learn from her time with Chelsea, including how she’s dealt with the adversity she’s faced both on and off the field. Her impending exit put a spotlight on Chelsea’s season, and she still managed to secure the league title despite the pressure. Chelsea also announced that five members of the coaching staff will leave the club to join Hayes at the USWNT. It’s a new era for the USWNT, and Hayes brings plenty of experience and leadership to the position.

Atalanta Crushes Leverkusen to Win Europa League

Italian club Atalanta lifted the Europa League trophy after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Dublin. The day belonged to Nigerian winger Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat trick that included this stunner that doubled Atalanta’s lead in the first half.

It’s Atalanta’s second trophy in club history, and first in 61 years. It’s also the first trophy for manager Gian Piero Gasperini after coaching in Italy for 30 years. This result snapped Leverkusen’s remarkable unbeaten streak at 51 games, and ended the club’s bid at a treble. Bayer Leverkusen will aim to bounce back Saturday when it plays FC Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City President of Business Operations Jarrod Dillon has issued a challenge to Orlando City fans for the upcoming trio of Orlando soccer home games, so it may be worth your while to get tickets for the Lions, Pride, and OCB this weekend.
  • Pride forward Amanda Allen placed 16th in ESPN‘s rankings of the 17 teenagers currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (the author deemed it unfair to assess Milly Clegg without seeing her on the field more). Allen mostly just hasn’t had much playing time, but that could change over the summer.
  • Former Pride player Camille Ashton (known as Cami Levin when she played in the Pride midfield in 2016 and 2017) has resigned as the general manager of the Kansas City Current.

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: 5/22/24

Lions and Pride reflect on victories, Christian Pulisic’s Serie A recognition, the USWNT roster drops, and more.

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Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Welcome to Wednesday, Mane Landers. I know that a lot of you are Orlando Pride supporters as well as Orlando City supporters, but for those of you who aren’t, you are really missing out. Superstar players, undefeated, top of the table, and this team hasn’t even played up to its potential yet. Seriously, you need to get out to a match if you can. For now, let’s get to the links.

Talking About Orlando City

You can tell Oscar Pareja loves his players. He is the type of coach that nearly always has only good things to say regardless of the result. Of course, when the club gets a win on the road in the third match in eight days, thanks to the fourth striker on the depth chart. Jack Lynn takes a professional approach to being the backup and prepares to play in every match. It’s also nice when he scores a match-winning goal.

So how did the MLSsoccer.com power rankings treat the Lions for the road victory? Orlando City moved up three spots to 19, thanks to earning seven points in the last three matches. That’s better than the ESPN rankings we shared yesterday. ESPN also had the Lions at 19 but dropped them a spot in doing so.

Seb and Sams Speak

The Orlando Pride have a chance this Friday to set an NWSL win streak record in the match against the Portland Thorns, but first Seb Hines, Rafaelle, and Emily Sams reflected on the win against the Seattle Reign. Hines was rightly happy with the result but said he still feels his team has room to improve. I agree with him, despite the Pride being on top of the table and undefeated.

Rafaelle felt the victory showed the team how much mental fortitude the Pride have to be able to secure the road win. She also thinks that being at home with a chance to break the win streak record will make the team work that much harder. Sams reflected on her first NWSL goal but said she just wants to focus on getting three points each match.

Pulisic and Wright Shine

Christian Pulisic’s year keeps getting better. He had such a a good season for AC Milan that he has been named a finalist for Serie A Midfielder of the Year. The other finalists are Inter Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners. Pulisic has 19 goal contributions in 35 appearances for AC Milan.

The USMNT’s pre-Copa America roster dropped Monday, and it looks like Haji Wright will potentially see some action at winger for Gregg Berhalter. The move provides some needed depth at the position and may give Wright more playing time. Of course, Wright and Pulisic aren’t the only players of interest. You can check out a breakdown of the players called up here.

Hayes’ First USWNT Roster Announced

The Olympics are rapidly approaching and new USWNT Head Coach Emma Hayes has announced the 23-player roster for the final two matches against South Korea before the final Olympic roster is named. There are a mix of veteran and younger players in the group. Notably, there are 19 players who won the SheBelieves Cup back in April. It also sees the return of Rose Lavelle, who missed the SheBelieves Cup due to injury. While not altogether surprising, it is still disappointing on one level for Pride fans that Emily Sams didn’t get a call-up.

Free Kicks

  • Congratulations to Orlando Pride midfielder Ally Lemos on her call-up to the USWNT U-20s for the matches against the Korea Republic.
  • Philadelphia Union keeper Andre Blake has reportedly signed a new longterm contract with the club.
  • The USMNT U-15 squad defeated Japan to take first place in the Vlatko Markovic Tournament. Congratulations to the young Yanks.
  • Bayer Leverkusen will play in two cup finals in four days, starting with today’s Europa League championship against Atalanta. The second final is for the German Cup this Saturday against Kaiserslautern.
  • Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea have parted ways after only one season. Potchettino’s departure was mutually agreed upon. The coaching carousel continues.
  • Emanuel Reynoso from Minnesota United is reportedly headed to Liga MX side Club Tijuana.

That will do it for today. Check back as we get you ready for the matches this weekend. Vamos Orlando!

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